Top officials during the visit to Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa), welcomed Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri, the UAE Minister of State for Advanced Technology who headed a high-level delegation from the Ministry.
The two sides discussed strengthening bilateral co-operation to achieve the vision of the wise leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE; His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to promote the UAE’s transition towards a knowledge-based economy and consolidate its position as a hub for advanced sciences and technologies.
The meeting discussed ways to increase strategic collaboration. Dewa is building robust integrated strategic partnerships with local and federal bodies in addition to exchanging information and best practices and experiences. Dewa believes in the key role of partnerships in improving sustainable growth.
The meeting was attended by Salem Al Qubaisi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, and Ibrahim Al Qasim, Executive Director, Space Sector, the UAE Space Agency. Waleed Bin Salman, Executive Vice President of Business Development and Excellence at Dewa, was also present.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer and Sarah Bint Yousef Al Amiri toured the R&D Centre, which contributes to localising knowledge and expertise. The Centre’s research areas include solar power, smart grid integration, energy efficiency, and water. It also focuses on space technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution applications such as 3D printing and additive manufacturing. These are some of the innovative solutions being used to produce spare parts for Dewa’s generation, transmission, and distribution divisions.
The centre has various internal labs and outdoor labs to study the performance and reliability of photovoltaic solar panels. Key internal labs include the Electrical Characterisation Lab, the Mechanical Characterisation Lab, the Materials Characterisation Lab, the Solar Simulator Lab, and the Accelerated Aging Lab for solar panels. The outdoor labs include testing different solar panel technologies and performance, as well as the Robotic and Drone laboratory, which contributed to Dewa achieving a Guinness World Records title for the first 3D-printed lab in the world.
During the tour, Al Tayer highlighted Dewa’s Space Programme (Space D), which was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in January 2021. The programme supports the National Space Strategy 2030 that aims to realise the UAE’s vision in space sciences, technologies, applications and services.
Space-D aims to improve the operations, maintenance, and planning of Dewa’s networks with the support of nanosatellite, Internet of Things (IoT), and remote sensing technologies. The programme also aims to train Emirati professionals to use space technologies in electricity and water networks. It underlines Dubai’s leading role in taking advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies such as IoT, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and blockchain to exchange information with the help of satellite communications and earth observation technologies.
As part of Dewa’s Space-D programme, Dewa launched the Dewa-SAT 1 nanosatellite in collaboration with NanoAvionics in January 2022, becoming the first utility in the world to research and develop solutions using nanosatellite technology.
During the visit, the guests were also briefed on some projects developed by Dewa’s R&D Centre. These include a patented innovation to determine the optimal location of Concentrated Solar Power systems using a drone and an autonomous vehicle. This aims to raise the efficiency and effectiveness of these systems. Another system that was highlighted won two awards at Ideas America Awards to automatically scan photovoltaic panels using a drone and AI algorithms developed by the R&D’s researchers. Other innovations include a portable, low-cost, high-accuracy geotagging system using GNSS-RTK technology that also won an Ideas America award, and an innovation to measure the diffuse reflection of solar radiation out of the total solar radiation received on surface using an in-house developed autonomous rover.
The visit also included the Green Hydrogen project, which Dewa implemented. The pilot project is the first of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa to produce eco-friendly hydrogen using solar power. Green hydrogen is a promising and environmentally friendly source of energy. It is usually produced by water electrolysis using renewable energy. Green hydrogen represents one of the pillars of a sustainable future that depends on accelerating the transition to carbon neutrality and reduce carbon emissions from various industries.