Man-Made Oasis: Ecologists Seek to Greenify Deserts Using Seawater & Sunlight

Man-Made Oasis: Ecologists Seek to Greenify Deserts Using Seawater & SunlightCC0Tech21:14 10.10.2017(updated 23:02 10.10.2017) Get short URL258380

Researchers from the Bellona Foundation, an environmental NGO based in Oslo, Norway, believe that technologies using seawater and the power of the sun will allow for the greenification of broad swathes of desert environments. Nils Bohmer, Bellona’s managing director, spoke to Russian media about the ambitious project’s goals.

Bellona’s Sahara Forest Project, characterized by the NGO itself as a commercial project for the renewable production of everything from biofuel-based energy to electricity and agriculture in low lying desert areas, proposes the use of existing technologies to create green spaces in harsh desert environments.

“We created the Sahara Forest Project with the goal of making the desert greener using renewable energy and seawater technology,” Bohmer said, speaking to Russia’s RIA Novosti news agency.

“We’ve just opened the first demonstration greenhouse in Jordan, and hope to sell the technology for the creation of forests to the countries of Africa and the Middle East,” the ecologist added.

According to Bohmer, the project involves the construction of greenhouses into which seawater is pumped with the help of gravity. With the sun’s help, this water is processed into fresh water, making it possible to grow plants and vegetables in the greenhouses. At the same time, soil near the greenhouses receives water, allowing seedlings of trees to start growing there.

“Today we are working with the countries of northern Africa,” Bohmer explained. “It’s possible that next year we will find an investor for construction. It’s also important to find an area in the desert which is below sea level, so as not to require the use of pumping machinery to deliver the seawater. Today we are conducting studies in areas in Morocco and Algeria,” the ecologist said.

According to the Bellona Foundation, for the Sahara Forest Project to truly succeed, it will require integration with local communities, providing them with job opportunities, food and prospects for the transfer of knowledge.