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Masdar Institute Research Assistant Wins ESIA’s ‘Solar Entrepreneur of the Year’ award

Alaeddine Mokri is Youngest and Only Student to Receive Award

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 20 November, 2012 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced one of its research assistants has won the ‘Solar Entrepreneur of the Year’ award presented by  Emirates Solar Industry Association (ESIA).

Alaeddine Mokri, a Research Assistant at Masdar Institute, won the award for his pioneering research on designing novel solar power systems and the best ways to overcome challenges in operating and implementing solar power projects in the UAE. The award was presented to Mokri by Vahid Fotuhi, President, ESIA, at a gala ceremony in Dubai recently.

The Masdar Institute research assistant also earned the distinction of being the youngest and only student among all nominees. In addition, his nomination, the only one from an academic institution against other nominations that came from the industry, was based on the set of findings generated from several studies.

Nominees for the ‘Solar Entrepreneur of the Year’ need to be entrepreneurs involved in startups. However, Mokri was selected because his research adequately highlights the business opportunities in this sector, offering special insights to investors and entrepreneurs about the challenges of installing, operating and financing solar power systems in the UAE.

The ESIA Solar Awards aim to recognize outstanding achievements by local businesses, government entities and individuals. The achievements and nominations are selected after feedback from more than 1,000 members of ESIA. The awards acknowledge outstanding contributions towards the development of solar energy in the UAE.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “We congratulate Alaeddine Mokri on winning the ESIA’s Solar Entrepreneur of the Year award. Such industry recognitions highlight the extent of advanced research that is being undertaken at Masdar Institute. In general, students at our campus spend most part of their time on research, underlining the importance given to obtaining innovative solutions in clean energy. We thank the country’s leadership for their support that continues to keep Masdar Institute in the forefront of research and development in the renewables sector.”

Mokri’s research at Masdar Institute focuses on developing new methods for harvesting the power of the sun, and his contributions include: conducting detailed quantitative analysis of the solar-energy resource, studying the importance of solar energy to power generation, benefits for desalination and transportation sectors, tracking the status of solar-energy projects and initiatives in the UAE, and designing several solar power systems.

Dr Mahieddine Emziane, Associate Professor – Materials Science and Engineering, and Mokri’s academic advisor, said: “The relevance of Alaeddine Mokri’s research to the industry has brought him the recognition from ESIA. Most of the research findings and related outcome could be conveniently deployed for implementing various solar power projects. We congratulate Mokri for his outstanding achievement that has brought honor to Masdar Institute. We wish him more success in all his future research endeavors.”

Alaeddine Mokri said: “It is a privilege to be recognized by people from the industry. The ESIA award testifies that our research findings are recognized at the industry level, and are being analyzed for use. Being successful in conveying a message to the industry is actually the best award a researcher can ever get. I am delighted that the industry does recognize the importance of our research and we will be motivated even more to work on delivering additional results to assist the growth of the solar industry in the UAE. The award also accords more credibility to the solar energy research being conducted at Masdar Institute.”

Earlier this year, ESIA awarded Alaeddine Mokri the Honorary Membership along with nine top industry executives in the UAE. The membership was given in recognition of his research findings on the current status of solar energy in the UAE, his contributions to the team that developed the UAE’s first solar installations map that tracks all solar installations in the country, the technologies most suitable for deployment in the UAE and for designing novel systems which can operate efficiently in areas with climate conditions similar to the UAE.

The UAE currently has 20MW of solar energy capacity, which is expected to grow to 140MW by the end of next year. Global investment in renewable energy projects (excluding hydro) is expected to rise from US$195 billion in 2010 to US$395 billion in 2020 and to US$460 billion by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis. Over the next 20 years, this growth will require nearly US$7 trillion of new capital, it says and adds that annual investment in solar power assets will go up from US$86 billion in 2010 to US$150 billion in 2020. It may remain constant at US$150 billion a year between 2020 and 2030, the report points out.

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.
 

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