Walk through our exhibition of scientific demos showcasing KAUST’s efforts toward Sustainability: Science for the Future.
The demos are located on level 3 in building 19 and will be open to view between 10am-12pm on a daily basis throughout the week. Tuesday is focused explicitly on KAUST community visitors.
All Scientific demos are aligned with KAUST’s thrusts in Water, Environment, Energy, Food & Health and the Digital Domain.
Freshwater is a primary necessity for the livelihood, health, and development of human society. In Saudi Arabia, 60% of the country’s water comes from desalination. To better secure and manage the Kingdom’s water resources KAUST researchers are exploring new approaches for greener water desalination, sustainable wastewater reuse, and efficient management of water resources through the development of smart decentralized wastewater treatment, emerging sensors and remote sensing tools.
As energy demands increase with its growing population, Saudi Arabia aims, as part of Vision 2030, to transition the Kingdom’s energy mix by displacing liquid fuel for energy generation in favor of natural gas, Hydrogen and renewable energy sources. KAUST researchers are developing technologies for this, including next-generation solar cells suited to hot climates with efficiencies greater than 28%. In addition, KAUST is working to address the four R’s (Reduce, Remove, Reuse and Recycle) of carbon management in a circular carbon economy. Reduce activities include more energy-efficient air conditioning, displays and lighting. Carbon capture and storage are essential under Remove, to tackle the impacts of current and increasing atmospheric CO2 levels; KAUST researchers are working specifically on novel materials and processes for direct air and point emission source CO2 capture. Storage via geo-based solutions, including basaltic rock enabled carbonate forming chemistry is another key strand. The conversion of renewable energy to formic acid, and the development of catalysts that can turn CO2 into a useful platform chemical for fuels, such as methanol and syngas, can provide a blueprint for the gas station of the future. CO2 is also being used in combination with green hydrogen to produce e-fuels for sustainable mobility, thereby redefining CO2 as a valuable source material. Green and blue ammonia are similarly explored as carbon-free fuels and hydrogen vectors, especially for shipping. With McLaren, KAUST is further exploring e-fuel formulations for Formula 1 cars.
The Saudi Green Initiative aims to protect our precious environment. KAUST researchers are contributing to these efforts by recycling CO2 via nature-based solutions, developing farming of algae for chemical synthesis and animal feed production, producing state-of-the-art gas sensing technologies for air pollution, and using modelling techniques to study and predict the circulation and the climate of the Saudi marginal seas. With its striking blue waters, the Red Sea represents KAUST's most unique 'laboratory'. The Red Sea hosts coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, brine pools, and other important ecosystems. The incredible biodiversity of the Red Sea holds untapped potential for understanding globally significant questions, particularly with regard to evolutionary biology, stress tolerance, and adaptation to extreme environments, and also to develop biotechnologies that utilize the microbial resources that have evolved there. Our researchers are conserving and regenerating coral reefs using KAUST technologies, and novel probiotic solutions are being tested for restoring impacted reefs and to promote their health, mitigating against environmental threats from climate change, disease and pollution.
FOOD & HEALTH
The food system, both in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and globally, consumes 66% of global water supplies and 30% of global energy supplies, occupies 50% of all land used by humans, and emits 33% of all greenhouse gases. KAUST researchers are using a multi-pronged approach to develop innovative field and greenhouse production systems for crop plants. Flexible, lightweight, easy-to-install thin-film solar cell screens and semi-transparent solar cell windows on greenhouses are used to both optimize plant growth conditions and generate electricity. Novel research on date palms is boosting global fruit production. Fresh vegetables are grown using saltwater technology that reduces typical greenhouse cooling requirements and ensures efficient plant growth. Organic waste is recycled for desert agriculture, increasing food security while significantly reducing water consumption and desertification.
KAUST researchers are tackling global health issues and are working to develop the next generation of smart-health technologies that will transform fundamental scientific discoveries into powerful solutions to prevalent diseases. Significant efforts have been made in our response to COVID-19 with the development of rapid diagnostic platforms, genomic analysis of the virus and bioinformatic tools to help track the spread and evolution of the disease.
The impact of digital technologies on our lives is growing rapidly. At KAUST, researchers carry out research in computer science and engineering that pushes the limits of computer performance. Artificial intelligence, big data analytics and numerical solution of differential equations are tools available to support fundamental research and application developments in multiple fields. KAUST researchers in the digital domain are creating underwater communication solutions, developing the necessary technology for next generation aviation and providing smart technology for Muslims all across the globe to perform their Wudu ablutions in a more water-efficient manner. Drone technology is used for visualisation and 3D modelling across many sectors, including archaeology, agriculture and aquaculture, and smart drills are now paving the way for enhanced drilling performance and wellbore management in the oil and gas sector.