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Masdar Institute’s UAE National Students Seek to Create Sustainability-Oriented Future

Over 90 Students to Receive Master’s Degrees in Masdar Institute’s Third Commencement Ceremony for 2013 Class on Wednesday



Abu Dhabi-UAE: 11 June, 2013 – From tackling challenges to the country’s most strategic areas to increasing the sustainable development benefits acquired from clean development mechanism (CDM) projects and developing additional sources for electricity – the UAE national students at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology continue to plan for a future world in which sustainability will be the watchword.



Over the past two years, these Emirati students were getting adequately equipped to face a world plagued with climate change and energy-related challenges. These graduating students totalling more than 90 will receive their Master’s degrees at the commencement ceremony on Wednesday 12 June. The students form the building blocks of a future community that Masdar Institute is developing as part of its mandate to position Abu Dhabi as a knowledge hub and engine for socioeconomic growth.



Aaesha Alnuaimi, a Microsystems Engineering student, focused her research on improving the efficiency of crystalline silicon hetero-junction thin film solar cells. Her research outcome has relevance to Abu Dhabi while contributing to Masdar’s mission. She has realized the need for developing additional sources of electricity that meet the future demand projections and ensure the continued rapid development of the UAE economy.



Alnuaimi says: “From my research, I have gained key insights into understanding solar cells fabrication processes where I have developed and fabricated thin film crystalline silicon solar cells.” The outcome of her research is published through several papers in academic journals and conferences such as Journal of Applied Physics, IEEE PVSC conference and IEEE PV journal.



She adds: “Recycling and turning off lights when they are not needed, conserving water, and using stairs instead of elevators are a few things that I have learned from living in Masdar Institute. They have now become part of my daily life.”



Acknowledging the contribution of her academic advisor Dr. Ammar Nayfeh, she says: “I have become more motivated to contribute to the field of photovoltaic and gain knowledge that will allow me to address challenges and find the best solutions in solar energy.”



Sultan Al Awadhi, a student in Engineering System Management, aims to create a database with 600 registered CDM projects and score those projects in terms of their sustainable development contribution. He believes the outcome of his research will give recommendation to developing countries to attract more CDM projects. Al Awadhi’s research is relevant because it covers Abu Dhabi’s three registered CDM projects.



A flexibility mechanism under the Kyoto protocol, CDM allows emission-reduction projects in developing countries to earn certified emission reduction (CER) credits, each equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These CERs can be traded and sold, and used by industrialized countries to a meet a part of their emission reduction targets under the Kyoto protocol.



According to Al Awadhi, sustainability is not only a science but a way of living. He says: “I have changed into a ‘sustainability ambassador’ within my family and friends after joining Masdar Institute. It has taught me ways to influence my community and to spread the “green knowledge” and I am glad now my influence has reached many people trough social networking platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.”



Another student’s research outcome is expected to help decision-makers in Abu Dhabi choose the best expansion plans to secure water supply in emergencies.



Wael Al Maeeni, is an Engineering Systems and Management student, whose research focuses on the Strategic Water Reserve in Abu Dhabi.



Al Maeeni says: “I did an economic analysis on the optimal development plan. The Strategic Water Reserve will secure water supply for the whole population of Abu Dhabi in case there was an emergency, such as a major breakdown in desalination plants. The study will determine the lifespan of the current capacity of the strategic reserve, in proportion to the current population growth and economic development for formulating the optimal capacity build-up plan.”



That Masdar Institute has inculcated the spirit of ‘sustainable development’ among the students can be apparent through Al Maeeni. He adds: “The way the Institute was engineered and the transportation used in Masdar City taught me that sustainable development depends on my own decisions. Now I would like to own an electric vehicle that will have zero carbon emission, but can be charged using rooftop solar panels installed on my house. I have already started using recycling bins instead of trash cans.”



Al Maeeni participated in the 22nd international INCOSE symposium held from in July 2012 in Rome, to facilitate the opening of the UAE Chapter of International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and eventually establish its student’s division at Masdar Institute.



He concludes: “Masdar Institute is a highly advanced learning environment with people working around the clock on their research for that rewarding moment.”



Sultan Al Kaabi, a student in Electrical Power Engineering, feels inspired by the research environment at the campus. He says: “This experience motivates me to do further research on renewable energy and contribute to the sustainable development of my country. Of course, the unique and sustainable building architecture of the campus, new labs, PRT system and other special features have provided me with many life-time experiences.”

Al Kaabi’s thesis titled “Distributed Generation Planning and Optimization for Active Distribution Networks” aims to contribute to sustainable development and renewable energy deployment in the UAE. One of his research papers on an effective technique developed in this thesis for the planning and optimization of distributed generation (DG) has been submitted to the IEEE Transaction in Power Systems, one of the top journals in the electrical engineering field, under the area of planning active distribution networks. Another paper targeting the planning of Photovoltaic (PV) power system with smart inverter control will be submitted shortly, he adds.



He is grateful to his academic advisors, the instructors of the Sustainable Energy course and members of the RDS group for his achievements in his thesis. He says: “The project’s outcomes were helpful in establishing my basic understanding of power system planning besides enriching my thesis with useful input on tackling technical challenges of renewable energy integration.”



“Memorable,” says Marwan R. Al Nuaimi, also from the Engineering System Management program about his two years at the campus. His research focused on desalination.



Al Nuaimi adds: “Based on my analysis, the best strategy to satisfy the expected water shortfall is to add six nuclear Sea Water Reserve Osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants, each with 100 MGD capacity. Each will be added as the following schedule – January 2017, January 2019, January 2021, January 2024, January 2026 and January 2028. From my calculations, the net present value cost over the analysis life span is US$2.12 billion.”



Academically, he feels the knowledge gained at Masdar institute will give him the privilege to offer a great value to the society. He adds: “I have become more familiar with the sustainable development knowledge and this enables me to address the sustainable issues from the engineering point of view, rather than a normal person.”



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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