[salt effect, energy, c02 soaking up water, dryout somewhere]

Monday, December 2, 2002. Posted: 14:35:11 (AEDT)

British inventor to develop rainmaking machine: report

A professor at Scotland's Edinburgh University has been awarded a Government grant to develop the world's first rainmaking machine, The Times reported on Monday.

Professor Stephen Salter will create a 60-metre high turbine to suck water out of the sea and turn it into water vapour through nozzles, spraying it out into the atmosphere, the daily paper said.

The rainmaker, described as looking like a "giant eggbeater", would be based on catamarans and placed off the coast of desert land.

They would have to be used in places which are not totally dry, or the artificial clouds would never reach critical mass, the paper said.

They would be used in areas where there were already some clouds but not enough to produce rain.

The professor even claims his invention could help the Middle East peace process, by easing Israel's dependency on the West Bank for its water supply.

In the face of sceptics Professor Salter, 62, takes a historical approach.

"They said you couldn't make ships out of steel ... they said Marconi's radio waves couldn't be broadcast beyond the horizon, the establishment is almost always wrong".

The British Government is handing him a $US160,000 ($AU285,881) development grant to get his pipe dream off the ground.