Seawater greenhouses could bring life to desert

Greenhouses using seawater to grow crops could be combined with solar power plants to provide food, fresh water and clean energy in deserts, the Guardian reports an ambitious design as proposing.

The Sahara Forest project would combine huge greenhouses with concentrated solar power, which uses mirrors to focus the sun’s rays and generate heat and electricity. The report says the installations would turn deserts into lush patches of vegetation without the need to dig wells, which can deplete aquifers.

The designers say that virtually any vegetable could be grown in the greenhouses, depending on the conditions at which it is maintained.
Demonstration plants are already producing lettuces, peppers, cucumbers and tomatoes. The nutrients to grow the plants could come
from local seaweed or even be extracted from the seawater itself.

Neil Crumpton, an energy specialist at Friends of the Earth, said the potential of desert technologies was huge. "Governments around the
world should invest serious money in these solar energy and water technologies and not be distracted by lobbyists promoting dangerous
nuclear power or nuclear-powered desalination schemes."

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