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Story 060 – 2050 – Sustainability Innovation People

Electricity and water from the Atacama Desert

When water in the desert becomes a by-product

Urbanization of desert fringe zones begins above all with the presence of water and electricity. If these two conditions are met, agriculture can also develop and expand in desert areas. A gigantic project will start in 2050.

By 2020, according to the UN, 41% of the world's land area is dry, threatened to become lifeless desert. Wind and a lack of water mean that even the edges of a desert can easily become uncultivable areas.

More than 30 years later, in 2055, the first 2nd generation wind farms will be built in Peru. Huge wind generator towers will harness the strong winds in higher regions above the Atacama Desert and continuously generate enormous amounts of electricity for Central and South America throughout the year. An additional vital side-effect will be the production of drinking water, produced by the high temperature and pressure differences between the ground and the top of the towers, and obtained via heat exchangers. This water will be used to revive Peru's agriculture, which would have been abandoned for decades. The self-sufficient people living there will thus be able to regain their livelihood. In the Peruvian deserts, water extraction will be so productive due to the high humidity, which in some cases will exceed 90 percent, that large parts of the water-poor regions in Peru can be supplied with drinking water and thus productive agriculture will again be possible.

The high efficiency of the wind generators is based on various factors, such as new materials for the construction of the towers and optimized metal alloys, which are significantly less subject to wear. In addition, the enormous overall height of the towers and the acceleration of the winds due to the differences in pressure will also result in significantly higher performance.