The quest to find an unlimited source of energy has intrigued humanity for centuries, and one of the most ambitious ideas to obtain it was devised by German architect Herman Sörgel in 1928. Atlantropa was a gargantuan undertaking that promised inexhaustible energy and abundant raw materials. However, the endeavor was doomed to fail.
As populations grew and natural resources were consumed in more significant amounts over the 20th century, the industrialized world called for innovations in transportation and electricity networks.
Thus came Herman Sörgel’s proposal in the late 1920s, Atlantropa, a technological utopia considered a visionary political reform.
Sörgel’s idea featured a giant dam, which would become the world’s largest hydroelectric facility and cross the Strait of Gibraltar. A plant this massive could provide energy for half the continent’s electrical needs. Furthermore, the gate would control the Mediterranean’s main water supply.
It was also planned that the evaporation out of the facility would cause the sea level to drop about 200 meters, creating new stretches of land along the coast. Ideally, this scenario would connect Europe and Africa by land, merging the two continents into a single entity.
The new terrains would also provide usable land for agriculture, as well as infrastructure and extended territory for entire cities.
However, the project was not feasible then, and neither was it during the Nazi era or the post-war period. And political reasons were decisive in its fate.
Environmental concerns were not taken seriously during discussions at the time, and if the project had been carried out, it would have caused the complete destruction of the Mediterranean due to the excessive salinization of the water.
Still, nothing came of it as the beginning of a new chapter in human history was brewing: the Atomic era.