Members Gain Fresh Insights into New Industry Trends and Innovative Products at EFEF 2011 Cleantech Exhibition
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 29 November, 2011 – Access to global energy leaders, exposure to new technological trends and products, together with opportunities for mentoring and knowledge-sharing provide the most effective avenues for overall development of youth, affirm members of Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL), an outreach program by Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
YFEL is part of the ‘Future Energy’ series of events and a key element of the annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES). The program that develops tomorrow’s leaders in the fields of advanced energy and sustainability aims to educate, inspire and position students and young professionals to become future leaders capable of solving the world’s most pressing challenges in advanced energy and sustainability.
The October 2011 trip to Geneva for the European Future Energy Forum marked one such crucial moment in the YFEL program. For the 14-member YFEL team that attended the forum in Geneva, it was an occasion to listen to and witness some of the most interesting ‘IdeaStorm’ sessions that showcased interesting new clean technology trends and products.
It was the cleantech exhibition EFEF 2011 that offered a glimpse into a whole array of clean technology products. A battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car from Tesla Motors, a special device by Clever Grid (Schweiz) GmbH that uses solar and wind energy to charge electric cars as well as any other equipment, high-vacuum flat solar thermal panels by Swiss firm TVP Solar, and bioMobile – a bio-fueled car that goes a long distance on very little biodiesel were only some of the products that found favor with the YFEL members.
Zainab Al Ali, Senior Outreach Officer and Coordinator of YFEL, Masdar Institute said: “The YFEL program sponsors members to various global forums for networking with industry leaders. Such visits help familiarize the youth with new trends and innovations in clean technology that offer business potential. The EFEF 2011 was one such occasion where such technologies were demonstrated in an environment for YFEL members to gauge and assess the new trends. Being an international forum, it also served as a source of inspiration for the youth to network with today’s energy leaders and innovators.”
YFEL member Asiya Al Ali has a strong interest in environment and energy. A graduate student in Environmental Health at Zayed University a young professional form Abu Dhabi Gas Liquefaction Company Ltd (ADGAS), Asiya said: “I was particularly amazed by the long-term thinking and the clear vision of the speakers. One speaker stated that the technology he is working on is not/or might not be useful now, but will bring benefits in future. This statement moved me, and left a lasting impact.”
Asiya also found the presentation by France-based 3D-Oxides highly engaging. The company works in partnership with ABCD Technology S.A., which commercializes Chemical Beam Epitaxy systems adapted to 3D-Oxides requirements. The presentation highlighted the importance of material science in sustainable development and the technology that can be used in traditional markets such as semiconductors, and micro electrons, as well as in newly emerging areas such as bio-photonics optronics, meta-materials, catalysis and fuel cells.
Osama Bu Shalat, a Mechatronics Bachelor’s student in Dubai Men’s College, was fascinated by the session titled ‘Discover the cutting edge on Photovoltaic’.
He said: “EFEF helped me share ideas and statistics of the past, understand future energy industry’s current status, forthcoming plans and expectations for the years ahead. But most of all, being an YFEL member was truly an enriching experience and I have benefited a lot in terms of knowledge, experience and meeting energy gurus.”
Although majoring in Humanities and Social Sciences with concentration in International Affairs, Cica Al Attas felt motivated by the session on the ‘Future of Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) – Central Tower Receiver with Molten Salt – the Gemasolar Plant’ in Spain. The plant commissioned by Torresol Energy – Masdar’s 40:60 joint venture with Spanish firm SENER – was officially inaugurated in October and can store energy for up to 15 hours even when there is no sunlight.
Al Attas said: “In order to achieve any dream to make our world a better place, including expanding the clean tech and renewable energy business, each of us must have a clear view of our strengths and weaknesses. Any kind of business investment requires a great deal of patience. In the renewable and clean tech energy industries, the government and private sectors must work hand in hand for the sake of the future generations.”
It was the ‘revolutionary’ Solar Impulse plane that captivated Ahmed Al Hashimi a young professional form Dubai Aluminium Company (DUBAL). Al Hashimi, holder of Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Environmental Science with focus on Environmental Biology, admired Dr. Bertrand Piccard, project initiator and chairman of the innovative Solar Impulse plane. The YFEL members viewed the plane at a hangar facility in Payerne near Geneva, where they were also briefed by Solar Impulse officials on its innovative features that make the aircraft fly solely on solar energy.
Muna A. Al Amoodi is enrolled for ‘Master of Science: Excellence in Environmental Management’ program with Hamdan bin Mohammed e-University. She finds Dr Bertrand Piccard well ahead of the times, but insists his own determination and support from a talented team as well as the government facilitated his success.
Rahman Olusegun Oloritun, a Masdar Institute student, however, expects to see more application for the bioMobile, a bio fueled car that goes a long distance on very little biodiesel. BioMobile is a prototype energy-efficient vehicle intended for entry in international competitions, such as the Shell Eco-Marathon, in which the aim is to cover the maximum number of kilometers with one liter of fuel.
Some of the new products displayed at the cleantech exhibition were so novel that they have profoundly inspired some creative young minds.
With his strong interest in engineering, business, and policy, Jared Dunnmon a graduate summa cum laude (‘with highest honor’) from Duke University in the US and currently studying at Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship, intends to model a good deal of his Ph.D. research off some of the work displayed in Geneva.
Dunnmon said: “One of the greatest examples that blends innovation and sustainability was the work of Dharik Mallapragada, a graduate research assistant in Chemical Engineering at Purdue University, US, who has spent the last several years working to find innovative, energy-efficient ways to form renewable liquid fuels from ambient carbonaceous atoms. Not only would such a technology enable significantly higher fuel production than is currently available from fossil fuels, but would contribute to progress towards a sustainable future.”
Dharik Mallapragada’s IdeaStorm session was engaging for Rana Qudaih, a Chemical and Mechanical Engineer, currently employed with DUCAB.
The Tesla Electric Roadster, a battery electric vehicle (BEV) sports car produced by Tesla Motors in California, US, attracted many YFEL members. For Dunnmon it was incredibly interesting not just from a technological standpoint, but from an economic one as well. He added: “It is perhaps more telling that the company plans to use the money from its first round of vehicles to finance a second line of electric cars that should be around half the price of the first one. By adhering to this kind of business model, Tesla very well may end up introducing the electric car to a wide user base. To me, that is incredibly exciting.”
The most appealing of all the sessions for Talal Al Hajeri, a Foundation Program student at Masdar Institute student, was the presentation on Guardian Angels – a set of nano-chips that monitor human activity and keep them alert of their conditions.
Jerry Stokes, President, Suntech Europe, and an energy industry leader, was one of the most appealing to several YFEL members. “I liked Stokes’ positive perspectives on renewable energy companies which he described as not unlike any other business that need to use the appropriate strategies, including branding, to succeed,” Rahman added.
All YFEL members believe that the program has helped them immensely and will continue to pave way for them to become future energy leaders.
Ismaeel Al Abdooli, a young professional from DP World, concurred and said: “The mentoring program was well-organized and dedicated to ensure YFEL members obtain the knowledge and experience required to be future ambassadors of renewable energy in their respective countries.”
Asbjorg Kristinsdottir is a doctoral researcher at MIT focused on risk and decision making for new power plant development projects. Looking ahead he says, “Programs such as the Young Professionals in Energy (YPE) Group and the Emerging Leaders in Environmental and Energy Policy (ELEEP) Network are some examples that YFEL can emulate. But I was able to use the whole range of the conference (EFEF 2011) through setting up a few meetings with professionals representing different areas of interest to my research work. I was able to conduct fruitful meetings during the half an hour allocated, collecting key information.”
Most of the YFEL members are looking forward to their schedule for the upcoming programs especially the next edition of World Future Energy Summit that will be held from 16-19 January, 2012 in Abu Dhabi.
As an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technology, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology continues to initiate programs that nurture the youth and prepared them to meet the challenges of tomorrow, especially in the energy sector.