Modern agriculture, and thus the global food supply, depends on phosphate, one of the most important components for the production of fertilisers. However, the production of phosphate is energy intensive and large amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are attributable to mineral extraction and processing. In Morocco, one of the largest fertiliser and phosphate producers in the world, efforts are therefore being made to reduce GHG emissions in the phosphate industry through the use of renewable energy.
As part of the project "SoPhosM – System for the demand-based provision of solar process heat for the drying process of phosphate in Morocco," a plant is to be built that can dry 100,000 tonnes of phosphate sludge annually with solar energy. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and coordinated by the Solar Institute Jülich at Aachen University of Applied Sciences (SIJ). In addition, the Moroccan state enterprise and world market leader in the phosphate industry OCP (Office Chérifien des Phosphates) as well as other Moroccan and German research partners and technology developers and manufacturers are involved in the project.
The aim of the Wuppertal Institute's research contribution is to analyse the potential for the use of solar process heat in industry in Morocco and with a view to the entire MENA region, and to evaluate the application against the background of selected sustainability aspects. This integrated view of the technology development in Morocco complements the technically oriented work in the project.