Inflatable Solar Canopy to Power the Arabian Peninsula?

cleantech, solar power, desert, Arabian Peninsula, solar canopy, Powerscape, Otto NgMIT student Otto Ng proposes to solar-power the Arabian peninsula with more than 10,000 square kilometers of Powerscape – a tensile solar-collecting canopy comprised of inflatable mirrors. The problem with solar power, says Ng in a TED presentation, is the great amount of space required to produce the same amount of energy as a conventional power plant.

So, unless we’re making beautiful power stations a la the Land Art Generator Initiative, we’re sapping up precious land with ugly, resource-intensive solar collectors du jour. Ng proposes instead to cover the desert with an energy-generating canopy that also provides shade and a comfortable microclimate.

cleantech, solar power, desert, Arabian Peninsula, solar canopy, Powerscape, Otto Ng


Powerscape is a programmable tensile canopy made of heliostat balloons and cable net mesh. It can trace the sun’s movement through the sky and even changes color throughout the day to deflect harsh sunlight.

At night, the canopy will be so transparent that stars will be visible through it.

The integrated mirrors concentrate sunlight onto a stirling dish that converts heat to energy, though Ng doesn’t provide any estimates on how much energy a square meter of canopy will produce, nor does he predict how the efficiency of his technology compares to existing solar-collectors.

He does point out, however, that within the next forty years, crude oil production will shrink to one-third of current levels, which could potentially cripple oil-dependent economies in the Middle East, not to mention global oil supplies.

cleantech, solar power, desert, Arabian Peninsula, solar canopy, Powerscape, Otto NgDesert agriculture

Powerscapes can bridge the energy gap, although not without biological, geological and meteorological consequences.

Still, as climate change escalates in the next few decades as a result of our failure to stem fossil fuel production and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions, temperatures in the desert will become even more fierce.

Solar-harvesting Powerscapes could mitigate resulting discomfort by providing huge swaths of shade that will in turn promote desert agriculture and livestock production. He even proposes to combine the canopies with German technology called Watergy to create closed-loop greenhouses, promoting greater food security in the desert.

Could this technology stem the rise of African land grabs?

cleantech, solar power, desert, Arabian Peninsula, solar canopy, Powerscape, Otto NgOnly in Arabia

There are numerous pitfalls associated with this novel idea.

First of all, it would cost a fortune to create this infrastructure in the desert and it would be very difficult to maintain. Although it will require fewer natural resources than conventional solar power plants, covering the Arabian Peninsula with a giant canopy would comprise a mammoth undertaking.

Still, we wouldn’t be surprised to see wealthy Gulf nations taking up the cause in order to compete with the North African countries that have joined the Desertec initiative and maintain their energy-rich lifestyle.

Facebook Comments



Get featured on Green Prophet. Email us with tips and news: [email protected]

12 thoughts on “Inflatable Solar Canopy to Power the Arabian Peninsula?”

  1. With the help of tyese actions, people could quickly fix the opener adjustment of
    theijr Garage Door Opener Repair Tulsa –, area

  2. We are dedicated too pursuing mesothelioma cancer cases quickly
    and also purpose to settle situations within 3-6 months of initial call.

    My blog post …

  3. このウェブサイトは 本当に 私が欲しかった この主題に関すると依頼するのかわかりませんでした。
    2015年秋冬新作 セール対象商品

  4. この段落はヘルプ 視聴者 作成、設定のための新しいウェブページまたはブログ。
    特価最安値 セール対象商品

  5. 私のと 今日、私はに行ってきました。私は海のシェルを発見し、私の4歳の娘にそれを与えたと言った。「あなたの耳にこれを置く場合は、海を聞くことができます。」彼女置か彼女の耳にシェルをして叫びました。そこヤドカリは内部であり、それは彼女の耳に挟ま。彼女が戻って行きたいことはありません!大爆笑私はこれが知っている​​オフトピックが、私は誰かを伝えるために持っていました!
    3日間限定 数量限定大特価

  6. うわー!私の古いもののよう|このブログはだけ正確に見えます!異なるトピックこれは のだが、それはかなり同じページレイアウトを持つとデザインを。 素晴らしい色の選択!
    3日間限定 2015新作人気item

  7. 、事そういくつかのいずれかが彼の必要を検索し、彼/彼女が必要詳細にその利用できるようにするために、したがってそのことは、こちらに維持されています。
    [url=]おすすめ特別割引 価格 2015春夏新色追加[/url]

  8. 大 アイテムあなたから、男。 私がしている自分のもの前に心の中で持っている とあなたは単に 非常 素晴らしい優れました。私は本当にもののようにあなたがした だどのように 、確かに本当に あなたはそれはあなたが言う|方法}これはその間 あなたが言っていると言っと{方法| |最適な方法を伝えます。 とキープに| | のために注意しての世話をする あなたはまだあなたがし続けるそれはあなたが作っているは良識 。 I することはできません 学ぶ読みに待つはるかあなたから。 素晴らしい サイト | 本当に実際 | これはされていることがあります。
    [url=]正規の製品を買おう 2015春夏新色追加[/url]

  9. Eng.Max Hassouna says:

    @Tafflin,iam unable to track sown Mr.Otto Ng,can you be kind enough to contact him and ask him if my idea is possible?this could be a great way to obtain water in deserts.thx

  10. @ Max, I think it’s a good idea… maybe you should contact Mr. Ng and make a suggestion.

    @ Dr. Abu-Dayyeh: do you think this is a feasible solution to the climate armageddon?

  11. I feel optimistic with innovative ideas like this, Earth might survive the Climate Change Armageddon after all!

  12. Eng.Max Hassouna says:

    I wonder if this could double as a dew harvester?

Comments are closed.