Petroleum-rich Qatar has welcomed innovators seeking solutions to the challenges facing desert areas worldwide – from renewable energy to fresh water to food production. One of the most ambitious experiments is the Sahara Forest Project, which looks to transform seawater, sunlight and carbon dioxide into fresh water, vegetables, trees, electricity, salt, biofuel and animal feed. The technologies it uses – concentrated solar power, evaporative cooling, thermal desalination – aren’t new. The innovation lies in the combination of so many in one integrated system. Does this kind of complex, capital-intensive, high-tech solution make sense?
Reporter: Jon Miller
Producer and Camera: Charlotte Buchen
Sound: Shiba Ranjan Das
Editor: Linda Peckham
Additional Editing: David Ritsher and Adithya Sambamurthy
Additional Footage: Fay Abuelgasim, Elie Khadra, Fred de Sam Lazaro
Thanks to: Qatar TV, VPRO Television, Chad Heeter
Senior Producer: Cassandra Herrman
Executive Producer: Sharon Tiller
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Could agriculture bloom in the desert?
by Jon Miller, Reveal June 12, 2013
Jonathan Miller is executive director of Homelands Productions, a journalism cooperative specializing in public radio features and documentaries. As a freelance journalist, he has reported from Asia, Latin America, Africa, Europe and the U.S. for NPR, BBC, CBC, American Public Media's Marketplace, Monitor Radio, VOA, Radio Netherlands and Radio Deutsche Welle. He also has written for The New Yorker, Condé Nast Traveler, Parents, American Way, The Christian Science Monitor and many other publications. For 13 years, he lived and worked in the Philippines and Peru.