11 MAR 2021

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week releases the first of three white papers capturing the key takeaways of the 2021 ADSW Summit

Today Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has released the first of a three part white paper series, which will capture the key takeaways from the 2021 ADSW Summit. 

The ADSW Summit, the flagship event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, featured more than 90 global leaders from around the world and ran over three sessions focusing on the pillars of “Live & Move,” “Care & Engage,” and “Work & Invest,” with each pillar exploring social, economic and technological opportunities for delivering a green recovery.

Each white paper will feature insights and quotes from global leaders across government, business and industry. To watch sessions from the ADSW Summit, please visit the ADSW YouTube channel 

The "Live & Move" white paper examines how societies need to adapt to mitigate global challenges from climate change and the opportunities for delivering a green recovery post-COVID-19.

Download the white paper here.

17 DEC 2016

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2017 targets new technologies in meeting

Abu Dhabi, UAE, December 17, 2016 – Ground water scarcity exacerbated by increased water demand due to population growth and the effects of climate change – droughts, higher temperatures – is a critical sustainability challenge for many regions of the world. The Middle East & North Africa (MENA) is no exception.

As the gap between water demand and availability in the Arabian Gulf widens, the pressure on desalination technologies to meet water consumption needs inevitably grows.

At the next Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW), taking place from January 12-21, Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar will present technical data from an innovative pilot programme that could pave the way for the commercial adoption of seawater desalination powered by clean energy.

The programme, which last month completed one year of operations, was announced at the inaugural International Water Summit (IWS) – one of the co-located exhibitions at ADSW – in January 2013.

It started with four small-scale desalination plants testing innovative energy-efficient desalination technologies; a fifth was launched in October this year, run by the French engineering company Mascara.

“The Mascara project uses reverse osmosis technology and is a showcase of an off-grid solution,” said Dr Alexander Ritschel, Head of Applications Development at Masdar’s Clean Energy division. “It can be operated independently, off-grid; it’s a 100% photovoltaics-powered desalination system. It also works without batteries and chemicals, so it’s a solution for remote locations.”

Mascara’s new plant produces 30 cubic metres of desalinated seawater per day, bringing the combined daily output of all five pilot plants in Ghantoot, Abu Dhabi to 1,500 cubic metres. The other partners in the programme are Abengoa, Suez, Sidem (Veolia) and Trevi Systems.

Altogether, four companies are evaluating reverse osmosis technology, while the fifth is researching forward osmosis. Reverse osmosis is a more energy efficient alternative to the thermal technology currently used for large-scale seawater desalination across the Arabian Gulf.

Forward osmosis is still an emerging technology but could be a viable long-term solution for hard-to-treat water sources such as highly saline water (including certain groundwater sources in the UAE or the brine stream ejected by desalination plants) or water containing significant amounts of organic matter.

“The results of our pilot programme after one year are very encouraging; performance in terms of reliability has been very high,” added Dr Ritschel. “The programme is preparing the ground for the transition expected to take place over the next decade from integrated water-and-power-generation plants to standalone, membrane-based desalination facilities powered only by electricity.”

With many conventional desalination installations nearing the end of their operational life over the next few years, and with potable water consumption in MENA expected to increase from 42 cubic kilometres per year in 2012 today to 200 cubic kilometres by 2050, the opportunities to deploy more energy-efficient alternatives, commercially and at scale, are increasingly coming under the spotlight.

The technologies being tested in Masdar’s Renewable Energy Desalination Programme are up to 40%-less energy intensive than thermal seawater desalination, according to Dr Ritschel.

The practical steps needed to advance clean-energy desalination will be a key topic at the next International Water Summit in January, which will focus on the needs of the MENA region. Other issues on the conference agenda include water project financing, waste water strategies and recycling, smart infrastructure, and water in the urban environment.

In parallel with adopting more sustainable methods to produce drinking water, the UAE is rolling out initiatives to reduce water demand. Unveiled at IWS two years ago, the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi is implementing a “water budget” aimed at the more responsible management of the emirates’ finite water resources.

The “budget” is based on a combination of strategies including reducing waste, increasing the efficiency of irrigation technologies and methods (forestry, agriculture and landscaping alone consume more than 80% of Abu Dhabi’s water supply) and reducing utility subsidies for residential consumers.

“Abu Dhabi’s daily rate of domestic water consumption is about 563 litres per capita, still the highest in the world, and domestic water demand will more than double by 2030,” said Dr Mohammed Abdel Hamyd Dawoud, EAD Advisor for Water Resources, Environment Quality Sector. “The new tariff structure that has been introduced is helping to reduce this rate.”

“EAD is working with TRANSCO [Abu Dhabi Transmission & Despatch Company] in the Liwa strategic water reserve project [a five-billion-gallon aquifer made up of injected desalinated water], which will be completed this month,” added Dr Dawoud, who will address a panel on energy-efficient desalination in the Middle East at IWS 2017.

Today, Abu Dhabi’s available fresh groundwater resources stand at barely 0.5%, and water access is becoming increasingly stretched for around a quarter of the world’s population.

According to a World Bank report, the average person in the MENA region has only 1,000 cubic metres of fresh water available per year, compared with the global average of 7,000 cubic metres.

Concerns over water scarcity and the sustainability challenges associated with conventional seawater desalination methods are motivating greater collaboration to find workable, commercially viable solutions.

Abu Dhabi’s renewable energy company Masdar was a co-founder of the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance (GCWDA) at COP21 in Paris along with the French government and the International Desalination Association. Today, the Alliance has 141 members from dozens of countries.

At the COP22 international climate conference in Morocco last month, the GCWDA signed the Marrakech Declaration of Global Alliances for Water and Climate (GAWC) stipulating cooperation in three strategic areas: stakeholder mobilisation to secure a place for water in climate summits, negotiations and financial mechanisms; the exchange of lessons learned and existing best practices; and the identification and support for new actions.

Marking the one-year anniversary of the Alliance, His Excellency Michel Miraillet, the Ambassador of France to the UAE, said: “The Alliance is a benchmark for effective international cooperation, offering a multilateral platform for both government and the private sector to work together on policy and technical innovation.”

The Alliance will host its next board meeting at ADSW 2017.

27 APR 2021

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week releases “Care & Engage", the second in the series of three white papers capturing the key takeaways of the 2021 ADSW Summit

Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week has released the second in the series of three white papers, which capture the key takeaways from the 2021 ADSW Summit.

Each white paper will feature insights and quotes from global leaders across government, business and industry. To watch sessions from the ADSW Summit, please visit the ADSW YouTube channel.

The "Care & Engage" white paper examines how the measures put in place around the world to tackle the spread of Covid-19 have resulted in short-term benefits to the environment. Care & Engage goes on to highlight the technological solutions and political frameworks that will need to be adopted over the next decade to mitigate the challenges relating to climate change.


Download the white paper from here.

15 JAN 2016

World Future Energy Summit Launches Future Cities Forum for Global Insights on Middle East’s Urbanization

Delivering global insights and best practices for Middle East cities to sustainably manage their long-term urbanization, the World Future Energy Summit announced today the launch of the new Future Cities Forum.

The Future Cities Forum, on Wednesday, 20 January 2016, will be held on the theme of “Shaping the Urban Future Together: Creating Sustainable and Resource Efficient Communities”. Attendees can hear from leading global government experts on best practices in managing complex, long-term urban challenges and the latest innovations across energy, water, transport, urban planning, and mitigating climate change.

Sixty six percent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54 percent in 2014, according to the United Nations. To meet the challenges of urbanization, governments around the world are using advanced technology to develop Smart Cities, with Frost and Sullivan predicting a USD1.56 trillion marketplace by 2020. The Middle East and North Africa hosts among the world's most ambitious smart city plans, including Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, Qatar’s Lusail City, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s four Economic Cities, and Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca. Thanks to smart buildings, a pedestrian-focused layout and technology cluster, Masdar City consumes 40 percent less energy and water than built-up areas of a comparable size.

Masdar City recently inaugurated a solar power storage system with Energy Nest, and signed an agreement with Chinese real estate firm Vanke on a research and development project. “Masdar City is a ‘green-print’ for sustainable urban design – and what we will focus on at the Future Cities Forum is the need for global cities to integrate both environmentally friendly policies and commercial opportunities to drive sustainable development,” said Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City.

Smart Dubai is working with the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union to develop the world’s first smart city key performance indicators, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to generate 75 percent of power from clean energy over the next 35 years. “Dubai is undergoing a seismic shift in developing and encouraging smart city solutions – and at the Future Cities Forum we will focus on the power of public private partnerships, government innovation, and data-based analytics for smart buildings, transportation, and utilities that will support Dubai as a leading global smart city,” said Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office.

Atkins, the international design, engineering and project management consultancy, will share best practices from supporting the future-proofing of cities in the GCC, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. “With the population of the MENA region expected to double by 2050, at the Future Cities Forum we’ll be sharing our expertise which is helping to maximize the value of our clients’ built assets by ensuring they’re holistically planned, sustainable, resilient and appropriate for the long term, taking careful consideration of the drivers for change across the region, and how the resulting opportunities can be harnessed and risks can be mitigated,” said Simon Moon, chief executive officer, Middle East of Atkins.

“The tools and insights which are accessible to us today mean we’re able to develop a much better understanding of how buildings, infrastructure and their environment really do interact and perform, and to make well informed decisions to support their lifecycle – it’s essential that we apply this knowledge today for the benefit of our future urban and social environments,” added Simon Moon.

Many Smart Cities across the region are diversifying their energy mix to include renewables, especially solar power. “An approach to Smart Cities involves many aspects that will result in more sustainable urban living. From water and energy conservation to better use of public transport, more efficient air conditioning solutions and renewable energy generation are all part of a holistic plan to optimize the use of resources,” said Roberto De Diego Arozamena, CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services, which will be one of the key sponsors of the World Future Energy Summit 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.

“A good example of such a plan is the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which includes the intention to have solar energy in every rooftop in Dubai by 2030,” added Roberto De Diego Arozamena.

Global consulting, design and program management firm C2HM, a WFES sponsor, will showcase its vision for smart, sustainable cities and infrastructure, and share best practices from its recent delivery experiences in the Middle East, India, and Europe. “At CH2M, our vision for future cities is based on creating vibrant, accessible, financially sound communities that attract business and provide a rich social fabric and environment where people want to live and work. As the competition between global cities increases, the need for talent, investment and resources will become critical,” said Neil Reynolds, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, MENA and India.

“More than ever, cities will need to focus on enhancing their economics, as well as the environment and the quality of life they can offer. Smart infrastructure is the key – whether transportation, water, energy or waste – and CH2M has the smart city solution that can help,” added Neil Reynolds.

The Future Cities Forum will also host the Habitat III Sustainable Energy Thematic Meeting, determining the policy agenda for the United Nations New Urban Agenda. Hosted by Masdar, The World Future Energy Summit 2016 is held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 18-21 January 2016, co-located with International Water Summit and EcoWASTE.