Diriyah through young eyes: ‘It’s the jewel of Saudi Arabia’

1 / 3
Helena Inzerillo in front of Salwa Palace in Diriyah
2 / 3
Helena Inzerillo
3 / 3
Meet the Inzerillo's: The family gathered to celebrate the royal inauguration of Diriyah.
Updated 22 November 2019

Diriyah through young eyes: ‘It’s the jewel of Saudi Arabia’

  • Helena Zakade Inzerillo: “Everyone has to come and see this place”

RIYADH: King Salman’s royal inauguration of the Diriyah Gate project — a crowning moment in Kingdom’s plans to showcase the cultural icon to the world — was watched by members of the royal family, officials and a host of international visitors.
But for one guest the spectacular opening was very much a family affair.
Helena Zakade Inzerillo, the 13-year-old daughter of Diriyah Gate Development Authority CEO Jerry Inzerillo, flew into Riyadh from New York to watch the launch of a project, and visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site and birthplace of the Saudi nation.
“Everyone has to come and see this place,” she told Arab News.
“Diriyah is an incredible place. It has so much culture and history that the world needs to know about. It’s the jewel of the Kingdom.”
Inzerillo’s middle name Zakade was given to her by her godfather Nelson Mandela. In Mandela’s Khosa language, it means “the one who took a long time to arrive.”
She is proud of her father’s work to transform the city “with his heart and soul.” 
On only her fifth visit to the Kingdom, Inzerillo said she that was “taken aback by the sheer beauty of the place.”
Jerry Inzerillo has spent decades working in the leisure, tourism and hospitality sectors. He was CEO of the Forbes Travel Guide from 2014 to 2018, president and CEO of IMG Artists from 2012 to 2014, and president of resort giant Kerzner International from 1991 to 2011.
He has worked on the Diriyah Gate project for the past two years and told Arab News the site “has always held a special place in my heart.”
“There is only one Diriyah,” he said with a heartfelt smile.

 

 


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.