After traveling for almost 24 hours, Maximilian Abouleish arrived in the Kubuqi Desert in Inner Mongolia, where he is going to attend the 5th Kubuqi International Desert Forum.
On his first day in China, he was invited by the Elion Resources Group to visit a number of their projects, for instance the “Kubuqi Ecological Photovoltaic Demonstration Zone”, a part of Elion’s Green Energy Business that combines the generation of power generation, cultivation of grass, and farming. The area of the demonstration plant covers 300 hectares and boasts an installed capacity of 110 megawatts. “This is an amazing project and very interesting for us as SEKEM aims to promote the generation and use of renewable energies”, the SEKEM Chief Sustainable Development officer comments.
Maximilian was also very impressed by the Chinese methodology for desert restoration by bundling natural materials and planting these in accordance to special patterns to methodically stabilise sand dunes. The innovative method of “water jetting” (see video below) for watering freshly planted trees, which tremendously increases their survival rate and the speed with which they can be planted, was included in the number of interesting projects Maximilian examined.
The Elion Resources Group is active in the fields of desert economies, clean energy generation, and production of natural pharmaceuticals in China and Mongolia. According to their documents, their achievements are stunning: Elion has restored over 6000 km2 of desert land effectively modifying the microclimate resulting in 300 mm of additional annual rainfall, up from only 70 mm before. This seems to have reduced the number of sandstorms from 70-80 to 3-5 days per year.
China is Going Big!
After an exciting day with lots of new impressions, Maximilian was invited to a welcome banquet together with a large number of leading government representatives. The dinner was, among others, attended by Jose Manuel Barraso (11th president of EU Commission and former Prime Minister of Portugal), Jose Luis Zapatero (former Prime Minister of Spain), John Agyekum Kufuor (Former Chairman of African Union and former president of Ghana), and Monique Barbut (Executive Secretary of UNCCD).