Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), evaporative hedges and outdoor vegetation.

The Sahara Forest Project is an innovative environmental solution to create re-vegetation and green jobs through profitable production of food, water, clean electricity and biomass in desert areas. The Sahara Forest Project pilot facility in Qatar is a partnership between Yara International ASA, Qatar Fertilizer Company (Qafco) and The Sahara Forest Project.

 

I am pleased to present the result report for The Sahara Forest Project Pilot Facility in Qatar. This report demonstrates that we together with Yara and Qafco have realized a unique research platform to demonstrate and optimize environmental technologies that will enable restorative growth in desert areas around the world. Through two and a half years of studies, field testing and operations a solid foundation is now in place for enabling the roll-out of The Sahara Forest Project, says Joakim Hauge, CEO of The Sahara Forest Project.

Cucumber crops inside the saltwater-cooled greenhouse

Saltwater-cooled greenhouse

One of the pilot’s core technologies is the saltwater-cooled greenhouse. Some key results from the saltwater-cooled greenhouse are:

·         The yields obtained in the pilot stage are competitive with that of leading European greenhouse operations. The yield in the pilot stage is above 75 kg of cucumbers per m2 a year

·         The greenhouse achieved up to 15 degrees cooling in summer

·         The water usage is half of comparable greenhouses in the region

·         The Seawater-cooled greenhouse allows for year-round production of high quality crops, even through the hot Qatari summer

 

Cooling effect and cultivation

A strong operational verification has also been achieved for the other key components of the Sahara Forest Project concept:

·         The evaporative hedges have provided 10 degrees mean temperature reduction in the outdoor growing zones

·         The greenhouse and evaporative hedges provided wet-cooling efficiencies without cooling towers for the Concentrated Solar Power facility

·         19 desert plants and vegetable and grain crops were successfully cultivated outdoors in the desert throughout the year.

The state-of-the-art 50 sqm algae test facility

Food production

In Qatar only ten percent of the national food consumption is covered domestically. Based on verification from the pilot stage The Sahara Forest Project has the potential to play a key part in addressing this challenge:

With 8 hectares of greenhouse production SFP will match the yearly import of cucumbers to Qatar

With 40 hectares of greenhouse production SFP will match the yearly import of tomatoes to Qatar

With 60 hectares of greenhouse production SFP will match the yearly import of cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines to Qatar

All Sahara Forest Project food production is based on renewable energy and saltwater.

 

The full result report from The Sahara Forest Project Pilot Facility can be downloaded here

The world's leading journal for scientific news, commentary, and cutting-edge research, The Science Magazine, has featured The Sahara Forest Project and some of the results achieved at the pilot facility. The article is to be found here