Qatar has launched a novel pilot project, ‘Sahara Forest’ in collaboration with a Norwegian company, which will help produce food crops (such as tomatoes, cucumber, melon), fodder crops, freshwater, clean energy, salt, algae (for biofuel) and re-vegetation of desert areas using solar power and sea water.

On the sidelines of QAFCO-6 inauguration ceremony here yesterday, the Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani opened ‘Sahara Forest Project’— Qatar Pilot Plant’— a joint initiative of Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO), and Norway-based, Yara ASA, providing new environmental solutions to create re-vegetation and green jobs.

Assuming a hypothetical mega-project of similar nature, spread in an area of 4,000 hectares in northern part of Africa, the facility can provide CSP powering all the Oasis’s needs and exporting 325 GWh/year; self-sustained thermal desalination of freshwater for all irrigation needs; 300 hectares of saltwater greenhouses, yielding 190,000 tonnes tomatoes and melons, annually; 2000 hectares of new outdoor re-vegetation and food crops, 30, 000 tonnes fodder crops (annually); and 150 hectares of algae cultivation which can help produce about 7500 tonnes/year of biofuel-ready algae oils.

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