The 8th edition of World Future Energy Summit (WFES) which took place here from Monday to Thursday saw the launch of several multinational initiatives regarding renewable energy and waste management production.
The capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a major oil supplier, hopes to pioneer the promotion of solar and wind power, along with biothermal energy.
Accordingly, Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Etihad Airways announced it would partner up with the Unites States aircraft producer Boeing to produce alternative, sustainable fuels whose production supports food production and fresh water conservation, reports Xinhua.
Etihad and Boeing will fund a pilot project to construct the world’s first bioenergy enterprise which utilizes seawater-irrigated desert land in harvesting both food and bioenergy.
The facilities will be based in Masda city, the so-called zero-carbon city, near Abu Dhabi, and is expected to be operational by late summer.
Meanwhile, American electronics giant General Electric (GE) declared it would join the sustainable bioenergy research consortium in Masdar, supporting bioenergy development.
The Gulf state’s oil and gas sector accounted for 15 percent of the country’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2013, according to the UAE Ministry of Energy.
In order to display that solar energy can power a round-world flight, Switzerland’s solar aircraft initiative Solar Impulse, led by Swiss pilots and green activists Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, revealed the route they will take with the completely solar-powered aircraft, the privately funded Solar impulse 2 (Si2) in the first planned round-world trip.
Si2 will take off from Abu Dhabi at the end of February or early March and fly around the globe with stops in India, China, the U.S., Europe and North Africa, before heading back to Abu Dhabi in July.
Masdar supports the project by providing Si2 with logistical support. “We hope to update our research in solar energy use through supporting Solar Impulse and to attract further solar firms to Masdar,” said Sultan Al-Jabar, the UAE Minister of State.
In addition, Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi announced at the WFES opening ceremony on Monday that his government will slash fuel subsidies and other commodities within five years to encourage the development of alternative energies. “Egypt would like to invite investors to assist our country in doubling solar power energy,” Sisi said.
Water shortage in desert countries such as the UAE was also on the agenda of this year’s WFES.
According to research firm Frost and Sullivan, the fast-growing market for water and waste-water treatment equipment in the six Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, UAE and Oman is currently estimated to be 2.2 billion U.S. dollars. It is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 10.6 percent to reach 4 billion dollars by 2020.
Swiss-Swedish company ABB said it has won a 28-million-dollar contract to supply an electrical balance-of-plant (BoP) solution for a new independent water and power manufacturing project in the UAE.
The 1.5-billion-dollar Mirfa project is designed to increase power and water capacity in Abu Dhabi and various sheikhdoms in the UAE.
However, recycling waste-water and desalination of sea water won’t meet the requirements of the fast growing Arab world population. The UAE’s Meteorology and Seismology National Center announced its investment in research of rain production in desert countries with over 90 percent year-round sunshine.
The 2015 WFES also attracted newcomers. China Clean Energy exhibited for the first time at the summit, which featured a total of 900 exhibitors and 32,000 professional visitors.