HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani being welcomed by senior QP and Qafco officials at Mesaieed yesterday. The Heir Apparent inaugurated QR2.2bn Qafco 6 at a high-profile ceremony held at the industrial city. Below: HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani accompanied by other dignitaries tours the facility yesterday.
By Pratap John/Chief Business Reporter
HH the Heir Apparent Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has inaugurated Sahara Forest Project (SFP), a key Qafco initiative at Mesaieed to combat climate change and desertification.
The pilot plant for the Sahara Forest Project has been set up in a one hectare site near the Qafco 6 facility.
The concept behind Sahara Forest Project is to produce food, water and clean energy using desert land, saltwater and carbon dioxide. This is done by combining the already existing and proven environmental technologies including saltwater-cooled greenhouses, concentrated solar power and technologies for desert revegetation around a saltwater infrastrcture.
Qafco said, “SFP has a unique combination of promising environmental technologies carefully integrated into a system to maximise beneficial synergies. A wide spectrum of leading experts and technology developers took part in the effort to realise the project that utilises seawater to provide cold and humid conditions for vegetable growth.
“The greenhouses also produce freshwater. The greenhouses consist of a state-of-the-art parabolic trough solar collector with a thermal desalination unit supported by photo voltaic technology. The project also allows for cultivation of algae in a system of photo-bioreactors and open pond cultivation systems.”
Qafco vice-chairman and CEO Khalifa A. al-Sowaidi said the results of the Sahara Forest Project pilot plant would be evaluated, mainly during summer, before deciding on expanding it to other places in Qatar.
“Qafco and Yara are sponsoring this environmental project on a pilot scale to demonstrate the potential of the green technology in an arid region like Qatar using seawater and solar energy for future larger scale research and commercial platform in horticulture, freshwater generation, energy and algae Production.”
On the aspect of commercialising the technology, al-Sowaidi said, “This project is expected to pave way for commercialisation of this green technology for large scale implementation with a vision to produce energy, food and fresh water not only for Qatar but for tomorrow’s world population in a sustainable way.”
In 2011, Qafco and Yara ASA had signed an agreement with Sahara Forest Project AS to build the first fully operational Sahara Forest Project Pilot Plant in Qatar after a successful feasibility study.