Afforesting arid land with renewable electricity and desalination to mitigate climate change

By Upeksha Caldera & Christian Breyer
February 6, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: International

Afforestation is …constrained by the availability of suitable land and sufficient water resources. In this research, existing concepts of low-cost renewable electricity (RE) and seawater desalination are built upon to identify the global CO2 sequestration potential if RE-powered desalination plants were used to irrigate forests on arid land over the period 2030–2100. Results indicate a cumulative CO2sequestration potential of 730 GtCO2 during the period. Global average cost is estimated to be €457 per tCO2 in 2030 but decrease to €100 per tCO2 by 2100, driven by the decreasing cost of RE and increasing CO2 sequestration rates of the forests. …The results suggest a key role for afforestation projects irrigated with RE-based desalination within the climate change mitigation portfolio, which is currently based on bioenergy carbon capture and storage, and direct air carbon capture and storage plants.

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