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August 21, 2012 6:58 am

Israeli Solar Power Desalination Could Be Big For Africa

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A desalination plant in Palmachim, Israel. Photo: Arq. Michael Jacobson.

Israel, a country with a chronic shortage of water, has become a global leader in desalination technology. Now, a desalination system designed inside Israel, may make that process possible and more affordable in Africa as well as other parts of the Middle East.

The Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at Ben Gurion University of the Negev and Central Arava R&D are using solar energy to desalinate water, a process that is much cheaper than the traditional desalination process, reported Yediot Achronot.

Solar energy panels power the pumps of a desalination unit, generating clean water for crops, and farmers can select which minerals to keep in the water to feed various types of plants.

Testing the system near the Dead Sea, where the climate is dry, has shown that farmers can use up to 25 percent less water and fertilizer than what is usually needed. “The growing global demand for food and competition for resources among economic sectors compel future agricultural systems to be more efficient in the use of natural resources such as land and water,” said Andrea Ghermandi of the Zuckerberg Institute.

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