Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) said its investments at the R&D (research and development) centre in Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park is poised to hit Dh500 million ($136 million) by 2020.
The new facility aims to support Dubai’s position as a global hub for R&D in the field of solar energy, smart grids, energy and water efficiency, and capacity building in these sectors to enable Dubai to meet its sustainable development requirements, it stated.
The centre also supports Dewa’s vision to promote sustainability in energy supply, diversify energy sources, and create a business environment that encourages innovation by establishing a platform for creativity and innovation in the field of renewable energy, clean technologies and training national capabilities, it added.
Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, the managing director and CEO of Dewa, said the research unit, which was launched in 2014, focuses on four key operations.
"These include producing electricity using clean and solar energy, integration of smart grids, energy efficiency, and water," stated Al Tayer, after he visited the R&D centre in Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park to get a firsthand knowledge of the progress of Dewa's vital projects.
He was briefed on the progress of the R&D Centre, by representatives from Stantec International; the consulting company responsible for design and construction of the Centre.
"The infrastructure includes indoor laboratories, to study and test the reliability of systems, while outdoor laboratories conduct field tests and studies on mitigating the effects of dust on the performance of solar panels. This is part of Dewa's efforts to promote the production of clean energy, and reduce operating costs," Al Tayer stated.
The centre’s facility comprises two sections with a total space of over 4,400 sq m. The first part is dedicated for employees and staff and has two floors, while the second part is a single floor and is dedicated for laboratories.
According to him, the integrated photovoltaic panels are currently being installed on the rooftop and outer walls of the centre to produce electricity from clean solar energy.
The laboratories in the centre will include the latest devices to conduct internal tests to analyse the efficiency of the photovoltaic panels and its accountability in the long run under local climate conditions. It also includes various labs and workshops such as electronic, mechanical and chemical labs.
Al Tayer later inspected Dewa’s lab that was built using the 3D printing technology, within the R&D Centre. The lab is the first building in the UAE to be fully printed onsite, and the first such laboratory building in the world, said a statement from Dewa.
The lab enables Dewa engineers to design and build customised circuits for different drone applications, and other innovative products, research, and educational solutions. The lab will solve issues and develop solutions to meet national objectives and its requirements, and will run tests on avionic systems, flight controls, and electric power units.
Dewa is currently working on capacity building in 3D printing, by collaborating with leading organisations in applying 3D Printing in service organisations.
It focuses on utilising this technology to build spare parts for drones as well as tools for other projects including its solar energy projects.