Renewable energy in Europe might be receiving a new huge boost from the
Tunisian Sahara desert. A major local company is currently looking into constructing a large solar power plant, which is expected to generate the amount of power Europe needs in order to completely forget about fossils.
If there is one thing that Sahara desert can supply, that is solar power. The continuous intense incoming radiation, combined with the infertile environment and huge extent, make up the perfect location for massive solar plants. The amount of solar energy that hits the desert surface is so great that as little as 0.3 % of it could generate the amount of energy Europe requires, according to the European Commission’s Institute for Energy .
The Tunisian company Nur Energy is the first to get on top of this by constructing a massive solar power plant in the Tunisian territory of Sahara. No later than 2018 the plant is set to begin operation, producing energy and exporting it to Western Europe.
The plant will use the technology that the Israeli Brenmiller Energy use in their solar plants in Negav desert. There, thanks to special power turbines and parabolic mirrors, energy is converted to steam. This allows the plant to produce energy day and night, and regardless of the weather conditions.
Nut Energy’s plant will cover the incredible 100 square kilometers with thousands of mirrors that concentrate sunlight onto a tower in the center. In the tower, energy will be stored through a process of melting of the so-called molten salts, which convert water into steam, and then power.
The construction of the power plant is expected to begin before the end of 2016 and it should be completed by 2018. The generated energy will be transported through an underwater cable to Italy, with a loss rate of only 3% per 1,000 kilometers.
The project is not only seen as the solution Europe needs in order to completely forget about fossil fuel power plants, but also it brings the boost that Tunisian economy needs in order to recover from the recent crisis. For more information, have a look at the video here.
Image (c) Nur Energy