Masdar to work on technology with Koreans

Masdar, Abu Dhabi's clean-energy firm, will seek collaboration with South Korean companies and research institutes.

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Masdar, Abu Dhabi's clean-energy firm, will seek collaboration with South Korean companies and research institutes as the emirate hired a Korean consortium to build four nuclear power stations in a US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) deal. The collaboration effort follows the agreement between the Abu Dhabi Government investment company Mubadala and the South Korean ministry of knowledge economy to promote joint projects between Masdar and Korean renewable energy and sustainable technology companies.

The pact will increase the likelihood of Korean technology being used in Masdar City, the emirate's carbon-neutral city, encourage joint investments in solar, wind and other renewable energy projects and lead to collaborative research involving Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Korean research centres. The Masdar chief executive Sultan al Jaber said South Korea had "well established" research programmes and "leading companies" in renewable energy and technology.

Dr al Jaber said the Korean government, which in February announced plans to set up a $72.2 million renewable energy fund, had a "strong commitment" to developing the sector. "We look forward to tapping into these strengths and forming strategic partnerships with academic, research, business and investment institutions from South Korea and to seeing Korean entities become an integral part of the research and innovation that takes place in Masdar City," he said.

Choi Kyung-hwan, the South Korean minister of knowledge economy, praised Masdar as "a unique initiative" with a "significant role" in promoting renewable energy. "I am very pleased that Korean companies will have the opportunity to contribute to Masdar's innovation base and become active players in Masdar City," he said. Marwan Khraisheh, the dean of engineering at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, said the agreement would help add names to the "growing list" of outside organisations collaborating with the institute. Current partners include the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

"[Collaboration] is one of our strategic initiatives to fast-track the development of the institute and to build a world-class university," Dr Khraisheh said. Jim Mienczakowski, the head of higher education at Abu Dhabi Education Council, said, "Any research development and linkages of this kind are going to be a great asset in adding to the existing momentum in building research capability." South Korea's government announced this year a five-fold increase in investment in renewable energy technology by the nine state-owned energy companies. The country wants to increase the share of its energy production from renewable sources from 1.0 per cent to 1.7 per cent by 2011.

The Korean renewable energy fund aims to encourage private sector investment in hydroelectric, solar and wind power plants and technology.