Researchers develop solar powered desert oasis to feed millions of dwellers


Because of the lack of water and fertile soil, people living in desert areas of the world often confront with lack of food items, which hence has to be imported from other parts of the world. To end the problem, clean-tech scientists in Israel have come up with a unique solar powered oasis which can help provide food to millions of locals. Researchers from the Ben-Gurion University and the Central and Northern Arava Research and Development Center have developed the solar powered desert oasis that can help grow salt-tolerant crops in dry desert conditions.

Currently the team is testing out a small model installed north of the Dead Sea, while planning to building a larger testing and training facility. We all know that deserts don’t have much rainfall, but often there is plenty of salty water below the surface. Since most crops cannot grow in salty water, the team engineered a cost-effective filtration membrane that removes excess salt from water, while keeping nutrients intact. Moreover, the membrane runs on about a quarter of the power a traditional desalination system requires, making solar energy and ideal option to power it.

While the filtered water is used to grow normal crops, the waste concentrate is used to grow plants like the red beet, which like salty water, and to raise ornamental fish in the desert. The small model developed for testing purposes is successfully sustaining four different crops and similar systems could be custom-built to support different types of crops.

Via: Israel 21C

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