Posted by: Barrak Al-Babtain | February 12, 2011

Biomimicry

If there was one thing that I would absolutely love to have in Kuwait, it would be the Sahara Forest Project. It is basically a hybrid desalination/greenhouse/concentrated solar plant. It uses concentrated solar energy which reflects sunlight to create heat that boils steam. The steam is forced through turbines and eventually condenses into pure water which would be used to grow crops. The video doesn’t do the system justice. There is such beautiful complexity in the way that every output is used as a resource to create value.

The great thing of course is that it doesn’t use any fossil fuels and has several useful outputs. It doesn’t look at energy production as a linear path, but as a closed loop. I don’t understand why we don’t already have several of these up and down the coast. Of course, the biggest challenge is what to do with the brine (very salty water) that is left behind. Kuwaiti waters are already saltier than normal because of our desalination, so we can’t expect to keep pumping more salt concentrations back into it. That seems to be the missing piece in all this.

Inputs

  1. Seawater
  2. Nutrients
  3. Carbon Dioxide
  4. Sunlight

Outputs

  1. Freshwater
  2. Reforestation
  3. Electricity
  4. Humid Air
  5. Food
  6. Biofuel

Responses

  1. Couldn’t the salt be used as a spice?

  2. Technically, yes, but you have to refine all the NaCl from that mix of salts and impurities and that would probably cost way too much (meaning you can’t compete with salt in the market).

    I think using the calcium carbonate (stuff that your bones are made of) as a building material is a great idea, which he mentioned in the video. I’m curious to know how feasible that is, because it sounds really promising.

    The danger is that if you don’t dispose of the salts properly, you risk permanently ruining your soil quality.


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