Sun-Melted SAND for AUTO ROADS (Jun, 1933)

Sun-Melted SAND for AUTO ROADS

ONE of the most astonishing ideas ever advanced to the American public comes from Will W. Beach, of Los Angeles, California, who, as holder of patents on a sectional method of constructing 30-foot lenses, proposes that these immense burning glasses be used to harness the sun’s rays for converting ocean water into steam (leaving pure water and salvaging salt, iodine, flour gold, etc.), for fusing sand into an impervious lining of canals dug through deserts to bring sea water for irrigation, and for melting sand which can be rolled out into a perfectly smooth surface for auto highways.

Various interesting applications of Mr. Beach’s ideas are presented by the artist on this page. One which the inventor regards as most timely is that of supplying sparkling clear water for the city of Los Angeles by distilling it from the nearby ocean. This he regards as much less costly than the aqueduct which will carry water from Hoover Dam, more than 200 miles away, when that great engineering project is completed. .

9 comments
  1. Neil Russell says: December 12, 20079:12 am

    What a neat idea, and you get several benefits from one concept.
    The state of Georgia might want to look into the desalination system right now.

    There was a Popular Science article about the same time, maybe the year before, about an “air well” being built in France. Sadly that didn’t produce much water, but the idea is well worth considering again in areas like GA with a lot of humidity and a shortage of water

  2. Kevin says: December 12, 200711:32 am

    I particularly like the solar powered steam engines for the machines!

  3. jayessell says: December 12, 200712:11 pm

    Let’s see… 8 foot diameter lens, 1 horsepower per square yard… 9 square feet in a square yard… um…. pi…

  4. Firebrand38 says: December 12, 200712:30 pm

    And here I always thought that melted sand was glass.

  5. Thundercat says: December 12, 20079:42 pm

    Just think of how many ants you could burn at the same time!

  6. John Craig says: December 13, 20077:25 am

    Re: Comment by jayessell – Is 1HP/Y.^2 a figure of potential solar energy? With what you are saying, that results in about 5.5HP for an 8′ dia. lens. However, is that a figure based on solar energy from solar cells or what?

    After thinking about that idea of steam power from a lens, it doesn’t sound too far fetched as a use for home electricity/heat generation. But a deisel tractor? Hmmm…

  7. jayessell says: December 14, 200712:29 pm

    John Craig
    If that’s your real name!
    According to Wiki, in North America during the day, between 1/6th and 1/2 horsepower per square meter. A square yard is approximatly 13/16ths the area of a square meter.

    What I meant in my first post is the lens is several orders of magnitude undersized in the illustrations.

  8. Davros says: December 14, 20079:57 pm

    qoute “(leaving pure water and salvaging salt, iodine, flour gold, etc.)”

    how much “flour” would you get from seawater
    as far as i know it is not normally found in seawater i think you would be getting a lot more gold than flour

  9. Khitrovitch says: April 29, 20094:58 am

    Davros, to clear up an old post for new viewers the term is “Flour Gold”, not “flour, gold”, this is the very small gold particles that are in seawater. You know the old yarn about there is so much gold in so many buckets of seawater? This is flour gold and there may well be that much gold not that you’d be able to efficiently harvest it, unless it was a by product of another system such as desalinization.

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