Ali bin Nasser Al-Assiri, director general of the e-government program Yesser

Ali bin Nasser Al-Assiri
Updated 12 July 2019

Ali bin Nasser Al-Assiri, director general of the e-government program Yesser

Ali bin Nasser Al-Assiri has been the director general of the e-government program Yesser since November 2017.

He has a wide range of experiences in communications and information technology, in addition to business development and technological solutions, having worked at, among others, Huawei Technologies Co., Saudi Telecom Co., and CISCO systems.

Al-Assiri obtained his bachelor’s degree in computing from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, as well as having earned a series of qualifications in fields ranging from project management and business development to interconnected networks.

Yesser enables and motivates government agencies to achieve sustainable progress. The program seeks to improve efficiency, develop resource capacities, and ensure the transfer of expertise and know-how throughout various departments.

Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Permanent Representative to the UN Abdallah Al-Mouallimi received Al-Assiri for a meeting at his offices in New York, where the pair reviewed the efforts of the program to empower and provide digital government services to citizens and government agencies.

It was held on the sidelines of a series of talks between a Yesser delegation and the UN’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs to discuss ways of enhancing cooperation between the UN and the Kingdom.


Startup of the Week: A Saudi Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially. (AN photos by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 21 January 2020

Startup of the Week: A Saudi Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

  • Aldrees: “Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills”
  • Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids

Carbon CPU is a biotechnology startup specializing in turning food waste into fatty acids for use as livestock nutrients.

Launched through the post-graduate startup accelerator program (TAQADAM) of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the venture was co-founded by Bin Bian, Jiajie Xu, Yara Aldrees, Sara Al-Eid and Prof. Pascal Saikaly.

The idea behind the enterprise began to take shape in 2018. Al-Eid said: “Our aim was to recycle food waste into value-added products in a manner that matched the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.”

Similar to most countries, Saudi Arabia has a food waste problem, but Carbon CPU thought of utilizing it in a way that caused less harm to the environment and also benefitted the animal feed industry.

“Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills,” said Aldrees. “This produces a lot of gas, including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and cycloaromatics, and contributes to global warming and air pollution.”

Water and soil were also being contaminated through leachate production, she added. “We’re trying to solve those issues, too.”

 

The team found that animal farms often struggled to provide enough feed nutrients for livestock such as cows and sheep. Al-Eid said there was a huge shortage of fatty acids, which are used as livestock nutrients and were in high demand from farmers.

“We’re trying to help animals live longer and be more nutritious,” she added.

Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids.

“We produce fatty acids from the food waste, extracting them through a liquid-liquid extraction system. The fatty acid oils are then used to help animal feed, as well as the feed and chemical industries,” said Xu.

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially, added Bian. “KAUST, especially the Environmental Biotechnology Lab led by Prof Pascal Saikaly, provided us with the facilities to set up our reactors. The KAUST Innovation and Economic Development department and the Entrepreneurship Center also gave us a lot of guidance on how to push our technology into the market.”

The startup initially faced many challenges that KAUST helped to resolve. As individuals coming from backgrounds mainly in engineering and science, the team lacked the know-how in business that its project needed.

“KAUST made up for our lack of business thinking through training on how to solve business issues and create business modules and find the right customers for our product,” said Bian.