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Sahara Forest Project: From vision to reality

Qataar pilot plant

The first fully operational Sahara Forest Project Pilot Plant is built in Qatar in cooperation with the leading fertilizer companies Yara and Qafco. The Sahara Forest Project is a new environmental solution to produce food, water and energy in desert areas. It 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.

Sahara Forest Project: From vision to reality (revised) from Sahara Forest Project on Vimeo.

Frederic and Joakim sfp
The idea for the Sahara Forest Project was launched during the annual COP United Nations climate talks in 2009 in Copenhagen, said Bellona President Frederic Hauge, Joakim Hauge’s brother.

“It was a dream for Bellona that is now becoming a reality. I am very proud if what we have achieved and to be a part of this long-term commitment for Bellona,” said Bellona President Hauge.

Aside from cucumbers, guests at the pilot plant today were also shown the 10,000 square meter facility where they learned about its unique saltwater-cooled greenhouses, Qatar’s first operational Concentrated Solar Plant, the region’s largest algae research facility, as well as technologies for turning the desert green.

The Sahara Forest Project will continue to receive visitors to the pilot facility throughout the COP 18.

”We are going to make the desert green,” declared Bellona President Hauge. ”We are going to use what we have enough of – desert, sunlight, seawater and CO2 – to produce what the world needs more of – Food, energy and fresh water.”

The science behind the inspiration

The Sahara Forest Project combines already existing and proven environmental technologies, including saltwater-cooled greenhouses, concentrated solar power (CSP) and technologies for desert re-vegetation around a saltwater infrastructure. The synergies arising from integrating the technologies improves the performance and economics of the system compared to those of the individual components.

As explained by Bellona President Hauge, through re-vegetation of the desert, the project is actually able to bind CO2 and go carbon negative while at the same time producing food and clean energy.

In 2011 The Sahara Forest Project AS entered into cooperation with Yara ASA, the world’s largest supplier of fertilizer and the Qatari company Qafco, the world’s largest single site producer of urea and ammonia.

After successfully completing a comprehensive feasibility study on Qatar, the parties signed an agreement to build the first fully operational Sahara Forest Project Pilot Plant in Qatar. The agreement was signed in February 2012, with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Prime Minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani presiding over the occasion.

“The partnership with Yara and Qafco is very constructive and we look forward to conducting further scientific work on the pilot together,” says Joakim Hauge.

Sahara Forest Project harvests the first barley from Sahara Forest Project on Vimeo.

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