Seawater and solar power grow crops in the desert

(CNN) — In the scorching desert of Qatar, scientists are showing that saltwater can be used to help grow crops.

A one hectare research initiative known as the Sahara Forest Project — modest in size, but not in ambition — has produced a harvest of barley, cucumbers and arugula in the last few months using a mix of ingredients not usually associated with successful agriculture: seawater and Qatar’s ample supply of heat.

Conceived in Norway, the first-ever Sahara Forest Project facility launched last November to coincide with the United Nations Climate Conference e(COP18) in Doha. It implements a range of cutting-edge environmentally-friendly technologies that takes the things that Qatar has in excess — heat and seawater — and converts them into a range of valuable resources.

“These are ideas that could sound too good to be true,” admits the project CEO, Joakim Hauge, adding that in the early days the project met with an equal measure of enthusiasm and skepticism.

Written by Daisy Carrington. To read the full article, click here.

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