From: Vanessa L. Bourlier, ENN
Published November 2, 2009 09:58 AM

Using the Sahara Sun to Power Europe

A $400 billon (£240 billion) plan to provide Europe with solar power from the Sahara desert moved a step closer to reality with the formation of a consortium of 12 companies to carry out the work. Known as the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DDI), the German-led consortium consists of some of country's biggest engineering and power companies, along with Munich Re, the largest reinsurer in the world.

Since the project was first announced in July, the DII has gained support from a wide variety of political and governmental institutions in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.

The DDI believes it can deliver solar power to Europe as early as 2015. It aims to provide 15% of Europe's electricity by 2050 or earlier via power lines stretching across the desert and Mediterranean Sea.

The solar technology involved is known as concentrated solar power, (CSP) which uses mirrors to concentrate the sun's rays on a fluid container. The super-heated liquid then drives turbines to generate electricity.

The technology is not new, but it is the scale of the Desertec initiative which is a first, along with plans to connect North Africa to Europe with new high voltage direct current cables which transport electricity over great distances with little energy loss.

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Information for this article was obtained from the Desertec Foundation and Guardian.co.uk via Environmental Health News. More information about the project can be found here: http://www.desertec.org/en/

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