Saudi Aramco Licenses Solar Array Cleaning Tech to Local Firm

Saudi Aramco, a fully-integrated, global energy and chemicals enterprise, has entered into a technology licensing agreement with Nomadd Desert Solar Solutions, a locally-owned technology start-up, to commercialise its solar array cleaning technology.

Nomadd is funded by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and created to commercialise the No Water Mechanical Automated Dusting Device.

Under the agreement, Saudi Aramco will grant Nomadd the right to develop and manufacture solar array cleaning technology that was developed in-house by Saudi Aramco’s research and development team based at KAUST. The technology will integrate with Nomadd’s fully automated waterless solar cleaning system.

This is the first commercial licensing agreement between Saudi Aramco and a KAUST funded start-up company.

Nomadd will distribute solar cleaning technology in Saudi Arabia and the deal serves as an example of how a technology can be developed, commercialised, manufactured and sold creating local jobs and providing value to the kingdom, said a statement.

Saudi Aramco vice president of technology, oversight and coordination, Ahmad O Al-Khowaiter, said: “Commercialising of technology that positively impacts the kingdom is a great achievement and demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s commitment to a clean energy future.”

“Nomadd is excited to partner with Saudi Aramco, KAUST and other local institutions to bring this vision to fruition,” said Jos van der Hyden, founder and chief executive officer of Nomadd. “Nomadd is gaining strong commercial traction in the solar industry, winning several industry awards for technology and leadership in the field.”


Crystal Lagoons Unveils New ME Business Strategy

Crystal Lagoons, the multinational water innovation company, and developer of the “world’s top amenity”, has outlined the company’s expansion plans into new markets regionally and globally with a series of lagoons open to the public.

The new business model will consist of selling tickets to the public on a ‘pay per use’ basis with Crystal Lagoons receiving revenues as a percentage of ticket sales, said the top lagoon developer.

Research in the US has indicated the company’s current market share could double worldwide thanks to over 50,000 public parks, theme parks, public golf courses, malls, stadiums, university campus, zoos, social clubs, horse tracks and car tracks.

The idyllic concept of Public Access Lagoons, offering perfect beaches and accompanying scenery, will make them the must have 21st Century accompaniment to urban life, creating infinite business opportunities for Crystal Lagoons, it added.

Carlos Salas, the regional director, Middle East, Crystal Lagoons, said: "The business model for Public Access Lagoons is very simple, we generate a partnership with a developer and earn a percentage of the ticket income. Crystal Lagoons has already signed two projects in the US and one in Turkey."

"Although discussions are at an early stage in this region, we believe there are endless opportunities in the Middle East with a range of theme parks, water parks, safari parks, aquariums and zoos which could benefit from stunning beach fronts and azure waters Crystal Lagoons is renowned for," noted Salas.

The lagoons are low maintenance and have the advantage of being sympathetic to the local environment, using up to 100 times less chemicals than a traditional filtration system and 98% less energy required by conventional water treatment systems, creating a viable, sustainable solution, despite challenges such as water and energy supply.

They also use any kind of water including brackish from underground aquifers, eliminating the need to consume valuable fresh water resources.

According to Salas, the construction costs are also minimal, creating a viable and economic option for developing the lagoons.

"The lagoons will allow venues to dramatically increase attendance as well as ticket price by upgrading to new leisure standards. In the Middle East, we’ve already held talks with developers in Abu Dhabi, Oman and Bahrain and are hopeful our first Public Access Lagoon in the region will be signed soon," he stated.

Globally, under the Crystal Lagoons’ traditional business model, consisting of partnering with real estate developers to construct crystal clear lagoons, the company has amassed a portfolio of 600 projects in varying negotiation and development stages in 60 countries, underscoring the popularity of the technological advances the company has made to the global tourism and real estate markets.

In the Middle East, Crystal Lagoons is strengthening its hold on the region with the development of lagoons in projects worth a massive US$25 billion, revealed Salas.

In Egypt, the company is developing its very first mountain top lagoon in Il Monte Galala in Sokhna, Egypt. Crystal Lagoons is also developing its first lagoon in Jordan in the Al-Rama region of the country, just 30 minutes from the capital, Amman. Saudi Arabia is also set to announce its first lagoons in the coming month, he noted.

In Dubai, the company is working on the second phase of the lagoon at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One residential development being developed by Meydan Sobha, the joint venture between Meydan Group and Sobha Group.

Once completed, it will be the largest manmade lagoon in the world, measuring more than 36 hectares in size.

"The Middle East region is a key area of growth for us and has been one of our most successful and profitable regions when compared to other markets around the globe," he noted.

"We are looking to capitalize on this with the launch of the Public Access Lagoons model however we remain committed to benefiting the real estate and tourism markets to bring an idyllic beach lifestyle to anywhere in the world, at very low construction and maintenance costs," he added.


UAE's DP World Terminal in Egypt Welcomes 1st Baby Capesize Dry Cargo Vessel

DP World Sokhna, a marine terminal operated by DP World in Egypt, recently welcomed the first Baby Capesize dry cargo vessel Mini to the port. Hailing from Brazil and loaded with more than 111,000 metric tons of iron ore, the vessel has a length of 225 m and a breadth of 43 m, said a statement. DP World Sokhna head of operation Ahmed Hassan gifted a crystal plaque to the vessel's master captain Amarendra Patnaik. DP World Sokhna officials also held a ceremony to celebrate the event.

DP World Sokhna is part of the DP World's international network that currently encompasses 77 marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in 40 countries across six continents, making DP World one of the largest marine terminal operators in the world.

Located at the heart of the vitally important East-West trade route just below the southern entrance to the Suez Canal, DP World Sokhna is strategically located to handle cargo transiting through one of the world's busiest commercial waterways. As part of an international network, DP World Sokhna is committed to providing customers with outstanding services through an integrated port management approach, combined with leading-edge technology.

Ajay Singh, CEO of DP World Sokhna, said: “Bringing such large vessel to Egyptian ports provide economies of scale to shippers, resulting in substantial savings in terms of time and money for their shipments.”


Plan for Air Cargo Village Makes Headway in Oman

Feasibility studies aimed at establishing an ambitious Air Cargo Village at Muscat International Airport have commenced, according to the Implementation Support & Follow-Up Unit of Tanfeedh (The National Program for Enhancing Economic Diversification). The proposed Air Cargo Village — one of over 120 initiatives envisioned for implementation by Tanfeedh over the next several years — will position Oman as a regional hub for air cargo and air logistics services. Together with as many as 16 logistics-related investments and initiatives mooted by Tanfeedh, it will also help meet the government’s long-term aspirations to create a logistics-centric economy in the Sultanate.

‘Work is under way to prepare feasibility studies and a business model for the Cargo Village Project in Muscat International Airport,” Tanfeedh stated in a tweet. The Cargo Village project is envisioned as a hub for a wide array of investments and activities related to air freight storage and warehousing, freight handling and forwarding, customs and inspections services, shipping and repackaging, value enhancement, and distribution. In effect, the Air Cargo Village will be the first port of call for businesses, service providers and other stakeholders engaged in what is billed as a hugely promising economic sector. Also expected to play a prominent role in the project are the Ministry of Transport and Communications, Oman Airports Management Company, national carrier Oman Air, ASYAD Group, and other stakeholders.

At the heart of the proposed complex is an air cargo terminal for the import, export and re-export of freight, as well as postal shipping and transit centers. Furthermore, as a hub for air cargo logistics, the facility is expected to attract investment in cold rooms, general warehouses (bonded customs warehouses), public areas for cargo handling operations, and multi-functional zones, according to plans drawn up by Tanfeedh.

Importantly, multimodal connectivity will be key feature of the proposed Air Cargo Village project. “In order to promote multimodal transportation in cargo handling, the Village project requires the creation of multiple modes of transportation that operate round-the-clock to support shipping and packaging. Therefore, developing the infrastructure will require a linkage with communication and transport equipment, which will help provide telecommunications services, energy, and assistance tools. It will also help ease congestion by using the Inter-Modal Connections System,” Tanfeedh explained in an overview on the initiative. Tanfeedh has proposed a June 2019 target to bring the initial phases of the Air Cargo Village project into operation. The initiative is expected to bolster revenue growth from air cargo and logistics activities at Muscat International Airport by around RO 30 million (US$87.1 million) from 2020.


Muna Noor Inks Sponsorship Deal with Muscat Rugby Football Club

Oman-based Muna Noor, a leading plastic pipe manufacturer, has signed a sponsorship agreement with Muscat Rugby Football Club for the second year running.

As Platinum Sponsors, Muna Noor will once again adorn the Omani-influenced playing strips of the current Gulf Conference Champions (GCC), said a statement.

The agreement was signed between Muna Noor’s group general manager, Grant Phipps, and with the Muscat Rugby Club chairman, Freddie Sayers, along with the club’s player spokesman, Saleh Al Busaidi, it said.

Al Busaidi said: “We are very happy to have Muna Noor come on as Platinum Sponsors again this year as they are very supportive of what we are doing as a club and for sports in Oman in general.”

As this season’s exclusive Platinum Sponsor, Muna Noor will be featured on players’ kits and branding signage at matches played throughout the GCC region, as well as at some of the largest annual international rugby events, it added.

The sponsorship covers all the teams and programs which fits in well with the company’s community involvement strategy.

Phipps said: “We are pleased to renew its sponsorship of one of the sultanate’s oldest sporting clubs and we have high hopes for MRFC this season as they look to defend their Gulf Conference Champions title.”

“We are proud of our investment in the sporting community in Oman and look forward to a successful season ahead. Encouraging a diversity of sports and outdoor activities among Omanis and the community as a whole is an important part of the company’s strategy for a sustainable future,” he said.

Muscat Rugby Football Club (MRFC) was formed in 1971 under the patronage of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and has been playing consistently against GCC teams since then.

Last season the senior team once again won the Gulf Conference Championships playing against teams from the UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

MRFC also has a highly competitive veterans team that also saw success in GCC tournaments such as the Sharjah Tens, Bahrain Midnight Tens and Dubai Sevens. Rounding off the club’s playing strength are the hugely successful Pirates, the junior program that sees over 100 youth players between the ages of four and 18 learning, training and competing.


MAG Property Unveils Wellbeing Resort Project at Dubai Event

MAG Property Development (MAG PD), the real estate development arm of MAG Group, has announced the launch of its flagship MAG Creek Wellbeing Resort project at the ongoing Cityscape Global 2017.

The Dh2.2-billion (US$599 million) project reflects the company’s ability to achieve industry excellence and exceed its customers’ expectations in the freehold sector by introducing innovative and unprecedented and paradigm - changing real estate concepts, said the developer on the sidelines of the expo.

MAG Creek is a unique gated community spanning over 898,786 sq ft and covering 550 m of the Dubai Creek waterfront. The development is strategically situated adjacent to the Ras Al Khor Flamingo Wildlife Sanctuary and only 4.5 km away from the Burj Khalifa and Downtown Dubai.

MAG Creek includes a worldcare wellness centre that spans over 120,000 sq ft, making it the largest wellness centre in the world. It will offer health-conscientious residents and guests full access to a state-of-the art medical check-up clinic that guides, informs and supports healthy living choices.

The community also includes a luxurious 96-room worldcare wellness hotel that has been designed according to the highest global health standards, as well as a sports, fitness and leisure centre and a wide variety of restaurants, cafés and retail outlets.

Speaking at the launch, Talal Moafaq Al Gaddah, the chief executive of MAG PD, said: "Our MAG Creek project is the first residential district to combine the highest standards of health and luxury facilities, making it the only project-of-its-kind in the region."

"To ensure this idea is implemented with the height of precision, MAG PD has joined forces with the world's finest expertise after reaching a new partnership with Delos - a leading wellness real estate and technology consultancy," he added.

Al Gaddah pointed out that this project represented a new generation of resorts that combine health, luxury and retail with exceptional residential opportunities and hospitality services.

"This means that we will supply Dubai’s real estate market with a highly innovative project that preserves the health of its residents with the latest technologies - a new category of building for the region. This is especially true as the focus of the project is on health and comfort, combined with the finest practical design, which completely elevates in the health sector," he remarked.

In addition to the WorldCare Wellness Centre and Hotel, the project is home to 17 unique waterfront mansions overlooking Dubai Creek, 75 luxury apartments and 172 serviced wellness holiday homes that will all be fully furnished and available for freehold ownership, he added.

MAG PD leads a number of specially tailored projects that make innovation the high priority for MAG Group, supporting its strategy to be the leader and pioneer in the real estate development world.


GCC LED Lighting Market to Hike

The GCC LED lighting market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 16.8% from 2015 to 2020 to reach sales to the amount of US$1.97 billion, said a recent study.

The digital technologies have overtaken the more traditional print versions of late. Retailers, entertainment and leisure venues, corporate houses and other businesses are constantly monitoring their marketing and communication approaches to be conspicuous in such a crowded marketplace, said a statement, it said.

As a result, many organizations are taking maximum advantage of powerful signage as choice means of place-based mass communication. Digital signage can be a powerful tool for engaging customers for any business and LED is proving to be the preferred technology, it said.

The LED industry was worth US$45-US$47 billion in 2016 as per reports and represents around 50% of the total lighting industry, it added.

Abdul Rahman Falaknaz, chairman of International Expo Consults, said: “The digital signage industry is on a major upswing largely driven by the area’s growing retail, commercial, healthcare, F&B, tourism and infrastructure sectors.”

“The digital signage industry is mostly catered to by the LED technology and the demand for high definition picture quality complimented with attractive design is driving the demand for displays market,” he said.

While Northern America is the largest market for LED and South East Asia the fastest growing for the sector, the Middle East and North Africa region isn’t that far behind due to the huge infrastructure advancements which would correlate to acceleration in LED lighting developments.

According to Sunil Purushothaman, general manager, Masonlite, said: “LED’s have reached every nook and corner by cutting costs, saving power and being efficient.”

“The market is very attractive and promising as LED’s find great utility for both indoor and outdoor signs. Digital printing will have an impact as a result of this, however, this is being replaced by a vibrant, attractive, economic variant which requires less maintenance,” he said.

“Retail market, especially will find LED technology a boon for its promotional requirements,” he added.

Customers tend to be more attentive and inquisitive thereby improving their awareness, loyalty and satisfaction. Factors which lead to a higher average purchase, repeat business and overall sales figures. Digital signage doesn’t just have applications in sales but also for internal communications within the organization.

Additional requirements of pursuing lighting energy conservation, LED lighting will have more opportunities of replacing conventional lighting, it said.

The global digital signage market is expected to grow from US$19.61 billion in 2016 to US$32.84 billion by 2023, at a CAGR of 7.4%, said a statement.

Research shows that it can be up to four times as captive than static displays, thereby increasing the recall rate and the effectiveness of brand awareness campaigns, it stated.


Fisch Asset Management: GCC Issuances to Grow

New issues for the remainder of 2017 are set to remain high, with estimates in excess of US$20 billion, as a result of favourable market conditions, according to Fisch Asset Management, a global leader in convertible and corporate bond strategies. An encouraging landscape for new bond issuances in the GCC will likely see a USD sovereign deal between Saudi and Bahrain. UAE and Kuwait are very well positioned to take advantage of current conditions — resulting in new issues, provided there is a pull factor from investors.

Qatar will weather the storm and continue to grow in 2018 and 2019 — the current embargo makes things more difficult, but not impossible: it is likely to monetise some other assets, such as the stake in Credit Suisse and avoid unnecessary risks. Philipp Good, CEO of Fisch Asset Management commented: “The new issues season kicked off again on August 28 with roadshows and with the September 4 US holiday.

Very important to this season are some pre-funding of maturities of 2018 bonds, including: Mubadala (IPIC 2018 bond), Taqa, Aldar and Sabic. All those companies and more can benefit from great market conditions by pre-funding those maturities early. Further, there will be some Government related entities that will conduct some new issues — primarily debut issues. Those are characterised by Investment Grade ratings, who can benefit from cheap funding and extend their duration in the bond market.”

Saudi Banks will be patient since they have larger deposits domestically. Sovereign has established the curve in the Kingdom, but experience has shown that the banks don’t move fast. Further, Saudi Telecom could be a well-received corporate entity tapping the market this year. There are many contributing factors to the success of Q4 2017, including synchronised global growth and a low interest environment that is beneficial for emerging markets and political stability.


KSA & Belarus to Cooperate in Biotechnologies, Water Purification

Belarus plans to cooperate with Saudi Arabia in biotechnologies and water purification, according to First Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, Sergei Chizhik, who was speaking to BelTA, the Belarusian Telegraph Agency, ahead of talks with a delegation from Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Arabian delegation, led by the Education Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa, is visiting the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus to discuss the prospects of science and technology cooperation between organizations of the National Academy and Saudi Arabia.

Belarus will exhibit a range of R&D solutions in Riyadh, at an exhibition on 23rd and 24th October. "The exhibition will feature, among other things, the research projects that our scientists implemented jointly with Saudi Arabia. We will lay the groundwork for new projects as we want to extend the cooperation and to shift it towards biology, biotechnologies, water purification and computer technologies," Chizhik said.

The exhibition will feature about 200 recent developments from about 30 organizations under the umbrella of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Education Ministry, the Industry Ministry and other agencies in the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, KACST.

Developments in information and communications technologies, unique industrial technologies to produce new materials, medical goods and bio- and nanotechnologies will be demonstrated in the form of full-scale samples, multimedia presentations and information materials.

The joint Belarus-Saudi Academic Symposium, featuring leading scientists of the two countries and the heads of the KACST, will take place during the exhibition. The meetings are expected to result in new cooperation agreements and contracts.

According to Chizhik, Belarusian scientists have great experience in cooperation with Saudi Arabia. "We are actively working with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology. The numerous projects in material engineering, laser technologies system and computer technologies have been implemented. We will show the Saudi Arabian delegation our capacity and will discuss promising cooperation areas such as water treatment, use of satellite images to monitor territories, laser technologies including vision systems for bad weather conditions and agricultural technologies. Cooperation in education and the training of the highly qualified staff will be also on the agenda," he said.

The Saudi Arabian delegation led by the Education Minister Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Issa is visiting the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. The purpose of the visit is to discuss the prospects of science and technology cooperation between organizations of the National Academy of Sciences and Saudi Arabia. The guests visited the ongoing exhibition of achievements of national science and plan to hold talks with the heads of the academy.


Dubai Delegation in China Eyeing Closer Ties with Renewable Energy Firms

A high-level delegation from Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) recently visited China in bid to build closer ties with Chinese renewable and clean energy and smart services and smart grid companies.

The team led by the managing director and CEO Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer visited the headquarters of Hanergy Holding Group, one of the largest international companies in alternative and renewable energy, in Beijing.

The visit complements the co-operation between Dewa and Hanergy after the signing MoU between the two sides last May, said a statement from Dewa.

The two parties focused on renewable and clean energy and its development, and enhancing opportunities for joint investment.

Al Tayer also visited the Exhibition Hall and Exhibition Centre of the Hanergy Clean Energy Exhibition spread over a 7,000-sq-m area at the Beijing Olympic Park.

He discussed solar power technologies and applications, which included integrated photovoltaic panels and their distribution on the roofs of industrial and residential buildings, residential and mobile power systems, solar-powered vehicles, and various elements of the exhibition.

Al Tayer and the accompanying delegation later visited the Beijing R&D Centre, which is one of Huawei’s largest research institutes, that employs over 12,000 people. The center covers the latest pre-5G solutions, Cloud, Big Data, as well as vertical solutions for a smart and safe city.

"The visit is part of a joint venture with Huawei, which includes R&D projects to develop smart network infrastructures and various mechanisms and technologies, such as smart meters for electricity and water services, energy demand management, and self-recovery mechanisms from errors and disasters," he added.


Iranian Petchem Plant Transfers 1st MDI Cargo to China

Iran's Karoun Petrochemical Complex has transferred 320 tons of methylene diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) to China, the plant's first shipment to East Asian country, Karoun's managing director, Afshin Kiani said. Karoun Petrochemical Plant is Middle East's first producer of isocyanates.

Kiani said the plant launched its MDI unit in 2016 by relying on domestic capabilities after Swedish and Germany licensor abandoned the project out of fear of becoming subject to punishment by US for transacting with a sanctioned Iran. The company can now supply 40,000 tons/y of 9 grades of MDI and is now supplying polymeric and pure MDI on domestic and international markets. Iran consumes 20,000 tons of MDI annually which means the rest of the plants' output will be up for grabs for foreign consumers. - Shana


Saudi Aramco Licenses Tech for Creating No-Water Automated Dusting Tool

Saudi Aramco, a fully-integrated, global energy and chemicals enterprise and a world leader in exploration and production, refining and distribution, and the world’s top exporter of crude oil and natural gas liquids, has entered into a technology licensing agreement with NOMADD Desert Solar Solutions, a locally-owned technology start-up funded by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and created to commercialize the no water mechanical automated dusting device.

Under the agreement, Saudi Aramco will grant NOMADD the right to develop and manufacture solar array cleaning technology that was developed in-house by Saudi Aramco’s research and development team based at KAUST. The technology will integrate with NOMADD’s fully automated waterless solar cleaning system.

This is the first commercial licensing agreement between Saudi Aramco and a KAUST funded start-up company. NOMADD will distribute solar cleaning technology in Saudi Arabia and serves as an example of how a technology can be developed, commercialized, manufactured and sold creating local jobs and providing value to the Kingdom.

Vice President of Technology, Oversight and Coordination, Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, said “commercializing technology that positively impacts the Kingdom is a great achievement and demonstrates Saudi Aramco’s commitment to a clean energy future.”

“NOMADD is excited to partner with Saudi Aramco, KAUST and other local institutions to bring this vision to fruition,” said Jos van der Hyden, founder and chief executive officer of NOMADD. “NOMADD is gaining strong commercial traction in the solar industry, winning several industry awards for technology and leadership in the field.”


Iran Petchem Company in Alliance with IOCs on Technology Transfer

Iran's Petrochemical Research and Technology Company (NPC-RT) has teamed up with 8 foreign companies aiming at technology transfer to the country, NPC-RT managing director says. Esmaeil Ghanbari stated his company seeks innovation and development in the sector by establishing new ties with international companies.

Speaking to Mashal Monthly, Ghanbari said NPC-RT has recently inked 8 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and deals with foreign partners including chemical giants like BASF, Axens and IFP for cooperation on various petrochemical areas and projects.

He said the MOU with Axens and IFP concern licensing new technologies, production of items based on the latest technologies like catalysts, absorbents and additives, cooperation in designing processes, construction of catalysts and jointly developing and marketing technical savvy in petrochemical industry. - Shana