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.

Advertisements

Solar Power Offers Saudi Arabia a Win-Win Energy Solution

Gulf countries, whilst rich in oil and natural gas, also have an abundant supply of sun, which makes them an ideal location for solar power technologies, yet despite this fact they lag far behind the rest of the world in terms of capacity installed.

Saudi officials have talked about solar power for years, and even made plans to install 41,000MW over the next 20 years, but whilst China installed 5,000MW in 2012 alone, Saudi Arabia still has virtually no solar generation capacity.

As solar prices have fallen, and oil prices have risen, Saudi Arabia now has a strong economic incentive to push ahead with its long awaited solar plans. Arabian Business has said that solar power would allow the Saudi’s to save more oil to be exported at over $100 a barrel, whilst at the same time producing electricity for less than half the cost of its current oil-fired power plants.

Written by Joao Peixe. To read the full article, click here