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Use of latest combined technologies planned in desert greenhouse

September 24, 2012  By Treena Hein

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a mid-East desert country. A Wikipedia article states "The UAE coast stretches for more than 650 kilometers along the southern shore of the Persian Gulf. Most of the coast consists of salt pans that extend far inland."

For greenhouses in the desert to be feasible, they require desalination technology, and therefore significant amounts of power. If new technologies can provide this power in an efficient and sustainable manner, so much the better.

Dr. Hassan Fath of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (United Arab Emirates) explains in a recent article his plans to build a greenhouse prototype that will use transparent photovoltaic panels on the roof to generate electricity for the production of irrigating water and to regulate the temperature, humidity and air velocity, while allowing in sunlight for photosynthesis. Thermal and electrical energy will be used to desalinate seawater or brackish groundwater using membrane technology, and to run an air-water collection system. Support will be provided by the Abu Dhabi Food Control Authority.

Professor Fath, currently in the Masdar Institute’s Water and Environmental Engineering department, has wide academic and industrial experience in desalination and energy technologies. Prior to that, Dr. Fath was a Professor in Alexandria University (Egypt) and Visiting Professor at the following institutes: King Abdul Aziz University, (KSA), Qatar University, University of Beirut and University of Technology (Iraq).


Dr. Fath is the author of two filed patents in MSF- MED desalination technologies. He has published a book entitled “Desalination Technology”, and is the co-author of the Encyclopedia of Desalination & Water Reuse (DESWARE) and author of “Selections of Desalination Scientific Encyclopedia” (in press). In addition he has published over 100 papers in desalination and energy technologies.

Dr. Fath also has Canadian connections, having worked for Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) and Ontario Hydro.

In addition, he has worked for the Saudi Arabian Marketing and Refining Co. (SAMAREC/ARAMCO), Consolidated Electricity Company (SCECO-W), and Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), Saudi Arabia; and the leader of new thermal desalination processes, Doosan’s Water Research and Development Center, UAE.

See this recent Energy Edge story about transparent solar panels being developed in Spain.

Watch for an upcoming Energy Edge story on an Australian greenhouse that uses desalination already up and running. SunDrop Farms has an Ontarion in the position of head grower.

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