Sahara Forest Project Launches Pilot Plant in Doha
Last week, Sahara Forest Project, based in Norway, announced that it would build a pilot plant outside of Doha, Qatar. Since 2009 the organization has dedicated itself to the long term survival and resilience of citizens who live in the sun-rich but resource-poor region of the Middle East. The one hectare site will host a bevy of green technology projects. Greenhouses will use seawater to create cool and humid conditions for farming vegetables. Those greenhouses will also create fresh water that can be used throughout the development. Concentrated solar power (CSP) will create of heat and electricity that will allow for the cultivation of algae as well as vegetated outdoor areas that will turn the Qatari desert green. The partnership with Qafco (Qatar Fertilizer Company) and Yara International is an ambitious one--so much so that the plant should be operating by the end of the year. Qatar’s Sahara Forest Project is another example of Qatar thinking for the long term. Critics will paint this chapter as yet another example of Qatar spending big money on eye-catching projects. They will be wrong. Oil and gas will not flow out of this thumb in the Arabian Gulf forever, and the country must plan for a future vastly different from the life Qataris now know. Food security and environmental stewardship are just a few keys Qatar needs to unlock its country’s long term potential. Watch other projects like this to emerge in Qatar and throughout the Gulf region. Special thanks to Sahara Forest Project’s CEO Joakim Hauge for sharing pictures of the project.
1) Concetrated solar power (CSP)
2) Saltwater greenhouses
3) Outside vegetation and evaporation hedges
4) Photovoltaic solar power
5) Salt production