Biography of Khalid Benhamou, Sahara Wind Energy Development Company
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Khalid Benhamou


Khalid Benhamou

Date of Birth: 13 December 1967

Nationality: Morocco, Germany



32, Av. Lalla Meryem Souissi
Rabat, 10170 Morocco

Tel: +212 661 33 20 68
Fax: +212 537 65 08 41
Mob:+212 661 33 20 68
Email: kb@saharawind.com


Education (degrees, dates, universities)

Baccalauréat Série D, 1986, Lycée Descartes, Rabat, Morocco

Bachelor of Science (Engineering), 1992, California Polytechnic State University -San Luis Obispo, California, USA.

Project Cycle Management Executive Program, 2011, Maastricht School of Management, Maastricht, The Netherlands

Languages: English, French, German, and Arabic.

Field of Specialization (main fields)


Wind energy:  large scale integrated wind energy project development platform. Project coordination framework for threshold capacity of large scale phased wind power project with Multilateral institutions (UNDP, GEF, UNIDO, WB..)

  • Wind energy in the Saharan region, remote grid stand alone Wind/Diesel applications

  • Wind resource assessments, wind speed measurements

  • Collaborative project development work with Government Ministries, Institutions & Development Agencies.

  • Scientific & technical coordination of applied research with Industry, Academia, Research Centers

  • Integration of wind systems, industrial synergies, capacity building & Hydrogen energy technologies

  • Agricultural development, engineering, machine & infrastructure/irrigation systems designs.


Field of Specialization (details)


  • Developer of the Sahara Wind Project - Multi Stakeholder Project Development Coordination in conjunction with Government Ministries, Institutions, Multilateral Organizations (UNDP/GEF, GEF, World Bank, AfDB, UNDP, UNIDO … and Bilateral Governmental cooperation USA (DoE, State Dept, USTDA, USAID, OPIC…), France (MINEFI-DREE, FASEP, ADEME, AFD, ANR…), Germany (BMZ, GTZ, BMU, INVENT) Collaboration with other institutions EU-Commissions and Directorates: DG TREN, RESEARCH, ENVT-JREC Other Multilaterals UNEP, IEA, IPHE  Professional associations and societies (WWEA, EWEA, AfriWEA, IAHE, EUROSOLAR, WCRE, ACORE, AMISOLE/FENELEC…) direct technical collaboration with industry, academia, research centers, and non-governmental Organizations: Co-founder of Trans-Mediterranean Renewable Energy Cooperation group TREC in 2003 (which led to DESERTEC foundation).


  • Original Concept Developer: Sahara Wind Project UNDP/GEF-WB-AfDB PIMS#3292 – Morocco:  Sahara Wind Phase I / tarfaya (400-500 MW) on-grid wind electricity in a liberalized market. Large scale integrated wind energy project development framework from concept to operational implementation platform involving local industrial stakeholders (capacity building, legal intermediation, technology transfer, infrastructure design, project platform coordination, energy markets…). Wind power industrial integration, capacity building, project phasing/implementation, grid integration, applied research, industrial synergies, economic impact, sustainability analysis & social intermediation.


  • Decentralized wind energy systems, wind energy in Saharan region. Remote grid stand alone wind/diesel applications, 20 yrs operational experience in conceiving, installing & managing demonstration project(s) / pilot test site facility including design, building & operations (handling intermittency, high wind penetration rates, load curves, various applications of storage/backups).


  • Wind speed measurements, regional wind & renewable energy assessment and weak grid integration distributed energy, integrated applications.


  • Hydrogen energy technologies, industrial synergies, applications, bottom-up integrated processes, distributed systems



Collaborative Research Activities



North Atlantic Treaty Organization –NATO- Science for Peace SfP-982620.

Conceiver and Partner Country Project Director (PPD) of NATO SfP-982620 ‘Science for Peace & Security’ Project  “Sahara Trade Winds to Hydrogen: Applied Research for Sustainable Energy Systems”. Collaborative applied research project involving US (State Dept), France (CEA), Germany (M.NRW), Turkey (UNIDO-ICHET), Morocco (ENSAM Meknes and Al Akhawayn University) & Mauritania (University of Nouakchott). Build capacities in applied research to develop programs focused on industrial synergies for the access to wind energy involving local industries and academia in Morocco and Mauritania.


UNIDO-ICHET Contract TF/INT/03/002/11-68

Develop perspectives of renewable Hydrogen Economy in Morocco. Director of Wind Hydrogen Energy Pilot Project in Tarfaya, Morocco. United Nations Development Program - International Centre for Hydrogen Energy Technologies Istanbul, Turkey.


Hydrogen and fuel cells (France CEA, UNIDO-ICHET Istanbul Turkey) Hydrogen production, storage, restitution, grid integration (NREL USA), Hydrogen Energy & non-Energy Integration in Morocco (Univ. Nouakchott, CNRST, CERPHOS, OCP Group, ONEP, SNIM, MAURITEL), Perspectives of Wind-Hydrogen Energy Production in Morocco UNIDO-ICHET, Istanbul Turkey


Grid impact studies, high grid integration of renewable energies, intermittency management, high wind penetration rates, Wind power and long distance optimized HVDC Transmission systems, Project phasing (ONE, CDER Morocco), ITAIPU Binacional-FURNAS/Eletrobras Brazil, ISET Kassel (G. Czisch), ALSTOM T&D, AREVA T&D, and subsequently ALSTOM GRID then GE Grid Solutions.


Wind power technical, industrial and institutional capacity building, electricity markets (ONE, CDER Morocco, UNDP-GEF, GEF, World Bank ESMAP and Ministries of Energy, Industry, Economy and Finance).


Wind Energy assessment: Established wind speed measurements network through academia-industrial partnerships with ONEP, ONEE, prev. CERPHOS/OCP Group, ADEREE, ENSAM, Al Akhawayn University, Maroc Telecom Morocco, University of Nouakchott, MAURITEL, CRAER, ISET Mauritania.


Professional Experience

Sahara Wind Energy Development Company / Project

September 2001-Current

Managing Director

Rabat, Morocco


Sahara Wind Project Development Platform

Phosphate rock deposit as fossil footprints of the trade winds.  Established the link between the Atlantic trade winds and 73% of the earth’s known sedimentary Phosphate rock deposits (according to U.S. Geological Survey, Mineral Commodity Summaries, January 2017). Responsible through surface friction for the Atlantic currents -which pushed planktons toward the shallow North African shores some 70 to 40 million years ago- North Africa’s Phosphate rock deposit are phosphatized bone remains of large fish attracted in this plankton-rich biotope area. The Phosphate deposits are fossil footprints of the Atlantic trade winds whose consistency through various geological eras & climate cycles are therefore proven.

Using the Atlantic trade winds blowing over the Sahara coastline - as phosphates is a non-substitutable ingredient mainly used as fertilizer- an opportunity arises for de-carbonizing the fertilizer industry while improving food security. As Ammonia, the other fertilizer ingredient represents the main use of hydrogen in the economy; this facilitates a transition into a renewable hydrogen economy. The same approach can be used to process Mauritania’s using iron-ore deposits into carbon-free steels.



Developed Sahara Wind Project Concept Partnerships with National Electric Utility (ONE) associating ministries, institutions, research centers and governmental organizations leading to local Project Development with national and local/regional stakeholders in the Energy, Industry, Finance, Economy and Environment sectors. Founded the Sahara Wind Energy Development Company, (Sahara Wind Inc.) a dedicated structure aimed at developing the large scale Sahara Wind Project as a platform for an integrated development of the region’s trade wind resource for the production of electricity with the participation of Moroccan Ministries, research and development centers and the utility running the grid system.



Large Scale Project with Phased Deployment involving Integrated Applied Research and Development Support Activities with Region’s institution, end-user companies and academia on Capacity Building in the field of Wind Resource Assessment, On-grid, Off-grid integration of renewables (i.e. green campus concepts), advanced energy technologies using Carbon free Hydrogen technologies. Bilateral support of US institutions (State Department), France (CEA), Germany (Ministry of Economy and Energy North Rhine Westphalia State), Turkey (UNIDO-ICHET), Mauritania (University of Nouakchott with end-users) and Multilateral (NATO, UNIDO, IPHE, IEA, EU Research.)




Intermittent power generation using renewables, grid impact and high wind penetration rates in weak grids, integrated project phasing with High Voltage Direct Current High Capacity Transmission & Distribution technology networks (Alstom T&D, ISET Kassel eV Germany, RISOE Denmark…)



Coordination of Project development platform / Original concept developer

“PIMS#3292 UNDP/GEF Morocco: Sahara Wind Phase I/Tarfaya (400-500 MW) on–Grid Wind Electricity in a Liberalized Market” UNDP-GEF/World Bank PDF-B, GEF Secretariat Washington DC, February 3rd, 2005. Multilateral Project Development platform with World Bank, WB ESMAP, UNDP local & regional offices, UNDP-GEF, WB-GEF, AfDB, ONE, Ministry of Energy (Morocco), Integrated with Bilateral partnerships with France (MINEFI-DREE, FASEP) and US (USTDA).



International sensitization activities to promote Sahara Wind Project, Concept, Framework, Technical & Industrial Integration, Phasing, Economics & Financing. International organization support in attending major events, conferences, forums, workshops in the fields of Energy (Wind, Renewables and others), Policy, International Cooperation, Sustainable Development, Finance, Environment, Security and Research.



Direction des Domaines Agricoles

July 1992 - September 2001

Head of Innovation/

Applied Research

Casablanca, Morocco

Agricultural Operations of H.M. King of Morocco’s private estates


Consulted on my personal free-time allocation (off-duty travels + costs) with EU institutions the relevance of establishing a framework an appropriate project development initiative enabling large scale, integrated utilization of the Saharan Trade Wind resource (EU Commissions Energy, Trade, Development, EU Parliament members). Consolidated from 1997 a multi-stakeholder platform with support from Industry, Academia, Experts, Association, several EU Commission(s), and MEP at European Parliament to enable an integrated access & large-scale HVDC transfer of wind-electricity generated from the Atlantic Sahara trade wind region to supply North African & EU markets.


Equipped, selected and set up VHF/UHF communications systems for all farms belonging to the corporate structure (equipment, repeaters, antennas, dedicated frequencies with regulatory body etc.)


Serving as a base for investments, established water sustainability criteria’s and evaluated agricultural development projects based upon climate aridity and water potentialities. Designed water irrigation infrastructures within the group’s farm assets.


Coordinated expert missions on the use of virus agents against desert locusts with remote sensing techniques in desert areas with senior world renowned entomologists.


Initiated cooperation with knowledge centers in specialized in arid/scare water cultivation. Set up arid agriculture collection (with cactus, prickly pears, jojoba etc…).


Coordinated feasibility studies on using Biogas in electricity generation on Morocco’s largest dairy farm.


Assessed the use of halophyte plants cultivation (highly salt tolerant) multi stakeholder cooperation to make use of sea/brackish water over large desert coastal regions.


Developed cooperation possibilities with Saudi Arabian industrial partnerships to initiate development projects utilizing Saudi center-pivots industrial experiences in 1994 (model transposed elsewhere)


Assessed the Atlantic Sahara trade wind resource (1993) for local capacity built-up & applications


Conceived, installed and operated wind test site facility including developments & upgrades of Morocco’s first Wind/Diesel system with integrated off-grid high voltage distribution network, and surplus energy optimization through ice production (500.000 $US pilot project in the Sahara desert in 1994).


Coordinated Quality Management Programs of specific types of citrus throughout the Production-Conditioning-Export chain with the help of foreign consultants. Program included traceability, marketing strategy, human resource sensitization, training & management.


Supervised building and installation of a greenhouse irrigated farm in the Sahara desert exposed to steady winds regimes. Out of sustainability concerns on water from fossil aquifer sources, initiated field measurements of wind speeds to evaluate subsequent utilization of wind to desalinate sea water and generate electricity in distributed energy systems and applications.


Honours, Awards, Fellowships, Membership of Professional Societies

World Technology Award (Nominee 2009)

WWEA World Wind Energy Association, Treasurer & Board Member

AfriWEA African Wind Energy Association, Board of Directors

WCRE World Council for Renewable Energies, Member

EUROSOLAR, European Association for Renewable Energy, Member

AMISOLE, Association Marocaine des Industries Solaires et Éoliennes, Board Member

FENELEC, Fédération Nationale de l'Electricité et de l'Electronique, Member

SMADER, Société Marocaine de Développement des Energies Renouvelables, Vice-President

IAHE International Association for Hydrogen Energy, Advisory Board of Directors



Publications (most recent)


  1. “Implementing the Paris Agreement beyond Marrakech COP22: greening the world’s largest fertilizer industries” Paper to the proceedings of the International Conference On Materials & Energy ICOME-17 in Tianjin, China July 06-09, 2017

  2. “Gone with the wind: Upgrading North Africa's Phosphates into Carbon-free Fertilizers” Paper to the proceedings of the 16th World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC 2017), Malmö, Sweden June 12-14, 2017

  3. “Paving the way to large-scale wind: Morocco's pre-COP22 policies” Paper to proceedings of the 15th World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC 2016), Tokyo, Japan November 2016

  4. “Energy in Transition: The Sahara Wind Power Project”, Journal of Energy Security of the Institute for the Analysis of Global Security (IAGS), 01 May 2014

  5. “Scaling-up the Wind Industry: Building Integrated Wind-Energy Driven Economies” Paper to Proceeding of the 13th World Wind Energy Conference (WWEC 2014) Shanghai, China, 7-9 April 2014

  6. “Maximizing mineral resource outputs using North Africa’s Trade Winds: The Sahara Wind Project” Word Wind Energy Quarterly bulletin, April 2014

  7. “Supporting an Integrated Access to North Africa’s Trade Wind Resources: The Sahara Wind Project” Paper to Proc. of WWEC2013 - XII World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition, June 3-5 2013 Havana, Cuba.

  8. “Morocco: The Emergence of a Wind Power Country” chapter 29 of ‘Wind Power for the World: International Reviews and Developments (Volume 2)’ http://www.crcpress.com/product/isbn/9789814411899 

  9. “Connecting Wind and Water - The Sahara Wind Project”. pp 50-56 Winter 2012 edition of Revolve-Magazine, Jan 2012.

  10. “Sahara Wind Integrated Capacity Building for a Project of Strategic Importance” (Presentation) on-line Proc. RETEM 2012 Renewable Energies: Technologies and Efficient Management, Jan. 12-13, 2012, Al Akhawayn University Ifrane, Morocco

  11. “Sahara Wind Clean Hydrogen Water Purification System - Production of Drinking Water in Arid Regions using Renewable Energies” Paper to Proc. CD 5th International Conference on Water Resources Perspectives & The Environment, (IPWE2012) January 4-7, 2012, Marrakech, Morocco.

  12. “Sahara Wind: A Market-Based, Regionally Integrated Project of Strategic Importance” (Presentation) Long distance transmission solutions Panel – 2nd Desertec Industrial Initiative Dii conference, November 2-3 2011 Cairo, Egypt.

  13. “Integrating North Africa’s Trade Wind Resources into the Euro- Mediterranean zone: The Sahara Wind Project” Paper to Proc. CD  of 10th World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition (WWEC2011), October 31st-November 2nd 2011 Cairo, Egypt.

  14. “Applied Research and Development framework for the Sahara Wind Project :” (Presentation) Conférence Internationale sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Alternative Énergétique pour le Maroc 6 - 7 Juillet 2011, Casablanca Morocco.

  15. “Sahara Wind: A Regionally Integrated, Market-Based Project of Strategic Importance” Maghreb/Middle East Renewable Energy Conference 2011 Proc. CD Presentation 4-5 July 2011, Rabat, Morocco.

  16. “The Sahara Wind Project: A Regional Catalyst for Renewables”. Maghreb/Middle East Renewable Energy Conference 2010 Proc. CD Presentation 18th-19th October 2010, Marrakech, Morocco.

  17. “Regional Project Development Framework for the Sahara Wind Project.” Paper to Proc. CD  of 9th World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition (WWEC2010), June 14-17, 2010, Istanbul, Turkey.

  18. “Regional Hydrogen Roadmap - Project Development Framework for the Sahara Wind Project” Paper to Proc. World Hydrogen Energy Conference WHEC2010 on May 2010, Essen, Germany.

  19. “Energy Security in the Euro-Mediterranean context: The Sahara Wind Project” Africa /Middle East Renewable Energy Summit 2009, Proc. CD Presentation 12th-13th October 2009, Cairo – Egypt.

  20. “Renewable Energies to Provide Sustainable Development Perspectives for North Africa: The Sahara Wind Project.” p. 291-307 Published ©2010 Springer NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) Energy Options Impact on Regional Security Conference proceedings 17-20 June 2009 Split, Croatia.

  21. “Wind Energy Access for Remote Communities: A Regional Industry/Academia Technology Deployment Program” Proc. CD  of 8th World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition (WWEC2009), June 23-25, 2009, Jeju Island, South Korea.

  22. “NATO Science for Peace 982620 Sahara Trade Winds to Hydrogen: Applied Research for Sustainable energy systems” Follow-up meeting summary proceedings, February 12-13 2009, Al Akhawayn University of Ifrane, Morocco.

  23. “Sahara Trade Winds to Hydrogen: Towards the Development of Large Scale Integrated Sustainable Energy Systems“ Proc. CD 9th Steering Committee IPHE & 2nd Forum Hydrogen Technologies for Developing World, April 21-23 2008 Moscow, Russia.

  24. “Sahara Wind Demonstration Project” Proc. CD Presentation at United Nations Industrial Development Organization UNIDO General Conference Side Event. December 3-7 2007 Vienna, Austria.

  25. “NATO Science for Peace 982620 Sahara Trade Winds to Hydrogen: Applied Research for Sustainable energy systems” kick-off meeting summary proceedings, November 29-30 2007, Rabat, Morocco.

  26. “Wind Energy Technologies Integration a Catalyst for Regional Development” Proc. CD Africa/Middle East Renewable Energy Summit 2007, 20th – 21st November 2007, Cairo, Egypt.

  27. “Capacity Building and Wind Energy for Regional Development in North Africa” Proc. CD World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition – WWEC 2007, 2-4 October 2007, Mar del Plata, Argentina.

  28. “Wind Energy as Catalyst for Regional Development” Presentation to ITAIPU-Binacional Hydraulic Power Station Management, 27 September 2007, Foz de Igaçu, Brazil.

  29. “Wind-electrolysis a building block for renewable energy valorization in integrated sustainable energy systems” International Hydrogen Energy Congress and Exhibition - IHEC 2007. Proc. CD. 13-15 July, Istanbul, Turkey, 2007.

  30. “Building the Hydrogen Economy: Enabling Infrastructure Development Part II Sharing the European Vision” page 31-37 Discussion Leader Breakout Session 3 - Hydrogen Stationary applications - International Energy Agency / International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE) workshop II. Proc. IEA 10-12 July Paris, France 2007.

  31. “Capacity Building for Sustainable Energy Access in the Sahel/Sahara region Wind Energy as Catalyst for Regional Development” p. 241-249 Published ©2009 Springer NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) Modeling Sustainable Energy Consumption and Environmental Costing, July  4-7  Naples, Italy, 2007.

  32. “Integrating Wind Power in Africa: Case Studies of Morocco and Egypt, Africa’s Wind Pioneers” Proc. CD World Wind Energy Conference and Exhibition – WWEC 2006, 6-8 November, New Delhi India, 2006.

  33. “Hydrogen Energy: A Comprehensive Approach Integrating Energy Systems for Sustainable Development Complementary to Sahara Wind Energy Development Project -Phase 1” available at UN DESA / DSD webpage. International Seminar on the Hydrogen Economy for Sustainable Development / International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy IPHE- Steering committee 26-29 September Reykjavik, Iceland, 2006.

  34. “Hydrogen fuelling sustainability of energy systems, regional integration and development: the Sahara Wind Project” p.59-73 Published ©2007 Springer. NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) Assessment of Hydrogen Energy for Sustainable Development: Energy & Environmental Security, August 7-10th, Istanbul Turkey 2006

  35. Engineering Report on the “Perspectives of Wind-Hydrogen Energy Production in Morocco” United Nations Industrial Development Organization - International Centre for Hydrogen Energy technologies (UNIDO-ICHET), Istanbul, Turkey 2005.

  36. Project Development Facility Global Environment Fund “PIMS#3292 UNDP/GEF Morocco: Sahara Wind Phase I/Tarfaya (400-500 MW) on–Grid Wind Electricity in a Liberalized Market” Original Project Concept Developer UNDP-GEF/World Bank PDF-B, GEF Secretariat, February 3rd Washington DC, 2005.

  37. “Policies for the future: spreading awareness of wind opportunities (North Africa)” Proc. CD World Wind Energy Conference WWEC2003, November 23-26 Cape Town, South Africa 2003.

  38. “Sahara Wind - Large Scale Development of Wind Power for Export to Europe” Proc. CD Northern African Power Industry Convention NAPIC October 27-29 Casablanca, Morocco 2002.

  39. “The Sahara Wind Project, a wind power source for Europe” presentation at EU Parliament with Dr. Gregor Czish June 20 Brussels, Belgium 2002.

  40. “Sahara Wind-large scale development of wind power for export to Europe” Proc. Doc. USA-Africa Energy Ministerial Conference June 3-5 Casablanca, Morocco 2002.


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Hydrogen Energy Technologies
T. Nejat Veziroglu and Frano Barbir
30 $

UNIDO Emerging Technologies Series, UNIDO, Vienna, 1998.
21 cm X 30 cm, 122 pages, Paper Cover, Price $30.00.
Price $30.00 per copy (postage and handling included).
IAHE Members and Booksellers receive a discount of 30%

Only English version of this book is available for sale online. For other languages please contact local publishers. 


Hydrogen Energy Technologies
T. Nejat Veziroglu and Frano Barbir
30 $

UNIDO Emerging Technologies Series, UNIDO, Vienna, 1998.
21 cm X 30 cm, 122 pages, Paper Cover, Price $30.00.
Price $30.00 per copy (postage and handling included).
IAHE Members and Booksellers receive a discount of 30%

Only English version of this book is available for sale online. For other languages please contact local publishers. 

 
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