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The Exploration of the Successful Model of Solar Desert Control in Maowusu Desert
Source:Solartech Date:2020-04-26
April, 23rd, People’s Daily News Ecological miracle! The Maowusu Desert is about todisappear from Shanxi, China.
Niu Yuqin, a Chinese national woman hero in the fight against desertification, has successfully rectified over 70km² of desertification land after more than 30 years of hard work, turning the original barren land into an "artificial oasis". The reporter asked her why she had to control desert, she said: there is no other way, must control desert.

The poetry of “Straight lonely smoke rises in the desert, grand long river reflects the round sun sets” written by Wangwei (Tang Dynasty in China) is my first impression of the desert. The sun was setting, it was almost dark when I was arrived the Niu YuQin’s desert control demonstration base in Yulin, Shanxi. The scene in front of me completely upended my understanding of the desert.
Here, you cannot see a scene of Yellow Sand Everywhere. There were full of lush forest, grassland and fertile land on both sides of winding and hardening path. I can't see the other end of the vibrant green. Blue sky is without motley. The fresh air is with the scent of herbs, when took a deep breath of refreshing coolness, fatigue feeling in the trip is disappeared immediately. Only in the presence of the scene, people can truly feel the beautiful harmony of people use nature and transform nature.

Solar pumping system project done which donated by Solartech and Graduate School at Shenzhen, Tsinghua University (2009)

Multiple solar water-Saving irrigation system project done (2011)

Achieve remarkable results by using solar pumping and water-saving irrigation (2016)
In the process of walking together with Mr. Zhang Liqiang (Son of Niu Yuqin), CEO of Luyuan Desert Control Co., Ltd., when talked about the story of the desert control demonstration, he was always full with passion and permeated with a happy smile on her face. In the past here is a wasteland and nobody liked the place. 30 years was past from his parents signed the desert control contract with Dongkeng Town government. Through continuous attempts and efforts, they achieved what they have today. In the face of the vibrant scene, I can't help but admire the spirit of the hardworking, brave and unyielding spirit of the forest.

Yellow Sand Everywhere around the project sites (2009) 

2 years later, the surrounding of project sites vegetation is flourishing

3 years later, sandproof plants around the project sites are thriving

7 years later, the crops around the project sites are thriving
Over the past decade or more, Niu Yuqin and her family has been spent most of their time to tenaciously struggle with desert, and actively look for the more scientific, efficient, and harmonious desert control method. Zhang Liqiang proposed the concept of "desert economy" and "desert productivity", which means that it is not only about improving ecology, but also gaining the economic benefits from desert, there are a lot of land can be reclaimed in sandy waste area. After a solid ecological basis is laid, the economic crops can be planted. Solartech solar pumping irrigation system is to adjust measures to local conditions which can make the disadvantage in the desert into available resources. It makes full use of solar energy and convert it into electricity, drive pump to pump groundwater for water-saving irrigation. It can provide the most effective solution for desert control. In desert control base, sets of solar panels are neatly arranged, the water tank and the irrigation equipment are running normally. The water deliveried by the solar pumping system is continuously flowing out along the pipeline and water-saving irrigation network such as micro-spraying and drip irrigation, etc. to the dense forests and vegetable plantations, moistening the dry land.

The solar pumping system was equipped with water-saving irrigation equipment (2009)

After three days of water supply, watermelon seedlings broke through the soil

The watermelon ripens after 3 months
From 2009, Niu Yuqin started to apply the technology and equippments of solar pumping system which provided by Solartech in her desert control base. One set of 3kW solar pumping system was successfully installed in June of 2009 which can supply around 85m³ water daily under 30m water head and equipped with Water-Saving + Water-Fertilizer integration technology to meet the irrigation water demand of 17 acre watermelon plant.
After the completion of the whole project, the measured data shows that solar pumping system daily water flow reached 98m³ and the maximum volume is up to 110m³ during pure sunny days which can not only supply engouh irrigation water for watermelon planting, but also meet the 5.8 acre pinus seedlings (4 years) and 3.6 acres pinus seedlings (1 year) seedling irrigation under the condition of combining with micro-spraying and drip irrigation technology, the survival rate is over 92%. While in the flood-irrigated land that pumping water by traditional way, the survival rate of pinus sylvestris var and mongolica seedlings (one-year seedlings) is only 62%, the amount of water consumption is three times more, and fertilzer consumption is two times more. Compared with previous years, monthly electricity and other related expenses can be saved by more than 714 USD, the benefits are very obvious.

The workers hit by heavy wind and sand on project construction site (2009)

3 years later, the mountain truns green which showing a nice nature scenary
Zhang Liqiang commented that why Solartech solar pumping system was highly praised by the users, the key is the system can help them to save the cost of electric bills. He added that in order to install a drip irrigation system on the demonstration base, the investment cost for getting access to the gird was 42,857 USD. The annual electricity charge was 42,857 USD. What was worse, the electric wires should be replaced by new wires every 10 years, the maintenance cost is very expensive.
The labor force now who grow farms, do odd jobs in towns and villages are maily women over 50 years old. With solar pumping system, it not only can save a lot of money, but reduce the heavy labor work for carrying water.
Currently, Solartech solar pumping system were widely used for providing the irrigation water for pinus sylvestris var, mongolica, watermelon, dates, alfalfa, potatoes and other vegetables, and experimently planted cherries, peaches and other fruits.

Watermelon field

The alfalfas and corns can be used for keeping pigs and sheep. The livestock dung can be used to produce biogas. The biogas slurry is an excellent fertilizer which can enrich the nutrient content of barren sand land. What is not expect that there is a natural weeding team in the field -- the group of gooses. They eat freshly weeds sprout shoots without destroying crops. It is really like a way of “agriculture feeding animal husbandry, animal husbandry feeding forestry”. The integrated green circular economy created a new mode of sand prevention and sand industry development.

Livestock barn

Biogas digester

Group of gooses- “Natural weeding team”

Gooses eggs
Zhang Liqiang said, they plan to install more solar pumping system in next few years. Where there is a desert control project, a solar pumping system will be installed there. Five or six o’clock in the morning, I was woken by the noise of the bulldozer. He had already bulldozed several plots of land. Two of new big solar pumping system will be installed here. He shared me his new idea that he plan to build a large reservoir to store more water. On the premise of meeting the irrigation demand, he wants to start a new business - fisheries aquaculture. The saying of “Only unexpected, can not done” is constantly proved on this desert.

Mr. Chrispus Kiyonga, the Ugandan ambassador to China, led a team to inspect the Niu Yuqin desert control base (2017)

Zhang introduced the experience of solar water-saving irrigation to Mr. Chrispus Kiyonga. 

Mr. Chrispus Kiyonga led a team to learn advanced experience in solar desert control
With her life's struggle in desert control, NiuYuqin has made impossible to possible which bring the hope to those people who live or work in the desert and make them willing to work in desert. Their successful practice of desert economy encourages more people to invest in the desert economy. Niu Yuqin's desert control demonstration base was rated as the national agricultural tourism demonstration base and also was designated as one of the education bases of the communist party in Jingbian county and one of the education bases of ecological civilization.
In recent years, the provincial and municipal forestry department has invested to build a "Niu Yuqin Desert Control Exhibition Hall," which is one of the places where people learn the spirit of planting trees. Niu Yuqin’s advanced achievement has been made into a TV program. Her spirit of working in desert control and forestation for over decades already is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, her tenacious spirit, industrious and the image of the sand is more like a spiritual monument stands in northern Shanxi land, flashing dazzling light.
China has more than 260 square kilometers desert and more than 170 square kilometers of the desertification land which need to be controlled or governed. Famous scientist Qian Xuesen proposed the concept of sand industry in 1984. Through 7 years actual usage in Niu Yuqin desert control demonstration base, it has shown that solar pumping system is very suitable for use in the desert region. The system can greatly enhance the survival rate of desert plant trees and grow grass, improve the comprehensive benefit of sand prevention, reduce cost and redundant construction. In those sand land or desert where with relative good nature condition, it can be used for developing of vegetable, melon and fruit, grasses, herbs and other economic crops planting industry which can change the single form of desert prevention and control to be a green circular economy.
Comparing with the inefficient and wasteful flood irrigation, Solar pumping system can be integrated conveniently with all kinds of water-saving irrigation system, realizing spray irrigation and drip irrigation respectively application according to the different need of plant in different growth periods to water the plants, reduce water and fertilizer waste, and improve the efficiency and economic benefits. At the same time, solar pumping system utilize the solar energy as power source which conform well to country industrial policies of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, developing green low carbon and circular economy, is a key technology in desert control, ecological restoration and developing sand industry.  

Seedling land cracked (2009)

The seedlings were growing well (2011)

Spray irrigation in solar agriculture greenhouse (2012)

Corns were growing well (2012)

The other crops were planting and growing well (2016)

The sand plants were growing well
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