The YFEL annual calendar of activities is carefully designed, enabling members to widen their knowle...

A team of Emirati YFELs is developing a program to bring clean-energy rice-husk gasifiers to farms and ranches around the UAE with initial support from the YFEL. Their project is titled, “Moving Toward a Sustainable Environment: Replacing Diesel-based Generators with Eco-friendly Rice-Husk Gasifiers.”

After being inspired by a visit to rural India, where remote villages were generating electricity through clean, inexpensive rice-husk gasification, rather than diesel-powered generators, the team realized the technology was applicable to rural areas of the UAE as well. That’s because diesel generators also are the primary source of electricity for off-grid agricultural operations in the UAE.

The seven Emirati “green” entrepreneurs – Mohamed Al-Sharhan, Abdulla Al Shamsi, Iman Ustadi, Ameirah Aldahmani, Jasem Al Hammadi, Walid Shakari, and Sultan AlAwadhi – selected the Awafi area of Ras Al Khaimah for the first-phase. This region, which is home to ranches, Ghaf trees and mild weather in winter, will witness the first small-scale pilot project. If the technology and system prove successful, the team will establish a company to install rice-husk gasifier systems in farms and ranches across the UAE.

Out of the Box and Off the Grid

A group of 10 YFELs have proposed an exciting off-grid solar power project designed to bring electricity to healthcare facilities in remote areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. Conceived in response to the keynote speech by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the 2012 World Future Energy Summit, the project looks to implement a system that would provide a continuous, reliable and sustainable supply of energy to an entire hospital. The proposal envisions three power-generating options, including a self-contained PV system, a hybrid system combining PV combined with other available renewable energy, such as biomass, wind, etc., or a hybrid system using PV combined with a fossil-fuel engine generator.

The ten YFELs include two Masdar Institute graduate students, one undergraduate and one recent university graduate from other UAE-based universities, five young professionals working in local companies and one young professional from Sweden.

Muna Al Amoodi, the projects leader and a Senior Environment Officer at Dubai Aluminum (DUBAL), said, "Through this project, team members will be able to implement the principles of advanced energy and sustainability that they have learned about and put them into practice." She adds that team members also will learn about business challenges particularly concerning renewable-energy projects in developing countries as a result of their exposure and interaction with professionals that they consult to support the project.

The YFEL participants also will be able to improve their skills in project management and entrepreneurship to run business models successfully. The local participants will also get exposed to these new ideas and their interaction with young professionals and the supporters will help them learn and maintain the business model successfully. The project also aims to share knowledge and skills with the local community, whose members will be educated about the system and how to maintain it.

Ultimately, one or two hospitals will be identified for the rooftop solar project, and while the focus for this year is hospital facilities, in future years, schools and households could be considered.

The current project will consist of two phases: phase 1 includes a feasibility study addressing technical and economic issues regarding the proposed sites and the possible system designs. The second phase will involve the purchase, installation, commissioning and handover of the project, as well as maintenance and operational training, performance observations and a final project presentation