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WFES closes with expert insights into emobility, smart cities

ABU DHABI, April 19, 2024

Potential blueprints for future-proofed policies and solutions relating to emobility and smart cities were explored on the closing day of the 16th World Future Energy Summit.
 
Hosted by Masdar the event was attended by thousands of sustainability, energy, transport and urban planning professionals at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (Adnec) for the three-day event, a WAM report said.
 
WFES’s closing day was extended to cater for larger-than-expected visitor demand – a consequence of the extreme weather that restricted movement across the country this week.
 
eMobility and Smart City Forums take top billing
In the dedicated eMobility Forum, a quartet of insightful sessions explored a panorama of critical industry topics, including how autonomous transport is poised to significantly evolve city design and spotlight infrastructure resilience, the importance of enhancing stakeholder collaboration across the clean transport sector, and how the UAE is on-track to achieve 50% new energy vehicle (NEV) sales by 2030.
 
In the opening panel session, forum attendees heard how the UAE is leading the global aerial autonomous vehicles movement, with tests currently being conducted in Dubai and Abu Dhabi that are set to prelude a major exercise to map the Emirates’ skies – a core step in creating dedicated sky routes or aerial roads for the next-generation of flying autonomous transport solutions.
 
The following session came from Naveen Ahmed, Advisor and Transaction Coordinator, Private Financing Advisory Network, who gave a presentation based on a study commissioned by the Pakistan Private Sector Energy Project, supported by USAID and implemented by Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN), United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). It focused on the indigenisation of the EV value chain in Pakistan’s two- and three-wheeler transport segment, which account for around 86% of the country’s total vehicular fleet.
 
“Essentially, what the study focuses on is Pakistan as an investment opportunity in the e-mobility sector, especially in the two- and three-wheeler vehicle segment, i.e. scooters and rickshaws or tuk-tuks, which is where we see total cost of ownership (TCO) parity,” Ahmed said. “We see an uptake in sales in these segments. In the two-wheeler sector, many are commercially used in courier and delivery services, while the rickshaw three-wheelers are predominantly used for transporting goods.”
 
Net savings from EVs
Ahmed explained that despite the higher upfront costs of EVs compared to conventional vehicles, net savings in the two-wheeler and three-wheeler sector can be achieved in 6-12 months because of the high mileage travelled. “The operating costs are lower compared with conventional vehicles, so there is TCO parity when you compare the total upfront costs of the EV versus the savings that a user experiences over a period of time. That is a big deal, especially in low-income, developing and emerging markets, which are vulnerable to oil price movements and where budgets are strained. It makes economic sense.”
 
The study outlines investment opportunities in the EV ecosystem generally, and verticals along the entire supply chain, such as material supply, retrofitting, battery manufacturing, EV manufacturing, infrastructure, IT services and mobility as a service. “We see a billion-dollar opportunity in the two-wheeler segment alone,” Ahmed concluded.
 
Speaking at the dedicated Smart City Forum, Chris Wan, Associate Director of Sustainability and CSR at Masdar City, stressed how a people-first approach to sustainable master planning is poised to evolve the design, infrastructure, and functionality of future cities and urban communities.
 
“When it comes to sustainable master planning, Masdar, as an investment company, is doing our best to demonstrate that environmental sustainability is also profitable,” said Wan. “If we are to turn current mindsets into catalysts for change, we believe no-one is going to be fully invested if there’s a chance to lose money.”
 
Referencing how building science is ushering in transformative health benefits for residents and businesses, Wan added: “If we look at health benefits, we have CO2 sensors in our buildings, and we regulate the injection of fresh air into workplaces and communal areas. We also have other innovations, such as anti-glare window panelling. The feedback we have received from occupants of our buildings is that they feel more energetic, report fewer headaches due to reduced glare, and don’t feel the post-lunch slump as much, which all lead to increased staff wellbeing and better productivity. There is a clear financial impact that comes with these benefits.”
 
EU-GCC Cooperation on Green Transition Project
Elsewhere, a groundbreaking new project announcement was hailed as a significant step forward for clean energy and climate action. The ‘EU-GCC Cooperation on Green Transition’ aims to create a joint platform to exchange best practices and expertise between the EU and GCC stakeholders, promoting and adopting policies and technologies that support the Gulf’s green transition, and fostering a collaborative business environment between EU-based green tech companies and their GCC counterparts.
 
The project announcement signifies a turning point in the global transition towards a clean energy future, marking a critical commitment to collaboration that sets a powerful example for the international community, paving the way for a more sustainable and prosperous future.
 
The launch featured keynote addresses from Lucie Berger, Ambassador of the European Union to the UAE; Lukasz Kolinski, Head of Unit Renewables and Energy System Integration at the European Commission; and Tarig Ahmed, Regional Programme Officer - Mena Region at Irena. The trio each underscored the significance of international collaboration to address global sustainability challenges.
 
“I strongly believe the EU-GCC Cooperation on Green Transition Project is timely and acts as a pivotal initiative to enable renewable energy solutions and encourage regional collaboration,” said Ahmed. “This project is an essential milestone towards achieving a sustainable future for the GCC region and, ultimately, for our planet.”
 
UAE startups shine in dedicated zones
This year’s Summit hosted numerous dedicated areas championing innovation across the startup ecosystem, including the Green Hydrogen Innovation Zone, the Masdar Innovation Zone, and the Climate Innovations Exchange (CLIX) initiative – a curated platform for 22 female-led, run, or founded startups and SMEs to demonstrate their game-changing products and solutions to the investors and the wider industry.
 
Indeed, with dozens of startups showcasing an assortment of game-changing sustainability-themed products and solutions, UAE-based startup Food to Fertiliser highlighted a range of custom machines that use patented dehydration technology to convert food and other organic waste into nutrient-rich fertiliser.
 
With one-third of all food produced globally currently going to waste, Food to Fertiliser leveraged the World Future Energy Summit to seek investment for an initial manufacturing run of its new Food Cycler product – a consumer-friendly unit intended for residential use.
 
“While our commercial machines range from 15 to 1,500 kilogrammes in capacity, the Food Cycler has a five-kilo capacity, which is ideal for eco-conscious consumers in their own homes,” said Harris Qureshi, Co-Founder, and GCC Director at Food to Fertiliser. “On average, our dehydration technology saves 1.9 kg of CO2 for every kilogram of food diverted from landfill, so the benefits are abundantly clear in terms of reducing food waste, creating valuable fertiliser stock, reducing greenhouse emissions, and contributing to a healthier environment.”
 
WFES organisers praise industry commitment
Leen AlSebai, General Manager of RX Middle East and Head of the World Future Energy Summit, said: “The post-COP28 mandates, and what action is needed to deliver on promises made, especially around the Pathway to 1.5C, was very much at the forefront of discussions over the past three days. We have seen some incredible partnerships cemented at the event that will aid the world’s journey to tripling renewables by 2030 and beyond.
 
“I would also like to thank the industry at large for its unwavering dedication this week, given the unprecedented weather seen across the country. Our international participation has increased by 55% over last year and our speaker faculty has grown to more than 350 speakers, highlighting the importance of our expanded Forum line-up this year,” added AlSebai.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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