A Qatar-based project aimed at making the Sahara Desert bloom has won $5.3 million in funding, bringing the idea one step closer to reality.
As part of the Sahara Forest Project, which is headed by engineer Bill Watts, architect and biomimicry advocate Michael Pawlyn and the international environmental organisation the Bellona Foundation, green technologies will be housed on a 10,000m sq area of land in the hope that they can establish vegetation and reverse the trend of deforestation on desert land.
The overall aim of the scheme is to help ensure the long-term survival of people living in the desert regions of the Middle East.
The project is likely to be up and running by the end of the year and will be ready to show visitors around when the COP 18 Climate Change talks take place in Doha in between November 26th and December 7th.
Technologies being used as part of the experiment include a concentrated solar power plant which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun’s energy and generate an extremely high temperature, which is then combined with a saltwater cooling system to dissipate any waste heat.
Commenting in the scheme, Mr Pawlyn told Wired.co.uk: “In the Sahara Forest Project, not only can an algae facility use the same saltwater infrastructure – it can use the same saltwater. Much of the outflow from an algae facility is still at salinities of only five or six per cent, such that it can be reused in the greenhouses, for CSP cooling, and throughout the rest of the system.”
“The key innovation is the way that these synergies are created so that overall the project is more efficient than the individual technologies would be by themselves and we can move towards a zero waste way of operating,” he added.
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