In 2008, a proposal for the Sahara Forest Project, a sustainable solution for the remarkable scarcity of resources that will transform the Sahara desert into a source of food, water, and energy. Norway and Jordan recently signed an agreement to develop a pioneering system of the Sahara Forest Project in an inch of land in coastal areas in Jordan. This group will also do some research in Jordan, with financial support from the Norwegian authorities.
The location of the selected test is an area of 200 thousand square meters in Aqaba, a coastal city in southern Jordan, near the Red Sea coast. This agreement also secures an additional land area of 2 million square meters for the next expansion. Sahara Forest Project combines the Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and seawater greenhouses to provide renewable energy and sustainable agricultural solutions in large numbers, basically changing one of the most inhospitable environment into a fertile oasis.
Greenhouse sea water using solar power to convert sea water into fresh water which is then used to water the vegetables and fresh algae (to absorb CO2). CSP provides the energy to turn the entire operation. CSP uses thousands of mirrors to direct sunlight onto a water heater, heating it to temperatures over 1000 Fahrenheit. This heater produces steam, which drives a turbine to create energy.
Sahara Forest Project was created by architect Michael Pawlyn biomimicry, seawater greenhouse designer Charlie Paton, and structural engineer Bill Watts. In 2009, the trio is joined by Bellona, an international environmental NGO based in Norway, and presented their proposal at COP15 in December 2009. Positive feedback brought more presentations, including one presentation in Oslo in June last year, attended by His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan. King was so impressed with this project until he invited the team SFP to Jordan in October to discuss the feasibility study that opens the door to this agreement.
SFP team will conduct in-depth study this year and develop a demonstration center in 2012. Commercial development would probably begin in 2015. According to this team, like the facilities at Aqaba has a huge potential that benefits the environment. They can reduce the problem of lack of food and water, produce biofuels without competing with food production, and contribute to afforestation in desert areas. Plus production plants will absorb carbon dioxide and reduce the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.