2012-11-24. Growing food in the desert: is this the solution to the world's food crisis?

posted Nov 29, 2012, 11:07 AM by Alan Gould
| by Jonathan Margolis, The Observer. Relevant to Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt:  Philipp Saumweber is creating a miracle in the barren Australian outback, growing tonnes of fresh food.…a 33-year-old German former Goldman Sachs banker but inspired by a London theatre lighting engineer of 62, have bought a sizeable lump of this unpromising outback territory and built on it an experimental greenhouse which holds the seemingly realistic promise of solving the world's food problems. …using the sun to desalinate seawater for irrigation and to heat and cool greenhouses as required, and thence cheaply grow high-quality, pesticide-free vegetables year-round in commercial quantities. …A 75m line of motorised parabolic mirrors that follow the sun all day focuses its heat on a pipe containing a sealed-in supply of oil. The hot oil in turn heats nearby tanks of seawater pumped up from a few metres below ground – the shore is only 100m away. The oil brings the seawater up to 160C and steam from this drives turbines providing electricity. Some of the hot water from the process heats the greenhouse through the cold desert nights, while the rest is fed into a desalination plant that produces the 10,000 litres of fresh water a day needed to keep the plants happy…. Read the full article: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/24/growing-food-in-the-desert-crisis