Big swales are not necessarily better.
The ideal farm has the right sized swales...often smaller sized swales, in the right location. A big swale in the wrong location is just a waste of effort.
Tyler Ludens wrote:This is my husband's idea: Autonomous solar robots could be deployed in degraded deserts to imprint the soil and drop native seeds.
Michael Cox wrote:The electronics associated with solar are delicate. Building them sufficiently robustly to withstand the aggressive shock loads of heavy digging machinery is going to be prohibitively difficult. As in, either so heavy the digger can't move, or using technology that doesn't exist yet. And then you have an horrifically expensive piece of machinery that can't be used on cloudy days, in the shadow of trees or in winter when light levels fall.
Chris Kott wrote:
Conceptually, this is like the idea of the solar-and-wind-powered drone buoy that floats, generates electricity, and with an onboard spool of conductive iron form material, forms an iron shape through which electricity is run to cause the chemical deposition of sea minerals in what is colloquially referred to as Biorock atop that form material, allowing for the growing of anything from coral reefs (which the coral love, owing to either the low-level electric charge that flows through the iron formwork and the biorock itself, or due to the deposition of carbon in mineral form causing a localised reversal of acidification), sea walls (or really any sea-floor-based structure), textured reef and barrier structures that break up the momentum of hurricanes, tidal waves, and tsunami, or as I like to envision, iceberg-scale artificial islands that host coral reefs on their undersides.
Chris Kott wrote:Alex, I believe what was being suggested was a direct-solar application for working robots, like autonomous tractor implements. In an autonomous rewilding application, they would operate above a certain level of ambient brightness in a manner that stressed efficiency over speed. Nobody would be waiting on these things, and there wouldn't be a requisite date of completion. They would make hay (or swales, or mulch forest slash, or whatever) while the sun shined, and go into a self-sheltering power-down mode when dark or overly cloudy. There might be an option to have on-board power reserves beyond a reserve that allows for power-downs and power-ups, and maintenance, but I think that the idea to have these things, whatever form they take, exist first in a stripped-down autonomous version is a good one, keeping them cheap, easily accessible, and ideally reparable for anyone familiar with, say, lawnmower mechanics.