Masdar to lead Gulf in clean energy network

Masdar Institute has been chosen to lead the Gulf region in establishing a clean energy research network for collaboration with the European Union.

ABU DHABI // The Masdar Institute has been chosen to lead the Gulf region in establishing a clean-energy research network for collaboration with the European Union.

The EU-GCC Clean Energy Network, financially backed by the European Commission, has chosen Masdar over other institutions in the region that had expressed interest in the role, including the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Sultan Qaboos University in Oman.

The National Technical University of Athens will be Masdar's counterpart in Europe.

The network is meant to encourage collaboration on projects related to energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage, smart-grid systems and market integration.

"This gives us the legitimacy to co-ordinate research and activities related to clean energy, in the UAE and in the region," said Dr Scott Kennedy, the dean of research at Masdar.

"This puts Abu Dhabi on the map as a gateway to joint projects and a leader in the clean energy domain."

While officials are still defining the role Masdar will play once the network is established, the institute will work closely with other universities, research institutions and experts in the private sector related to clean energy, Dr Kennedy said.

It will facilitate publication of articles in scientific journals, co-ordinate joint demonstrations and pilot projects and provide better dialogue and collaboration on research and policy in energy and technology.

The Gulf Research Centre in Dubai is currently the point of contact in the region for the project, and will continue to be involved in building a network, said Oskar Ziemelis, the director of the science and technology research programme.

"This will be an important network that brings together stakeholders from a broad variety of fields: academic, commercial, decision makers, and so on," he said.

"This is a pan-Gulf initiative, and a good way to make the region a focal point in renewable energy capabilities."

The announcement follows great efforts by Masdar, less than two years old, to establish a reputation as a leader in clean energy.

It hosted the World Future Energy Summit this year and has been chosen to house the headquarters for the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena).

"This is a big deal in that it shows recognition of Masdar and Abu Dhabi's status, achieved regionally and I believe globally in a short time," said Dr Marwan Khraisheh, Masdar's dean of engineering.

"This will provide a platform of collaboration that addresses a very serious and global issue. This cannot be handled by one institute from one country."