The Sahara Forest Project is a new environmental solution to create re-vegetation and green jobs through profitable production of food, water, clean electricity and biomass in desert areas. It is currently undertaken in Qatar and Jordan by 'The Sahara Forest Project AS', a Norwegian private limited liability company. The Sahara Forest Project is designed to utilize what we have enough of to produce what we need more of, using deserts, saltwater and CO2 to produce food, water and clean energy. This is done by combining already existing and proven environmental technologies, including saltwater-cooled greenhouses, concentrated solar power (CSP) and technologies for desert revegetation around a saltwater infrastructure. The synergies arising from integrating the technologies improve the performance and economics of the system compared to those of the individual components. The name «The Sahara Forest Project» was chosen not only to describe a plan for revegetating parts of the world’s largest desert. In Arabic “Sahara” translates to “desert”, and the Sahara Forest Project is set up to create green growth in desert areas around the world. The Sahara Forest Project enables the growth of plants, but also that of hope and opportunities for people.
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The Sahara Forest Project is a unique combination of existing low-tech environmental solutions based on tested principles that are combined to create highly desirable synergies. It combines solar thermal technologies with technologies for saltwater evaporation, condensation of freshwater and modern production of food and biomass without displacing existing agriculture or natural vegetation. The best physical locations for a SFP-facility are low-lying, arid and sunny areas that normally has little agricultural activity or natural vegetation. A single SFP-facility with 50 MW of concentrated solar power and 50 ha of seawater greenhouses would annually produce 34,000 tons of vegetables, employ over 800 people, export 155 GWh of electricity and sequester more than 8,250 tons of CO2. By establishing a commercial viable way to bring saltwater into the desert The Sahara Forest Project works as an enabling technology, allowing for a wide variety of businesses to develop alongside it.