Within recorded history, large parts of the Sahara and other deserts used to house forests of drought-tolerant vegetation. The process of desertification has reduced the amount of vegetation on the planet and threatens to exacerbate climate change, potentially accelerating desertification even further. The Sahara Forest Project by inventor Charlie Paton, architect Michael Pawlyn and engineer Bill Watts, proposes to reverse desertification and turn arid regions into carbon-neutral resources of food, fresh water and clean energy.
Deploying the Seawater Greenhouse by Paton, a cool food-growing environment and resource of distilled water will be created. Producing about five times as much fresh water as needed by the greenhouse, extra water is used to irrigate outside biofuel crops and for the maintenance of the Concentrated Solar Power plants. Concentrated Solar Power uses the heat of the sun to create steam that drives conventional turbines to produce zero-carbon electricity. The electric energy can be distributed to local users and, via a DC connection, to other parts of the continent with minimal energy loss.