The Sahara Forest Project launched a Norwegian and EU funded facility to produce vegetables and 10.000 liters of freshwater daily in the Aqaba desert.
On Thursday October 27th, The Sahara Forest Project started the construction of an innovative Norwegian and EU funded facility the size of four football fields in Aqaba.
“This is the beginning of a business adventure that will produce freshwater, food and clean energy in the dry areas of Aqaba” Joakim Hauge, Chief Executive Officer of the Sahara Forest Project, said.
The kick-off for the building process in Aqaba, Jordan.
Once completed, The Sahara Forest Project Launch Station will contain saltwater-cooled greenhouses that will utilize saltwater to provide excellent conditions for production of several tons high-quality vegetables.Photovoltaic solar panels will provide power for the electrical installations in the facility. Outdoor growing zones will not only contribute yields from various crops but also store CO2 from the atmosphere into vegetation of barren land. A desalination unit with capacity of 10 000 liters freshwater per day will provide the necessary water for the greenhouse and outdoor vegetation.
Please see Fact Sheet for the Jordan Launch Station here.
The project brings an innovative climate-smart solution that is needed in a country where challenges related to water scarcity and high imports of energy are high on the public agenda.
Joakim Hauge is describing the day as an important milestone in the history of the Norwegian-registered company and foundation. “This is the kick-off for a 6-month construction period. More than 30 Jordanian workers will be contracted to work at the site next to the airport in Aqaba”, Hauge announced.
The event on October 27th was hosted by HE Chief Commissioner Mr. Nasser Shraideh at the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) headquarters.
A visit to the site close to the airport in Aqaba was arranged after the event at ASEZA.
Norway and the European Union are the two key funders of the new industrial scheme in Aqaba, supported by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources. Other partners include Yara International, The Grieg Foundation and USAID. This comes in addition to the financial resources invested by The Sahara Forest Project.
“I am honoured to join you today to witness the launch of an innovative EU funded facility to introduce Renewable energy and Energy efficiency applications to achieve the NEXUS approach that supports energy, water and food security” Mr. Andrea Matteo Fontana, European Union Ambassador to Jordan said, adding “The EU is contributing with 709.000 Euros to this project”.
The Ambassador emphasized “Opportunities for Jordan, to reduce its independence on imported energy and enhance its water supply as well as meet its increased food needs are clear priorities for the EU-Jordan partnership. The EU is today the main partner to Jordan in Green Energy development with more than 145 M Euro bilateral support”.
Norwegian Ambassador Ms. Sissel Breie noted “It is enjoyable to stand here today to celebrate the start of the building process. The feasibility studies demonstrated a clear potential for a large-scale production of food and energy in the Aqaba desert. We have been encouraged to see that the scope and ambitions of the Sahara Forest Project have increased”.
The facility in Jordan will be three times the size of the successful Sahara Forest Project pilot facility in Qatar, where the technologies and the exciting synergies were tested and demonstrated under rough conditions.
Norway and EU assisting in combating global warming through storing CO2 in the ground
“We are very grateful for the important financial support from the Norwegian government and the European Union here in Jordan”, Hauge said.
Sequestration of CO2 through revegetation of desert land is by the United Nations as well as climate researchers mentioned as crucial to combat global warming. Last year in Paris, the world demanded action in order to meet the new ambitious political agreement. “Together with the Ambassadors, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and the Chief Commissioner of ASEZA, we are doing our part in responding to the Paris agreement”, Hauge said.
Jordan, a hotspot
Hauge is very pleased with the warm and kind reception The Sahara Forest Project has received ever since His Majesty King Abdullah II invited the Sahara Forest Project to Jordan.
Jordan is seen as an ideal country for such project: It’s a regional hotspot for investments into the rapidly growing solar industry; the country has ideal natural resources for the project and the Jordanian government, represented by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, is facilitating and supporting the project management.
The Launch Station will demonstrate the commercial potential for a large scale operation in Jordan. The 3 hectare facility will be the first step towards the realization of a 20 hectare Jordan Centre in Aqaba, combining large-scale production of freshwater, food and clean energy with an innovation hub for green technologies.
“All staff members of the Sahara Forest Project are supporters of big and bold innovative ideas. Today, we took a giant step in turning our ideas into reality. We truly believe that The Sahara Forest Project will be good for people, good for the environment and good for business”, Hauge concluded.
Mr. Magnus Borgen, Head of Communications at The Sahara Forest Project
firstname.lastname@example.org / Tel: +47 977 28 476.
Ms. Reem Al-Jazi, Press Officer at the European Union Delegation to Jordan
Reem.AL-JAZI@eeas.europa.eu / Tel: +962-6-460-7000 (ext 108).
About Sahara Forest Project
The Sahara Forest Project is a Norwegian-registered private limited company and a foundation.
SFP offers attractive restorative growth opportunities for arid areas. The Sahara Forest Project has accomplished excellent results at the pilot phase in Qatar. These are highlighted in various international publications, such as a special report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), as well as global media outlets. The Sahara Forest Project has now reached an important milestone in the journey to enable a restorative growth for Jordan. Over the next few months the project will go from idea to reality, with crucial financial support from the Norwegian government and the EU. There will be revegetation of desert areas and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater, biofuels and electricity.