Strata, Mubadala Investment Company’s aerospace unit, has signed a partnership agreement with two Germany-based advanced technology companies to develop the world's most energy-efficient residential air-conditioning system in the UAE.
Strata, AI-based engineering platform Hyperganic and industrial 3D printing company EOS will the produce the AC system that is set to be 10 times more efficient than the standard alternatives available on the market, companies said on Monday.
The move is in line with the UAE’s strategy to further develop its industrial sector through the adoption of advanced technology and create manufacturing champions in the Arab world’s second-largest economy.
Strata chief executive Ismail Abdulla, Hyperganic founder and chief executive Lin Kayser and EOS senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa Markus Glasser, signed the agreement at an event in Abu Dhabi.
The signing ceremony was also attended by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), and Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Future Technology.
Under the agreement, Strata will combine Hyperganic's algorithmic engineering with the industrial metal 3D printing process pioneered by EOS to produce the most efficient heat exchange system for domestic air conditioning that will be “highly coveted in global markets”.
The three companies plan to showcase project updates at the Cop28, which is set to be hosted by the UAE in 2023. The partners plan to move the project, currently at proof of concept stage, to the feasibility study and working prototype stage by the time Cop28 takes place, company officials said.
“The [MoIAT] aims to develop a national industrial ecosystem able to create the kind of partnerships that develop and manufacture innovative local products,” Dr Al Jaber said.
“This exciting new technology is an ideal example of innovation driving sustainable development and creating a positive economic impact.
“The partnership between Hyperganic, EOS and Strata demonstrates how the UAE’s manufacturing sector can develop and launch home-grown products that are globally competitive and cater to demand in domestic and international markets.”
The development of competitive and marketable products in the UAE is under the auspices of an ecosystem of “enablers, incentives and unique advantages” that are hastening the growth of the UAE’s industrial sector and are delivering a “positive impact on the national economy”, Dr Al Jaber said.
Mubadala is playing a key role in reinforcing the UAE’s energy and sustainability strategy and the partnership between Strata, Hyperganic and EOS "is testament to the strength of a 'Made in the Emirates’ brand, through Strata’s emphasis on embracing digital transformation", Musabbeh Al Kaabi, chief executive of UAE Investments at Mubadala Investment Company, said.
"Our collaboration with Hyperganic and EOS is in line with Strata’s new strategy to expand its business beyond the aerospace sector," he said.
The growing use of air conditioners in homes and offices around the world will be one of the top drivers of global electricity demand over the next three decades, according to the International Energy Agency.
The Paris-based agency projects that energy demand for air conditioning will triple by 2050, underscoring the need for systems that use less power to reduce the environmental impact.
The global stock of air conditioners in buildings will grow to 5.6 billion by 2050, up from 1.6 billion units in 2018, which amounts to 10 new ACs sold every second over the next 30 years, according to IEA estimates.
The partnership is in line with the UAE’s “Operation 300bn” industrial strategy, which was unveiled last year to boost sustainable development and position the country as a global industrial centre by 2031.
The 10-year comprehensive road map focuses on increasing the industrial sector's contribution to the country's gross domestic product to Dh300 billion ($81.7bn) by 2031, from the current Dh133 billion.
The strategy focuses on boosting production in 11 priority sectors, supporting the growth of national industries, attracting foreign investment, modernising legislation and ensuring availability of dedicated financing for local industrial companies.
With this project Strata is moving into the "business of making air conditioning more efficiently", Mr Abdulla told The National on the sidelines of the signing ceremony. "Our intention is to produce produced these heat exchangers and sell them worldwide to air conditioning companies. Our play is technology innovation and technology development and deployment."
The partnership is a "real leap for Strata", which is investing in Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and building new avenues for industry.
"We will start licencing the technology to companies worldwide and then we own the IP [intellectual property] and that's the most important thing that the IP will be created from the UAE and will be owned by the three companies," Mr Abdulla said.
In March, Strata, whose core focus remains on the aerospace sector, announced plans to expand its advanced manufacturing capabilities to include more industrial segments as part of its new long-term strategy.
The company plans to focus on opportunities in a range of high-tech sectors such as biopharmaceuticals, digitisation, automation, AI and the manufacturing of advanced materials, it said at the time.
Strata pivoted to health care in May 2020 when it began to produce N95 masks in partnership with Honeywell after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, as part of the government’s push to promote local healthcare manufacturing.
Ms Al Amiri said the partnership represented a “a great addition to the UAE’s industrial ecosystem” and reaffirmed MoIAT's role in promoting collaboration, especially in the industrial sector, between UAE companies and innovative global companies that are developing advanced technology and Fourth Industrial Revolution solutions.
Hyperganic, which has offices in Germany and Singapore, said on Monday that it will open its engineering office in the UAE next month.
It plans to grow the size of the team to 20 engineers by the end of 2023.
Mr Kayser said the UAE was a place “where the best talent works and the country's vision for the future is uniquely clear in today's world”.
However, it will take hard work all the way until the project is realised, he said.
"I think we have our work cut out for this one for the next two years or so ... [to] have it really available at full scale," Mr Kayser said.
"I think it doesn't get more game-changing than that. So if we are successful, and we hope to be, then this will change the entire market for air conditioning systems," Mr Mr Kayser told The National.
Sustainability, according to EOS, cannot succeed without deeply integrating engineering and manufacturing.
Mr Glasser said his company would work closely with its UAE partners to significantly advance state-of-the-art technology.
"We believe we can make an impact and we really want [it ] on [a] big scale, not only in the UAE ... [and] there are many countries that we want to roll this out [in]," said.