Saudi engineer invents water conservation technology

Updated 24 September 2014

Saudi engineer invents water conservation technology

A Saudi has invented a liquid absorbing polymer that soaks up water when mixed with soil and doubles the production of agricultural products.
“The polymer, Polykem Hydrogel PagriSAP, is like big pieces of salt. It absorbs large quantities of water. If you put it in the soil, it will absorb 600 times its own weight of water,” Ibrahim M. Alalim told Arab News during the Advanced Technologies Forum held here recently.
Alalim worked for 20 years in Lausanne, Switzerland, to develop the polymer whose patent is owned by Polykem Hydrogel in Switzerland and Estefa Group in Saudi Arabia.
“It is produced worldwide and if any group is interested in Saudi Arabia, we would be willing to grant a local patent,” he said, adding that the Daytona Farms in Al-Baha started using the technology in 2012 and made its first harvest last year.
“The farm owner, Saleh bin Abbas, used the polymer and planted 7,000 olive trees of seven varieties. After one year, he harvested 13 tons olive fruits. The trees three meters high,” he said.
He said invention acts as a water reservoir in the root zone and provides water on demand to the crop and helps prevent water loss due to evaporation.
“PagriSAP helps prevent water run off and increases survival rates, often improving economics for the farmer by reducing the use of costly fertilizer and irrigation water,” he said during the Advanced Technologies Forum held here recently.
Moreover, it improves growth, he said, and increases the yield of plantations in clay soil deserts with both arid and non-arid soils and inside green houses.
“PagriSAP economically nurtures a plant to achieve maximum potential and increased crop yields. It does not have a detrimental impact on the environment and has a multi-year shelf life if stored correctly in a dry environment,” he said.
He added that it also significantly increases the yield and reduces the maturity time of crops for biofuel.
“Water and air penetrate the soil more easily because soil porosity is increased due to the use of Polykem Hydrogel PagriSAP,” he said.


Saudi body to help UN devise policies for sustainable living

Updated 13 August 2020

Saudi body to help UN devise policies for sustainable living

  • Saudi Green Building Forum granted accreditation as an observer to UNEP governing body

RIYADH: A professional association from Saudi Arabia will play a key policymaking role at a UN governing body addressing the importance of environmental needs.
Following careful assessment and consideration of the commitments and engagements of the Saudi Green Building Forum (SGBF), the nonprofit organization has been granted accreditation as an observer at the governing body of the UN Environment Program (UNEP). SGBF will play a role as an observer at all public meetings and sessions of the UNEP and its subsidiary organs.
Speaking to Arab News, Faisal Al-Fadl, founder of the nonprofit organization, said that the forum’s mission has been developing for the past 10 years and this accreditation was considered an important step in strengthening the role of Saudi civil society institutions, locally and internationally. This was in line with Vision 2030, which has not only played an integral role in the NGO’s mission but also paved the way for the Kingdom’s people to go the extra mile in building an advanced and resilient society.
SGBF was initiated in 2010 and established in 2014. In 2017, it became the first professional body from Saudi Arabia in consultative status with the UN.
“The Saudi Forum was an advocacy group with an honest voice to bridge the gap; through UNEP we now have the tools to become the policymakers,” Al-Fadl said. It is a challenge that the group founder says will be met by providing communities with the proper tools to implement commitments.
As the observing body on the environmental framework at the UNEP, SGBF’s role will include promoting its concepts and goals to be reflected within the community of change. For change to happen, people of a community at a grassroots level who have committed to the preservation of moral codes of conduct are key to changing mentality and behavior to guarantee a future for the next generations, Al-Fadl said.
“As an open platform, our role is being the honest voice of bridging the gap. Economic and social progress accompanied by environmental degradation and pandemics are endangering the very systems on which our future development and our survival depends,” he said.
SGBF represents the Kingdom and its call to communities, stakeholders, and policymakers to build on the principles of volunteering, advocacy and sustainable development.
For the NGO, their next step is increasing the engagement of civil society, finding solutions to the problem of volunteer integration in societies, and to prioritize and address social challenges for women, youth and the elderly, calling on member states to increase their role in building and developing practices that minimize the negative impact on the planet.
Al-Fadl added that protecting the planet and building resilience was not easy. Without bolstering local action, including volunteers to accelerate the implementation, it would be a long time until goals were met and result seen, he said.
“UN member countries have the responsibility in confronting the human crisis of inestimable proportions, which impose its heaviest tolls on the supply chain for those marginalized and
most vulnerable in cities and communities around the world,” Al-Fadl said.