The first Pilot Plant of the Sahara Forest Project is built in Qatar in cooperation with the main fertilizer companies Yara and Qafco. The project is a new environmental solution to produce food, water and energy in desert areas.
It is designed to use what we have, to produce what we need and more, using deserts, salt water and CO2 to produce food, water and clean energy.
Faced with the challenges posed to us by increased energy demand, the need for elements, water scarcity and the extension of desert areas, the Sahara Forest Project aims to concentrating in a plant a system of technologies that optimize the trinomial water, energy and food, and incidentally that allows the reforestation of desert areas. All of this through the interconnection of low-emission waste systems, starting from one source: the sea.
Through a series of stages linked by a chain whose links are made of salt water, the Sahara Forest Projecte aims to:
- generate electricity through Solar Concentration Plants
- manage greenhouses for energy and water efficient crops
- produce water for irrigation and drinking
- obtain products derived from salt
- produce biomass for fuels
- revegetate desert areas
And how do you intend to achieve all these goals? The main technology is made up of three parts:
Solar Concentration Plants. A set of mirrors that concentrate solar radiation to form steam that will allow power generation turbines to operate. For it It is necessary to equip the plant with a cooling system that in this case is based on the evaporation of water ... but this requires large areas of surface for this evaporation to be effective, and this is where the next component comes into play.
Salt water cooled greenhouses. Some greenhouses that meet the optimal conditions for rotating crops, since whatever the external conditions (heat during the day, cold at night), the installation is capable of treating the air that enters the greenhouse so that it presents appropriate conditions (cooling or heating it). The double deck, through which the salty water circulates, is what regulates this temperature, also serving as a cooling system for the PCS and as a producer of clean water by evaporation desalination..
Evaporation and revegetation fences. When The salty water from the greenhouses reaches a concentration of salts that is too high (over 10%) for the purposes that this installation must fulfill. Instead of being thrown away, it is redirected to some fences that allow its evaporation. That evaporation provides moisture in areas to leeward of the fences which favors the conditions so that the revegetation of the area is possible, in addition to concentrating the brines for later reuse.
Present and future facilities
Although the Sahara Forest Projecte may seem like a project for the future, the reality is that it is a reality of the present. A pilot plant is already operating in Qatar since 2012, and the implantation of a new plant in Jordan is planned.
Further, Possibilities for the future are presented around the basic concept of the installation in form of:
- Salt production plants.
- Biomass production by algae.
- Traditional desalination systems.
- Fish farms.
- Halophilic culture.
- Photovoltaic plants.