KAUST presents sustainability science to the world

KAUST President Tony Chan was accompanied by KAUST faculty members Peiying Hong, Mohammed Eddaoudi and Derya Baran.
Updated 03 July 2019

KAUST presents sustainability science to the world

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) recently led a session of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Meeting of the New Champions in Dalian, China.

KAUST President Tony Chan was accompanied by KAUST faculty members Peiying Hong, Mohammed Eddaoudi and Derya Baran. This year’s edition of the annual event was held under the banner “Leadership 4.0: Succeeding in a New Era of Globalization.”

Chan inaugurated the IdeasLab session — a first for the Kingdom. The session, titled “Fast-Tracking Green Technology,” featured the innovative work of KAUST researchers including water reuse technologies, carbon sequestration and transparent solar panels embedded in windows.

Chan described KAUST as a new, innovative hub for global research and education, before introducing the session’s three academic presenters.

Peiying Hong, associate professor of environmental science and engineering at KAUST, focused on her work on water reuse and used a famous quote of environmental scientist Dr. Jonathan Foley: “When we think about threats to the environment, we tend to picture cars and smokestacks, not dinner. But the truth is, our need for food poses one of the biggest dangers to the planet.”

She hopes to help the Kingdom replicate methods of water reuse that have proven effective in water-challenged cities such as Singapore. She demonstrates a multimodal approach, combining anaerobic decay, which can generate methane as an energy source, with membranes and ultraviolet light. The combination of three approaches can serve to obtain clean water for safe reuse.

Mohamed Eddaoudi, distinguished professor of chemical science at KAUST, highlighted his research on carbon capture technologies.  

Eddaoudi hopes to help bridge the gap between humanity’s energy needs and the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. “A better approach to the CO2 problem is to deploy effectively a circular carbon economy,” Eddaoudi said.

Derya Baran, assistant professor of material science and engineering at KAUST, gave a presentation on her research on transparent solar cells. Baran has launched a KAUST spinoff, iyris, which aims to turn windows into solar power plants the world over.

“At KAUST, we designed a new solar panel that is able to selectively absorb the infrared portion of the spectrum, convert it into electricity and leave the visible part undetectable to the human eye,” Baran said. She envisions cities of the future offsetting much of their power needs locally by turning all glass windows into power generators.

Thus, coming from entirely different fields, each of these technologists accomplishes a separation that is environmentally valuable in its own right, and as a by-product, it partly pays for itself.


Dur Hospitality launches training academy for aspiring hoteliers

The announcement was made during a special event attended by the company’s CEO Sultan Al-Otaibi and a number of its senior officials.
Updated 15 September 2019

Dur Hospitality launches training academy for aspiring hoteliers

Saudi hospitality company Dur Hospitality has launched a training academy specialized in hospitality disciplines. The announcement was made during a special event attended by the company’s CEO Sultan Al-Otaibi and a number of its senior officials, in addition to a group of notable local and international hospitality sector professionals.
Dur’s CEO highlighted the importance of the academy, which he said aims to equip local talents interested in working in this sector with the necessary skills and qualifications. He added that the academy’s goals also include training current Dur employees and equipping them with knowledge and applied skills that they require to succeed. He elaborated that the academy will operate over two phases, with the first seeking to fulfill the company’s requirements and ensuring its staff is qualified to execute its future expansion strategy ongoing till 2020, while the second phase will contribute toward supplying the local hotel service sector with qualified and capable national talents.
Al-Otaibi said the academy’s ultimate objective is to equip trainees with world-class skills and provide them with guidance from local and international sector leaders to help them achieve excellence.
The academy will present a number of training programs that aim to raise the qualification and skill level among trainees, which will eventually reflect positively on the Saudi hospitality sector. These programs will cover three main parts, where the first part will include programs on leadership and supervision and will last for 12 months. It will cater to internal supervision and front desk employees, food and beverage production and service employees, and marketing and sales employees.
The second part will be dedicated to training new recruits and will last between three to six months. Likewise, it will include training front desk employees, internal supervision employees, food and beverage production and service employees, and marketing and sales employees.
The third part of the program will include shorter development courses that last between one and five days. It will cover topics including central management for internal and external operations, hotel management, customer service, and health and safety.
Established in 1976, Dur Hospitality has extensive record in managing, developing and operating a wide portfolio of hotels and residential compounds across the Kingdom.