Betzdorf, December 20, 2018. Blue Horizon Sarl, a subsidiary of the space and technology group OHB SE, has received funding for the development of technologies and systems for fighting against desertification using microbiological methods in the frame of the Business Partnership Facility (BPF) of the Directorate for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs (LUXDEV). The first test area will be in Burkina Faso, one of the focus countries of Luxembourg development support. Together with the University of Ouagadougou, Blue Horizon will develop the methods and apply them in a small-scale experiment on ground. The next step will be an upscaling and industrialisation of the process on a wider scale.
The Blue Horizon GREEN EARTH program is aiming at kicking-off a large and systematic approach to reduce desertification on global scale. About 40% of global land surface is dryland. Deserted areas and those prone to desertification correspond to 6-12 Million Square km. Statistics show that only in Africa, 650.000 Square km of productive agriculture surface were lost over the past 50 years. Even though many efforts have been made in the past to reduce the effect of desertification, most methods have failed so far. Jochen Harms, managing director of Blue Horizon said: “We have a real chance to combat this problem using advances in microbiology." The technology basis consists in using a substrate of specifically selected micro-organisms and algae that fix the ground against erosion and fertilise it so that plants can grow again. Nicolas Faber, COO of Blue Horizon underlined: “We are learning a lot from space in terms of microbiology and apply that now to Earth problems."