Members of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program participated in a two-day course in electrochemical engineering focusing on ‘Batteries and Fuel Cells’ that was organized at the Masdar Institute campus.
The course, led by Dr. Saif AlMheiri, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, was held from 20-21 July. It aimed to increase the awareness of YFEL members on contemporary issues and research opportunities in the sustainability related issue of energy storage. The course also seeks to highlight the contribution of YFEL in the area of energy storage, for the UAE’s sustainable energy future.
With an introduction to electrochemical engineering, the course sessions covered thermodynamics, kinetics and characterization methods of fuel cells, as well as the definition and principles, technology and characteristics of batteries. In addition to a hands-on tutorial on fuel cells, a dedicated session on mobile and grid-scale energy storage was also part of the course.
Dr. Lamya N. Fawwaz, Vice-President for Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs, Masdar Institute, said: “The two-day course was part of our endeavor to equip YFEL members with technical expertise in sustainable energy-related areas. Energy storage plays a key role in the advancement of clean and sustainable energy, and as future energy industry leaders, the YFEL members will require in-depth knowledge of the challenges and opportunities in these sectors. We believe this course will help train them to become leaders and innovators in energy.”
According to independent research and advisory firm Lux Research, the global energy storage market could reach US$50 billion by 2020 driven by demand in consumer electronics, transportation and stationary storage. The two-day course will educate YFEL members in this fast-expanding industry.
YFEL member Abrar Mohamed, a Civil and Transportation Engineer working with Abu Dhabi Ports Company, believes the course was her starting point to be creative and come up with unique solutions to overcome challenges experienced by most of the construction projects.
Abrar Mohamed said: “This course highlighted electro-chemical energy, and the different types of batteries we can use as hybrid storage devices rather than only batteries. One of the things that came to my mind was how we can change our current infrastructure for solar use and the necessary retro-fitting Abu Dhabi Ports can do to change the electricity that is produced by conventional methods to become more eco-friendly. I am going to do the necessary case studies about the batteries for forklifts or other machinery onsite as well as explore the elements required for changing the grid system.”
YFEL member Muna AbduKabeer, an aircraft maintenance engineer at Etihad Airways, believes that the course has helped her increase knowledge in various electrochemical energy storage and conversion technologies, including cell construction, operation and materials selection.
AbduKabeer said: “I am working with a company that contributes to Abu Dhabi’s Vision 2030, by which time I believe most of the aircraft will be working with fuel cells using more electronics, than fuel itself, thereby bringing in new technology for future generation of aircraft. This course has provided me the ability to examine electrochemical thermodynamics, mass transport and reaction kinetics, and evaluate the performance of devices via electrochemical methods. I believe my company could start looking into the use of fuel cell in the aircraft if a Masdar Institute team could support me to submit an interesting proposal.”
With the completion of the course, YFEL members will now be able to distinguish between the various energy storage and conversion technologies such as cell construction, operation and materials selection. They have also come to understand the concepts related to electrochemical thermodynamics, mass transport and reaction kinetics. Additionally, the course has enabled them to become competent in evaluating the performance of electrochemical devices both quantitatively and qualitatively, while assessing challenges in the electrochemical energy storage and conversion area.
25 July 2016