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A novel approach on the delineation of a multipurpose energy-greenbelt to produce biofuel and combat desertification in arid regions

journal contribution
submitted on 2023-11-22, 11:52 and posted on 2023-11-22, 12:56 authored by Mohammad Alherbawi, Gordon McKay, Rajesh Govindan, Maryam Haji, Tareq Al-Ansari

Jatropha curcas L. (JCL) is one of the most prominent energy crops due to its superior agronomical traits, where it can grow in non-arable lands and harsh climates with minimal water requirements. A significant number of studies were published on the utilisation of JCL for biofuel production, whereas there are no studies on its use in greenbelt (GB) or windbreak technologies reported thus far. Meanwhile, a few approaches on the delineation of greenbelts to fight desertification in the arid regions exist in literature. This study presents a novel approach to delineate a multipurpose energy-greenbelt using JCL crop for biofuel production, as well as to preserve the soil and enhance air quality, thereby helping to combat desertification and sand-dust storms (SDS). The methodology is demonstrated using a case study in the state of Qatar for the diversification of its renewable energy resources. Moreover, Qatar is also suffering from land degradation due to erosion factors and desert creep. A multi-dimensional approach is proposed for this purpose using satellite and meteorological data to initially select the optimal plantation sites that potentially contribute to the highest possible biofuel yield. The spatial analysis was carried out using the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) technique for multi-criteria decision making in the geographic information system (ArcGIS). In addition, the Landsat and MODIS satellite imagery were utilised in combination with historical records from the weather stations to evaluate the patterns of SDS, land degradation and urban expansion, to best define optimal GB pathway. COMSOL Multiphysics software was subsequently employed to evaluate the performance of Jatropha-GB and determine its optimal density. The different solutions for GB delineation spans 166.6–227.8 km length and (6 × 6 m) of field density. It is expected that the economic and environmental benefits from the derived GB configuration include: (a) protection of up to 87% of Qatar farms against further deterioration; (b) yield of up to 36 M gallon of green liquid fuels; (c) capture of 0.33 M tonnes of CO2 per 1 km GB-depth annually; and (d) provide a better air quality for around 95% of the Qatar population.

Other Information

Published in: Journal of Environmental Management
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Open Access funding provided by the Qatar National Library.



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2022

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU

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