Masdar encourages solar power and wind energy

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, has entered into collaborative research agreements with several major companies and global organizations, affirming its status as an institution that remains consistently focused on research.

In the last few months alone, the number of collaborative research agreements has steadily increased. The most recent deals include collaborations with Emirates Aluminium Company (EMAL), Masdar PV GmbH, Siemens Energy Systems, Toyota Motor Corporation as well as an agreement and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

These agreements are in addition to the number of competitively awarded research projects during 2011 that touched 110, covering areas such as water, environment and health, future energy systems, microsystems and advanced materials, as well as other related fields. These projects are directly relevant to the long-term economic objectives of Abu Dhabi and the UAE.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: "Such diverse sponsored research agreements and competitively awarded projects reflect the expertise available with Masdar Institute for conducting research in highly specialized areas of advanced energy and sustainable technologies. It is our sincere endeavor to offer support to industries that seek to implement clean technologies while welcoming those organizations that are keen to collaborate with us in our human development efforts. We thank the UAE’s wise leadership for supporting us in building an academic institution with multidisciplinary capabilities." Along with the master research agreement, the contract with EMAL covers four research projects. They include �Efficient cooling for shut down pot in aluminum smelters’, �Exploring activation water treatment to limit the growth of green algae and other pathogens that promote their growth’, �Onsite assessments of a reverberotary aluminum smelting furnaces’, and �Voltage drop study across the anode-rod connection’. The objective of these projects is to minimize environmental impact while increasing production efficiency.

A strategic master research partnership agreement with Masdar PV GmbH, leading German-based manufacturer of photovoltaic filmson silicon thin film photovoltaic technologies, covers three research projects. They include transparent conductive oxide (TCO) glass layer optimization, photovoltaic device simulation and light management optimization.

The agreement with Siemens Energy Systems covers solar energy technology research and development to enhance the use of PV panels in the Middle East region. Testing activities focusing on investigating the properties of solar panel coatings are also covered under this deal.

As part of an expertise sharing initiative, Masdar Institute signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with IRENA to support the development of a publicly-accessible atlas of solar and wind resources in addition to hosting the atlas database at its campus. The agreement ensures cooperation between the two organizations for exchange of information; joint implementation of project activities, analyses and research studies; as well as defining technical compatibility and methodological harmonization and data transparency protocols for solar and wind data.

Another agreement with IRENA involves Masdar Institute’s mandate that aims to contribute to developing a knowledge-based economy through capacity building and human development. As part of this, IRENA will award up to 20 scholarships to promote talented academics for students across the eight Master’s programs offered at Masdar Institute.

The Masdar Institute-Toyota Scholarship Program is the result of a landmark negotiation with Toyota Motor Corporation that aims to facilitate research on the advancement of low-carbon emission vehicle technologies. Toyota, winner of the Zayed Future Energy Prize in 2010, is using the US$1.5 million prize to fund the scholarship program for 10 students. One student will be selected for each academic year and the scholarship includes a two-week trip to Japan. The annual scholarships will be offered to highly-qualified graduate students from around the world to work on projects in the area of technologies for sustainable development. Ayoola Brimmo, a student in the Mechanical Engineering Program, is the inaugural winner of this Masdar Institute-Toyota Scholarship for the year.

Dr Steve Griffiths, Executive Director of Institute Initiatives, Masdar Institute, said: "Faculty drive research at Masdar Institute, guiding students and research staff in core areas of advanced energy and sustainable technologies. Over the year, the faculty and students have consistently demonstrated their scientific and technical acumen as evidenced by the number of published papers in top scientific journals and at international conferences. Our research projects will bring economic and environmental benefits as the research outputs begin to get commercialized." A key characteristic of Masdar Institute’s research strategy is its focus on complex real-world problems that require a multidisciplinary approach that is based on an integrated technology, systems and policy perspective. Masdar Institute is focused on the integration of teaching and research and constantly seeks new ways to connect the learning that takes place in the classroom and laboratories to the world that the students will enter upon graduation.