The availability of sufficient irrigation water is a big problem in many arid and remote areas. The irrigation water for crop production in greenhouses will be provided by seawater desalination plants in some countries, which use oil for the necessary desalination energy. In Kuwait, for example, trucks transport irrigation water from sea water desalination plants to the greenhouse holdings. The water from desalination plants is relatively expensive, and is used mainly for human consumers.
Brackish or salty water is available in many arid regions. If greenhouse systems for reduced irrigation water requirement (closed-system greenhouses) and cost – effective solar water desalination systems can be developed, vegetable production can be extended to those arid regions.
A closed-system greenhouse with integrated solar water desalination was developed and evaluated between 1979 and 1984 at the University of Hannover (Strauch 1985a, b). An improved structure was designed and built in1987 as a pilot plant at the University of Adana, Turkey (Meyer et al. 1989; Baytorun et al. 1989).
Different solar water desalination systems were tested in parallel experiments in Hannover (Klasik et al. 1989).