DESERTEC Foundation

DESERTEC Foundation

DESERTEC Foundation as a non-profit foundation with the aim of promoting the implementation of the global DESERTEC Concept `Clean Power from Deserts` all over the world. DESERTEC Concept offers a solution which can be implemented worldwide: Sufficient clean power can be generated in the world`s deserts to supply mankind with enough electricity on a sustainable basis. DESERTEC is an integrated concept which includes energy security and climate protection as well as drinking water production, socio-economic development, security policy and international cooperation.

Company details

Ferdinandstr. 28-30 , Hamburg , 20095 Germany
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Business Type:
Nonprofit organization (NPO)
Industry Type:
Market Focus:
Globally (various continents)
Year Founded:

Who we are
The DESERTEC Foundation is a global civil society initiative aiming to shape a sustainable future. It was established on 20 January 2009 as a non-profit foundation that grew out of a network of scientists, politicians and economists from around the Mediterranean, who together developed the DESERTEC Concept. Founding members of DESERTEC Foundation are the German Association of the Club of Rome, members of the international network as well as committed private individuals.

What we do
We are working on the fast global implementation of the DESERTEC Concept, a comprehensive solution that combats global warming, ensures a reliable energy supply, and promotes development and security. With around 30 staff members and regional network coordinators as well as a large global community of supporters, we are active around the world:

  • We inform the civil society sector and politicians about the benefits of DESERTEC
  • Promote the establishment of the framework conditions necessary for a global transition to renewables
  • Support knowledge transfer and scientific co-operation
  • Foster exchange and co-operation with the private sector

Humankind is facing enormous challenges: as the planet’s population rises and the industrialization of developing countries accelerates, global energy demand continues to climb. At the same time, increases in carbon emissions bring the threat of runaway climate change and a drastic reduction in the earth’s capacity to support human life ever closer.

The DESERTEC Concept offers a solution

It demonstrates how to combat climate change, ensure a reliable energy supply and promote security and development by generating sustainable power from the sites where renewable sources of energy are most abundant.

All kinds of renewables will be used in the DESERTEC Concept, in centralized and decentralized solutions alike, but the sun-rich deserts of the world play a central role: within six hours deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year. In addition, 90 percent of the world’s population lives within 3,000 km of deserts. This means that DESERTEC‘s ideas can be applied across the world by using low loss HVDC transmission.

From vision to reality

With around 30 staff members and country coordinators and a large global community of supporters, the  DESERTEC Foundation is active around the world, accelerating the global implementation of the DESERTEC Concept:

  • It informs civil society and politicians about DESERTEC,
  • Promotes the establishment of necessary framework conditions,
  • Supports knowledge transfer and scientific co-operation,
  • Fosters exchange and co-operation with the private sector and
  • Evaluates and initiates projects that could serve as models.

Focus region EU-MENA (Europe, the Middle East and North Africa)

So far, the DESERTEC Foundation has already made significant progress in the Mediterranean region. Through projects in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia, and the DESERTEC University Network, it supports knowledge transfer and educational cooperation. It fosters exchange and cooperation with the private sector for example with the foundation of the industrial initiative Dii GmbH. Read more

DESERTEC in Greater East Asia

We believe that by harnessing clean power from deserts, Greater East Asia can take a leading role in the fight against global warming. We are currently establishing contact with politicians, economists and scientists throughout this region, in order to promote the implementation of the necessary political framework conditions.

Within 6 hours the world's deserts receive more energy from the sun than humankind consumes within a year. This means that sufficient clean power can be generated from the world's deserts to supply mankind with enough electricity on a sustainable basis. The DESERTEC Concept promotes the large-scale production of solar and wind power in the desert regions of the world, combined with a smart mix of photovoltaics, hydropower, biomass and geothermal energy.

The Technologies are available and already in commercial use
The DESERTEC Concept integrates all types of renewable energy. The installed capacity of wind energy and photovoltaics is already growing strongly. Concentrating Solar-thermal Power (CSP) is however an important technology in the DESERTEC Concept because it can deliver dispatchable power that compensates for the fluctuations of wind energy and photovoltaics.

The technologies for the production and long-distance transmission of clean power from deserts are available and already in commercial use, for example in Southern Spain and in the USA.

CSP works as follows: Solar energy is concentrated by means of mirrors to heat water. The resulting steam is used to drive conventional turbines for power generation. As heat can be easily stored with low losses, CSP plants are capable of supplying energy on demand - even after sunset. A high share of such dispatchable clean power in the energy mix stabilizes the electricity grid and therefore allows for a greater use of other fluctuating sources such as photovoltaics and wind.

Clean power from deserts for 90% of the world's population

Clean power from remote deserts can be transmitted up to 3,000 kilometers to the consumption centres, using High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) lines. 90% of the world's population lives within a maximum distance of 3,000 km to deserts. With around 2-3% per 1,000 kilometres, the transmission losses are fairly low. China especially is already experienced in the utilization of HVDC transmission lines which can be seen at the 1418 km HVDC line connecting Yunnan and Guangdong.

Main principles of the DESERTEC Concept
The DESERTEC Concept integrates all renewable energies in a trans-national supergrid

  • Using a smart mix of the most efficient and abundant sources of renewable energy
    • Concentrating Solar-Thermal Power (CSP) in desert regions
    • Wind power in coastal areas
    • Hydro power in mountainous regions
    • Photovoltaics in sunny areas
    • Biomass and Geothermal power where geographic conditions are favorable