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New Technology-led Solutions Vital for Sustainability and Water Security

Dubai Science Park (DSP), a holistic science-focused business community, hosted the ninth Green Leadership Series under the theme ‘Charging the future: Disruptors and enablers of Dubai’s Green Economy’. The sessions primarily discussed the vital role of renewable energy and water resource management in meeting Dubai’s sustainable development goals while also managing the growing demand for natural resources.

Whilst the UAE remains one of the most arid nations on earth, its water consumption levels are disproportionately high. Current water demand stands at 550 litres per capita per day, which is more than 10 times the allowance for a person in cities such as Cape Town, and more than double the international average. Meeting those demands requires water desalination plants, which offer an effective, yet energy-intensive solution.

As part of this priority, Dubai’s Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, the largest single-site solar project of its kind, supports the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 that aims to transform the city into an international hub for clean energy. The solar park is expected to provide seven per cent of Dubai’s total power output by 2020, 25 per cent by 2030, and 75 per cent by 2050 – and also comprises a solar powered desalination plant with a production capacity of 11,000 gallons of clean water a day.

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, Executive Director of Dubai Science Park, and Chairing Member of the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Equipment Taskforce of the Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030, said: “Large-scale projects such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park offer a great starting point for meeting the growing energy and water demands of Dubai’s residents. The government has embarked on several forward-looking initiatives to find alternative ways of covering current demands and to reduce the emirate’s ecological footprint.

“The Green Leadership Summit provides an important platform to discuss the viability of such innovative technologies that support the sustainability of Dubai’s economy and water security through the consultation and knowledge-exchange of leading industry experts from the government, academia and business.”

Moderated by Dr Mari Luomi, Senior Research Fellow at the Emirates Diplomatic Academy, the event featured two thought-provoking panel discussions on the drivers of Dubai’s green economy and water-related issues with industry experts.

The panelists included Dr Pablo Izquierdo, PMO Director at the Dubai Carbon Centre of Excellence, Fazil Abdul Rahiman, Assistant Manager, Climate Change and Sustainability Services at EY MENA, Dr Raed Bkayrat, Managing Director of the Clean Energy Business Council and Senior Advisor of Apricum, the cleantech advisory, Sougata Nandi, Founder and CEO of 3e Advisory, Dr Corrado Sommariva, Managing Director of ILF Consulting Engineers Middle East, Dr Alejandro Rios Galvan, Director of the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium and Professor of Practice at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Dr Fatin Samara, Associate Professor of Environmental Sciences at the American University of Sharjah.

The first panel discussion, entitled What Drives the Future of Dubai’s Green Economy, outlined various aspects of a green economy, and how Dubai can maintain its leadership role in the region from a sustainability perspective through solutions such as imbuing education with a focus on sustainability and ethics, as well as the introduction of tariffs. The panelists also discussed the likelihood of a regional carbon market, which allows for the trading of carbon emission allowances to encourage or help countries and companies limit their carbon dioxide emissions.

A second panel discussion, Water Management: Disrupting Technologies for Increased Efficiencies, stressed the need for moving towards a circular economy in which resources are stored and used as needed, then recovered and regenerated at the end of their service life. In addition, panelists discussed the need for research and development to utilise saltwater as a useful resource across multiple industries.

Launched in 2013, the Green Leadership Series was originally established by the founding members of the Dubai Green Economy Partnership with the goal to promote Dubai’s green economy, and engage with forward-thinking stakeholders in both the public and private sector in order to embrace the emirate’s pioneering sustainability model.


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