Power from the desert: from vision to implementation - kick-off meeting for the enerMENA project in Almería
10 February 2010
Supporting the implementation of the DESERTEC concept
The DESERTEC concept envisions solar power stations in North Africa and the Middle East providing electricity to those regions and to Europe in a way that is sustainable and cost-effective. The international enerMENA project (energy in Middle East and North Africa) is intended to pave the way for the technical and socio-economic implementation of this concept. enerMENA was launched on 10 February 2010 in Almería, Spain under the direction of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR).
Networks for the construction of solar power stations
enerMENA is a support programme for the development of solar-thermal power station technology in the Middle East and North Africa. One of its most important goals is better networking of all the stakeholders who are participating in the construction of solar-thermal power stations. Research and educational institutions in the partner countries are involved, as are power station operators, project planners and decision makers. enerMENA is financed by the German foreign ministry and led by the DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics in Almería.
"DLR has contributed a great deal to the DESERTEC concept. With our expertise and with the feasibility studies, we played a significant part in shaping the project," says enerMENA project leader Louy Qoaider from DLR. "Now we also have a leading role in the critical practical steps." enerMENA aims to promote the establishment of solar power station technologies in the Middle East and North Africa and thus introduce environmentally-friendly energy conversion technologies to regions which have a rapidly increasing rate of power consumption.
Training skilled personnel in partner countries
Passing on experience gained by researchers in Spain and Germany
In addition to DLR's researchers providing technical support in the construction of solar-thermal power stations, the provision of training for specialists from partner countries is an important concern for enerMENA. Lecturers at universities will be informed about solar-thermal power station technology and supplied with teaching materials. They are to act as 'multipliers' by informing students about opportunities and thereby contributing to the goal of meeting the growing need for qualified employees from the partner countries themselves. "We want to make a mark on the technical aspect of the education systems in North Africa and the Middle East and pass on the experience that we have gained in Germany and Spain," says project leader Qoaider.
A workshop for experts was held on 9 February 2010 under the leadership of the Solar Research Department of the Institute of Technical Thermodynamics. In addition to a general exchange of information about ongoing projects in the region, a closer collaboration between enerMENA and other projects in the region was agreed upon and synergies were created. The workshop was attended by representatives from the German Federal Agency for Technical Cooperation (Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit; GTZ) and from Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt, experts from the KfW Bankengruppe (a development bank owned by the German federal and state governments), the University of Kassel and the Jülich Solar Institute, as well as representatives from the German power station industry and the German Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt).