The realization of the Demonstration Centre goes through three phases:
(1) Finalization of the Feasibility study on technological design, location for demonstration site and business development (Dec 2009).
(2) Finance call for the Demonstration Centre (First quarter 2010).
(3) Design of Demonstration Centre (Second quarter 2010).
(4) Construction of Demonstration Centre (Third and Fourth quarter 2010).
(5) Start up of the Demonstration Centre (First quarter 2011).
(6) Demonstration Centre in operation - Testing of SFP technologies and R&D into new and promising crops such as algae (Second quarter 2011).
(7) Proof of concept and commercial viability (01/06/2012).
The Demonstration Centre will provide a unique physical environment for testing and demonstration of The Sahara Forest Project technologies. The centre will host Seawater Greenhouse facilities, Concentrated Solar Power systems (CSP), laboratories and all necessary infrastructure for advanced scientific research in marine biomass. The Centre will be financed by visionary companies realizing the need for investments in new and sustainable production systems for delivering key reseources.
The results of the Demonstration centre and the experience gained will inform the way that the project can be implemented at a larger scale. Countries and regions with favorable conditions for SFP i.e., desert areas in North Africa, Middle East, North America and Australia are likely candidates. This will be decided through the Feasability Study.
Today, about 1.2 billion people live in areas without sufficient access to clean water. In 2025, it is expected that as much as 1.8 billion people will face acute fresh water shortage if no actions are taken. Knowing that 70 percent of fresh water consumption goes to agricultural purposes, and that the world food production will need to be doubled towards 2040, it is crucial to take action to meet these challenges.
The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is today 389 parts per million, the highest level in the last 650,000 years. Combined with a world energy consumption increasing by 50 % towards 2030, it is critical that production of renewable energy sources do not conflict with food production.
According to estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), deserts will expand 10 percent worldwide by the year 2100. Recent research (Zeng 2009) suggests triple the amount of desert expansion by the end of the 21st century. Such a change would imperil millions of people who depend on already scarce water resources for drinking, growing crops and raising livestock.
The SFP represents a unique opportunity to make a lasting impact on these challenges by using seawater, solar energy, nutrients and non-productive land to produce large amounts of freshwater, clean energy and food. The key technologies involved in the process are concentrated solar power, seawater greenhouses and cultivation of traditional and promising crops.
The Bellona Foundation has always believed that the solution to global warming must go through a shift towards the renewable energy future. For the last decade Bellona has been a pioneer in introducing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as the solution that could help bridge the gap between our current fossil energy lock-in and the low carbon society. Now that CCS will become a reality Bellona believes that its full potential lays in capture and store CO2 from power plants using biomass as energy sources. This will result in a carbon negative situation and represents a truly sustainable way towards the renewable energy future.
Algae is a promising crop for such large scale biomass production (and for fuel, food and fodder production as well as a Omega 3 and 6 source). The Bellona Foundation therefore presented its algae work in June 2008 and showcased the algae technology by bringing an algae reactor to Norway for the first time. In May 2009 Frederic Hauge became a member of the board of The European Commission's Biofuels Technology Platform and in June 2009 Bellona was presented as the fourth partner of The Sahara Forest team at CC9.
The Sahara Forest Project was launched in September 2008, and gained considerable attention. It was presented as a vision for large-scale revegetation of Sahara. The partners consisted of Max Fordham Consulting Engineers, Seawater Greenhouse and Exploration Architecture.
In June 2009 The Bellona Foundation joined the Sahara Forest Project as a forth partner. This was announced at the CC9-conference, which the Bellona Foundation co-hosted together with the Club of Madrid and Hafslund ASA.
Since June the partners has been working hard to develop the vision behind the Sahara Forest Project into a definite project for a speedy commencement. A comprehensive feasibility study has been initialized. While not yet finalized; the study has already provided a number of vital data for the project. A central task has been the development of a thermo-dynamic simulation for optimization of the design of the first facility, and climate modeling for identification of suitable locations. We now have the opportunity to pinpoint areas that will be suitable locations for establishing the Sahara Forest Project.
The Demonstration Centre will function as a research center for a number of participants. They will be joined in an effort to produce key resources while countering the effects of climate change.
Key aims for the centre will be:
- Optimization of synergistic effects between the Seawater Greenhouse and Concentrated Solar Power
- Proof of commercial viability of the Sahara Forest Project.
- Optimization of freshwater production.
- Optimization of food production and testing of the most suitable crops.
- Testing of the most suitable crops for production in revegetation zones.
- Facilities for research into cultivation of microalgae.
- Facilities for research into cultivation of halophytes.
- Testing of technologies for utilization of seawater minerals.
- Knowledge of how to use the Sahara Forest Project as a driving force for creation of 'Green Jobs'.
The Center will work both as a research facility and as an actual producing facility at the scale of several hectares. It will be the first project to introducing a concept of restorative production - commercial production of key resources while providing ecosystem-services.
The Bellona Foundation has always believed that the solution to global warming must go through a shift towards the renewable energy future. For the last decade Bellona has been a pioneer in introducing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) as the solution that could help bridge the gap between our current fossil energy lock-in and the low carbon society. Now that CCS will become a reality Bellona believes that its full potential lays in capture and store CO2 from power plants using biomass as energy sources. This will result in a carbon negative situation and represents a truly sustainable way towards the renewable future.
Algae is a promising crop for such large scale biomass production (and for fuel, food and fodder production as well as a Omega 3 and 6 source). In May 2009 Frederic Hauge became a member of the board of The European Commission's Biofuels Technology Platform and in June 2009 Bellona was presented as the fourth partner of The Sahara Forest team at CC9.
The SFP is a continuation of Bellona's commitment to help develop the renewable energy future as algae production in the SFP can be conducted in areas that do not conflict with food production. The Seawater Greenhouse and CSP are today proven and economically viable technologies. SFP represents a significant new development that combines these technologies to create synergies that will optimize the production potential and produce multiple benefits such as forest re-vegetation in desert areas.
Both CSP and the Seawater Greenhouse are most productive in hot desert conditions. While the former produces large quantities of surplus heat, the latter can make use of this heat to evaporate more seawater and produce more fresh water. The Seawater Greenhouse produces large quantities of pure de-ionised water which CSP plants need for the turbines, cooling, and cleaning of the mirrors.
Inside the greenhouse the conditions will be optimal for growing various crops, from tomatoes to algae for biofuel production. Outside the greenhouse, surplus water will provide good conditions to re-vegetate the desert area for further carbon sequestration in the soil as well as food and biomass production. The multiple outputs of the Sahara Forest Project will provide new opportunities for economic activity and growth in some of the poorest areas on the planet.
SEEKING: financial resources, implementing partners, best practice information.
OFFERING: best practice information, media and marketing opportunities.