However unpromising things may have looked in the film Waterworld, Master's student Bastiaan Vermonden (Aquaculture & Marine Resource Management) is convinced that floating cities are the solution to the refugee problem. And the plan won him and his girlfriend Camille Benoit a prestigious French prize at the beginning of December.
The energy for the floating cities is supplied by OTEC (Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion). Bastiaan: ‘This system uses the relatively warm surface water to convert fluid with a low boiling point into gas that drives a turbine. Cold deep-seawater then converts the gas into a fluid, and the cycle begins all over again. One of the uses of the energy is to pump nutrient-rich water up from the depths of the ocean, in order to fertilize the surface water for food cultivation.'
The Wageningen graduate does see the possible downsides of the plan. 'The biggest danger is from hurricanes. But we expect to be able to anticipate the risks. By evacuating a city in an area where a storm is expected, for example.'