Qassim UniversityHow Qassim University is supporting Saudi Arabia’s environmental and economic goals

How Qassim University is supporting Saudi Arabia’s environmental and economic goals

Research on renewable energy systems could have a transformative impact both for the Arabian Gulf and internationally

Decarbonisation may be a global trend but it is taking on additional significance in the oil-rich states of the Arabian Gulf. In Saudi Arabia, for example, higher education institutions like Qassim University are pioneering research that supports the development of new energy systems and renewable technologies that will both support green projects and the economic diversification at the centre of the government’s Saudi Vision 2030 plan. 

“I specialise in mechanical and energy engineering research,” says Ali Alsagri, associate professor at Qassim University’s College of Engineering. “I work on cutting-edge research around energy systems and renewables. I have a well-established history of receiving research and development grants and have had research articles published in a number of scientific journals.”

Recent evidence of Alsagri’s published research includes articles on solar combined technology innovation in the industrial sector, the optimisation of compressed air energy storage, and photovoltaic thermal technologies. But research will not change the world by itself. That’s why Alsagri has ensured that real-world impact is always the end goal when he begins any project.

“The real-world impact we aim for is to significantly reduce carbon emissions by helping the transition to a clean energy mix, enhancing energy security and driving economic diversification,” Alsagri explains. “This aligns with the goals of Saudi Vision 2030, which has set ambitious targets to reform the economy by reducing our dependence on oil and advancing renewable energy technology. This not only means that we support global efforts to combat climate change but also create entirely new industries and job opportunities that empower sustainable development for future generations.”

Due to the international nature of the climate crisis, Alsagri’s work does not take place in isolation. On the contrary, collaboration plays an important role with regard to the work being undertaken by him and his team. “Collaboration is essential to the success of our research,” Alsagri notes. “We work closely with various academic institutions to advance scientific research and with industry partners for new technological deployments. We also partner extensively with the government’s Ministry of Energy, which is essential to the shaping of energy policy and the provision of regulatory support.” 

Alsagri’s research also sees him engage with many international entities based outside of Saudi Arabia, including institutions in Europe such as the Technical University of Denmark, which is renowned for its research into ways of converting power from renewable energy sources into liquid fuels. This cross-collaboration with international peers ensures that Qassim University remains abreast of cutting-edge developments around the world.

“We have already learned to scale up many successful projects to a national level,” Alsagri continues. “Looking forward, we aim to continue scaling our research, integrating renewable energy sources into the grid in Saudi Arabia and enhancing energy storage technologies. The latter ambition is particularly important given the intermittency of renewables. We also aim to support the development of smart grid technology and embark on a new green hydrogen programme. All of these proposals, we believe, will help position Saudi Arabia as a leader in the global energy transition and as an exporter of not just fossil fuels, but renewable energy and its related technologies.”

Find out more about Qassim University.

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