Founding Ceremony of the “Oman Hydrogen Centre” to shape Oman’s role in the global energy transition

A Competence Centre at GUtech for Green Hydrogen Research, Technology, Education, Application and Economy to develop and enable Oman´s Competencies for the Green Hydrogen Economy

HALBAN Approved by the Ministry of Higher Education, yesterday, on January 27th, 2020 in a ceremony at the History of Science Centre of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), the  “OMAN Hydrogen Centre” was launched today morning. In the launch ceremony Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finances at GUtech, welcomed many high-ranking guests, which further underlined the importance of this new centre. The ceremony was held under the auspices of H.E. Azza Al Ismaili, Minister of Technology and Communications, and among other dignitaries H.E. Mohammed bin Hamad Al Rumhy, Minister of Oil and Gas. Also present were the Ambassadors of Germany and Japan as well as several representatives of local and international industry.

The OMAN Hydrogen Centre is the first of its kind and will serve as the centre of knowledge in hydrogen technology in Oman and beyond – regionally in the GCC. Green Hydrogen – produced from renewable energies – is of central global importance as a new energy carrier in the changing global energy industry. Both as a supplement to and, especially in the long term, successively replacing oil and gas.

This perspective was emphatically confirmed by national and international experts at the “First Oman Hydrogen Symposium” at  GUtech on October 9th, 2019 demonstrating a market volume perspective of up to  20 billion US$ in 2050 for the local economy. Oman’s geographical position and geological structure offer the chance to position  Oman as a leading global producer and supplier for green hydrogen satisfying the fast-growing worldwide demand.

The production, domestic use and export of green hydrogen can be fundamental for the economic future of Oman and will play a key role for the economic diversification and job creation efforts in the local energy industry and economy in general.

Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech, explained in detail the role, tasks and objectives of the Oman Hydrogen Centre. As a competence hub, it will create hydrogen expertise and knowledge in Oman in all relevant fields to support the future participation of Oman in the fast-growing global hydrogen market. In this role, the centre will provide decisive impulses, guidelines and roadmaps for industry and government and bundle forces for the development of a hydrogen economy involving the production, storing, transporting, utilizing and exporting of green hydrogen.

This will be achieved through cooperative research and international exchange of knowledge and experience, network building, academic and industrial training and study concepts, consulting for institutions, applied research, exploring technical innovations and new application scenarios as well as the development of economic models. In this way, the centre supports the development hydrogen of competencies, the significant creation of new in-country jobs and can develop into a leading force of the hydrogen economy in the Gulf region.

The centre will be responsible for creating domestic and international academic, industrial, economic and transdisciplinary partnerships which will attract international experts to the country. Using these partnerships, in particular, educational programs to generate the best-skilled workforce in hydrogen technology on all levels will be established – for researchers as well as hydrogen plant and process designers or plant operators. Undergraduate and graduate courses will be developed and the centre will provide seminars and workshops to train personnel from industry and government in different field of hydrogen technology.

HE Thomas Friedrich Schneider, German Ambassador to the Sultanate said that currently the share of renewable energies in Germany’s electricity supply has reached 45%. The target of 65% in 2030 can only be achieved by importing Green Hydrogen from countries as Oman. The Ambassador also highlighted the importance to enter an Oman-German Energy dialogue.

The founding partner and Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of Hydrogen Rise AG, Olav Carlsen, provided an overview of the long-term economic potential of green hydrogen for Oman. He described the impending global change in the energy industry, its triggers and consequences and the need for building local competencies in Oman to compete with similar efforts all around the globe. He pointed out the urgency for concerted action between government, research and industry, as a central success factor in this change.

© GUtech

GUtech alumna wins award for her video about fossils (Rudists) from Oman at Friedrich-Alexander University, Germany

HALBAN Najat Al Fudhaili, GUtech alumna in BSc Applied Geosciences and a passionate about fossils has won the first prize in the Science Communication Competition held at the Friedrich-Alexander University (FAU) in Erlangen/Nürnberg (Germany) recently. Najat was awarded for her best script and the best filmmaking. In her short film entitled “Cretaceous bivalve longevity, growth rate and potential as an archive for environmental reconstructions,” she represents her Bachelor project. She came up with an idea using easy terms that can be understood by the general public and non-palaeontologists maintaining the scientific concepts. “The idea of my project is to study three different fossil species of a bizarre bivalve group, so-called ‘Rudists’ and to estimate their growth rate and longevity. Also, by considering that these kinds of fossils tend to store their life history in their shells, they can help in reconstructing the paleoclimate and reveal under which sort of environmental conditions they tend to grow”. Najat recently graduated from GUtech and now continues her geology and palaeontology studies in Germany within the MSc-programme at FAU. Her current research involves geochemical measurements on shells in Germany and in Italy, which allow temperature reconstructions for the Cretaceous time, some 100 million years ago, when the Sultanate of Oman was covered by a tropical shallow sea.

To watch Najat’s video please visit the following website:

https://www.fau.de/2019/11/news/studium/filmreife-geowissenschaftliche-forschung/

© GUtech: Photo provided by FAU/Boris Mijat

Public Information Session on the MSc Computer Sciences

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) is pleased to invite the public to an Information Session on the MSc degrees in Computer Sciences with an option to study one semester at Hasselt University in Belgium. The session will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, 22 January at 6 pm in GUtech’s Research Hall. GUtech and Hasselt University in Belgium are collaborating in the Master degree.

“Our collaboration with Hasselt University enables students in GUtech’s MSc in Computer Science to gain an international perspective. By spending one semester in Belgium, our MSc Computer Science students can opt to earn additional credits towards a Master’s degree in Transportation Sciences from Hasselt University. These additional credits will focus on traffic safety and technological approaches to handle current and future transportation challenges worldwide,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of Computer Sciences at GUtech.

GUtech invites the general public to the upcoming information session tomorrow to learn more about the MSc programme, the admission requirements and scholarship opportunities. During the session, Computers Sciences professors from GUtech and professors from the Transportation Science Department of Hasselt University will share more details about the MSc programme and answer questions. To attend the session, please register online: https://www.gutech.edu.om/cs-transportation-master-information-session/

GUtech will hold an International Symposium on Contemporary Earthen Building

HALBAN GUtech is pleased to announce the 1st International Symposium on Contemporary Earthen Building in Oman to be held at GUtech on 10 and 11 February. Registration is now open.  “Our upcoming symposium aims to be a platform for an informative exchange. It is the first event in a larger initiative on Earthen Building in Oman which was recently launched at GUtech to create awareness about earth as an abundant, sustainable and beautiful building product,” said Assistant Professor Wayne Switzer from the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech. “Earth is a material with deep historical relevance in Oman. Yet, despite the countless examples of earth buildings in the region, it is hardly discussed, let alone permitted, as a material for present-day construction. This despite the proven benefits to air quality, recyclability and low-embodied energy,” said Prof. Wayne. The first day will feature presentations from experts, roundtable discussions, and critical reflection. The second day will feature hands-on demonstrations and a participatory workshop.

The Symposium will include architects, governmental officials, and industry partners who will have the opportunity to discuss the potentials for Earthen construction to enable a healthy, sustainable building industry. “Guest experts from Germany, Spain, and Belgium will be on hand to demonstrate and present how these techniques are already being implemented and regulated,” said Prof. Wayne Switzer.

For more information and to register for the Symposium please visit: https://ebi.gutech.edu.om or follow us @ebi_oman

PSI training session in the simulation of oil and gas pipelines operations

HALBAN The German company PSI Software AG has conducted its annual training session for Engineering students at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). After the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with PSI Software AG, a specialized Computer Laboratory and Training Centre opened at GUtech in 2017. The Training Centre showcases a small-scale industrial pipeline that is connected to an operation desk. “Our software helps the students to understand the fluid transportation process in a pipeline and to link this knowledge with real-life pipeline monitoring and operation applications. The software is a high-end tool for the petroleum industry to increase the efficiency and safety of pipeline operations. This year we have extended the training session with more practical exercises on experimental installations in the laboratory”, said Dr. Aleksej Lisunkin, Technology Development Manager of PSI who has been supporting seminars at GUtech Simulation Lab in the past two years. “The PSI training centre is a unique centre that contributes to the capacity building of the Omani society. The students have the opportunity to learn about industrial software. They can practice the application of simulation techniques theory while conducting pipeline simulation experiments,” said Prof. Dr. Eng. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department at GUtech. GUtech students, who are enrolled in Mechanical, Process and Environmental Engineering, benefit from this unique software as well as academic staff.

GUtech and PSI are planning to introduce a BSc thesis programme for Engineering students and to open the GUtech laboratory as a Training Centre for pipeline engineers and operators in the GCC region. As an independent software producer, PSI has been on the market since 1969 and for many years a technological leader in process control systems for energy grid operators and industrial production. PSI software ensures efficient use of energy, labour and raw materials in energy management (gas, oil, electricity, heating, energy trading, public transport) and production management (raw material extraction, metal production, automotive, mechanical engineering, logistics). To this end, PSI has been successfully relying on a combination of artificial intelligence methods and other industrially proven optimisation methods for two decades. PSI software products stand for safe, efficient energy supply and optimised production and logistics processes worldwide.

 

GUtech’s Board of Governors met to discuss latest developments

To discuss the development of the University, the Board of Governors (BoG) of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) met recently. The BoG holds meetings at least three times per year at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s German partner-university or at GUtech in Muscat.

The meeting was headed by the Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger. Members of the BoG consist of representatives of the Board of Governors of GUtech, representative of the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman, the German Ambassador in Oman, and the members of Rectorate of GUtech.

Rectorate members gave presentations on the progress of the University in the past six months. They also discussed the Internalisation Strategy of the university and they reviewed existing Bachelor of Science programmes, in particular the BSc in Computer Science and BSc International Business and Service Management. The BoG also discussed the introduction of new MSc and BSc programmes and reviewed the financial statements of the University.

269 Graduates: The 8th Graduation Ceremony held at GUtech

“Graduation is not the end, it’s just the beginning”

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has celebrated the 8th Graduation Ceremony on its campus today evening. A total of 269 Omani and international graduates were honoured for their academic achievements. A number of dignitaries, the Board of Governors of GUtech as well as family members and friends of the graduates attended the ceremony held in the large amphitheatre. The students graduated from Bachelor of Science programmes in Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Applied Geosciences, Computer Sciences, International Business and Service Management, Logistics as well as in Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, one of the leading universities of technology in Europe. During the ceremony, three graduates were awarded Rectorate Medals for their academic performances and for non-academic related achievements. In the winter semester 2019/2020 more than 2,200 students have been studying at GUtech.

Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech welcomed the graduates and the whole audience. He said that GUtech graduates received a practical education. “We don’t just want to teach you subject-matter theory and textbook knowledge. We want you to experience real life. For instance, we want our Geosciences students to feel the rocks of Oman with their own hands during field trips. Our Engineering students worked on real projects in our workshop. I remember once hearing a comment that girls cannot handle machines. Yes, you can. You, our graduates, are the evidence that this is possible. Our Urban Planning and Architectural Design students built countless models that can be admired in our studios or in exhibitions and our International Business students organized large-scale professional events.” Prof. Armin also stressed that GUtech graduates learned to think critically and that they had significant international exposure through excursions and that they gained superior communication skills. “All of you, have managed to achieve at least IELTS 6. You can be proud. In any job interview, you will stand out because you have a level of language confidence that others do not have. All this has taught you independence, self-reliance, maturity, and the ability to deal with unexpected situations,” said Prof. Armin.

The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell said in his speech: “Today is a very special day: Having your certificate in your hands will let you enter a new period in your life. You will experience a new style of life, with new responsibilities and duties.” The Rector further advised the graduates: “Don’t stop to learn, be flexible and learn continuously with an open mind. I am sure that you will be successful whatever you will start and combined with the good education you received over the years at GUtech. All of us here are proud of your achievements. We are convinced that you will contribute to the development of Oman.”

On behalf of all GUtech graduates, Riyan Al Mahrooqiyah said: “From the details of my first day, I still remember my mother’s prayers for me, my father eyes looking at me with pride and the smile of my teacher in my first class. I also remember dreams and hopes I had, the fear in our eyes and the questions in our heads. I recall the long study hours at night, persistence and patience … then the pleasure of reaching our aim.” Riyan further stressed the importance of contributing to the development of the Omani society: “Our beloved country Oman, under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, may Allah safeguard and protect him, has laid clear lines for a great vision, which is the Oman Vision 2040. This vision sought to involve young people in decision-making. Our role today is to be an active and positive element to achieve this bright vision for our dear country.”

Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finances, said in his speech: “Some people dream of accomplishing great things, others stay awake and make it happen. With this graduation, I believe you made it happen. I am sure, all of you had some difficult times, but also I hope you had some fun at GUtech. You have not only learnt from being at the university but you have contributed as well, you have helped to shape the tremendous benefits of those who will follow you in your footsteps. Finally, remember, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little “extra”, so push yourself for this “extra”. We wish you the very best.”

On the sidelines of the graduation ceremony, Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech, said: “The cohort of Applied Geosciences students showed an exceptional performance. Our students successfully competed in national and international competitions. We never had such a high proportion of excellent and outstanding Bachelor theses. I am convinced that many of our graduates will succeed in geoscientific Master programmes. Some of them are so talented that they can start an academic career and become successful researchers and/or academic teachers,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. “I am proud of our graduates. We challenged them every day and they made it,” said Prof. Dr. Tobias Buer, Head of the Logistics programme at GUtech.

Michael Smith, a graduate in International Business and Service Management (IBSM) said: “My time at GUtech has been enlightenment. I have received nothing but the highest quality instruction, and am eternally grateful for the continuous support given to me by all members of staff. I will be forever thankful for the many valuable opportunities that they have granted me. From projects in the classroom to international excursions across the world, I will remember my experiences at the university fondly.”

(c) GUtech/Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

 

 

UPAD students study circular construction and examples of revitalization in architecture

HALBAN Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a group of 15 students from the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) recently travelled to Europe to study the potentials of reusing or revitalizing existing architecture built in Europe. The group led by Assistant Prof. Wayne Switzer, visited metropoles like Berlin and Brussels as well as smaller German cities like Cologne, Düren and Aachen. “Our students were encouraged to think in a circular, rather than linear way.  We identified and visited not only buildings but also architectural practices which are engaged in resourceful design to minimize waste and embrace historical change,” said Assistant Prof. Wayne. At GUtech’s German partner-university RWTH Aachen University, the students were involved in a three-day workshop along with Master students from the chair of Cycle-Oriented Construction, Department of Architecture. During this collaboration, the students experimented with natural substances such as reed, hair or clay as a building material, which reinforced creative solutions when regarding the sustainability of buildings. “No buildings ever disappear, rather they are either disassembled and re-used or they become someone else’s problem, in the form of waste,” said Assistant Prof. Wayne.  “It was great for us to see all the buildings in reality that we have been studying since the first semester. Every day we visited a different place. This widened our perspectives on the architecture and on sustainable construction,” said Noorayn Al Busaidi, 4th year UPAD student.

In the German capital Berlin the group visited a number of old and new buildings including the ‘House of Statistics’ (in German: ‘Haus der Statistik’), a multi-purpose building in the central district of Mitte that was used as the State Central Administration for Statistics of the GDR. A community action group that includes politicians, city planners and architects have regenerated the buildings that have been empty for over a decade. Now concerts, experimental theatre and exhibitions are conducted there. The group also visited the ‘Chapel of Reconciliation’ (in German: Kapelle der Versöhnung) built on the grounds of the former path of the Berlin Wall using earth from the very site of a formerly demolished church. In Brussels, the group met with a group of architects called ‘Rotor’, who sell salvaged building components and also reclaim buildings that are not used.

The group of students will exhibit their work and findings of the excursion during an exhibition held at GUtech’s architectural studios, from the 1st of January onwards. The exhibition will run throughout the semester.

(c) Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Wayne Switzer

 

Innovative Business Projects presented

HALBAN An innovative logistics application, an online platform for freelance services, a ‘clinic on the go’, a medical service website ‘I care’ or an online destination management company for tourists visiting Oman, students of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management have displayed a large number of innovative projects of the ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course’ during an exhibition entitled “Fikra – The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started”, held in the university’s auditorium on Sunday. ‘Fikra’ is the Arabic word for ‘idea’. “I am extremely happy to see the various results of the course and I hope the students will continue working on their ideas and realize small businesses. The Omani Academy for Small and Medium Enterprises has also supported the course with lectures on idea creation and idea evaluation. Many student companies are already online. These ideas will be further discussed and we will continue to promote their final realization,” said Prof. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Department who supervised all the projects. Students were asked to create innovative ideas in three categories: websites, manufacturing and food & beverage businesses.

“It is great to see the enthusiasm of our students who developed their own ideas, their own concepts and the realization of the ideas. It is not only learning from the textbook but realizing a business project from beginning to end,” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech.

Abeer Al Kharousi, Shurooq Al Busaidi and Shamsa Al Balushi created an online application for  renting out warehouse spaces. “We offer three services within one application. Our goal is to help warehouse owners advertise their renting services, to locate the best warehouse for traders, to satisfy their requirements, to work as third party to link buyers and sellers and to reduce the gap between the customers and the service providers,” said Nama Al Balushi while explaining their mobile application ‘Rent Me’.

Another business idea is “E-lancers”, an online platform that offers various small services and support for the local community in Oman like babysitting, tutoring, house cleaning and technical fixing and repairing. Another idea was presented by Ohood Al Hammadi, Mohammed Al Fazari, Fatema Al Riyami, Huda Al Jahwari and Hiba Al Waili. They presented their business idea on supporting and branding small and medium enterprises in Oman through online marketing, designing and consultation tools. The ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course’ aimed to introduce students to various aspects of entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses with a focus on the support of the Omani ecosystem for start-up companies. The course included finding new business ideas, linking creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, developing a business model, writing a business plan and presenting the final project to fellow students and professors.

(c) GUtech / Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

Creating Cardboard Structures: An Interaction between Sculpture & Space

As part of the course ‘Introduction to Project Design’, students of the 1st year, BSc Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD), have created cardboard sculptures and displayed them on campus. “During our course, the students learn about proportions, colours, materials, scales and textures. Each student has to design a sculpture by using folding techniques. The last project is teamwork which is more challenging as the students have to design and share ideas in a group,” said Associate Prof. Gazmend Kalemi, UPAD Department.

“In the beginning we had a paper model. Now a 1:1 model made of three layers of cardboard was produced. We have worked on the final sculpture for three days,” said Amna Al Balushi, UPAD student. She worked along with seven fellow students on her structure. Another sculpture entitled ‘The Golden Gangway’ was designed by a group of students as a walkway and set-up outside the lecture hall building. The students perforated the cardboard designing Arabic calligraphy within the sculpture, creating light and shadow effects.

“The Quads” is the theme of another structure shaped like large triangles. “We tried different angels. From each side it looks different,” said UPAD student Al Gawaris. Another structure resembled white, empty pages that are waiting to be filled. “We wish to create space for thoughts. These pages show that the longer we study the more knowledge we accumulate,” said Bushra Al Mukhaini. “I am impressed with the students’ ideas and their projects. Their visual concepts are clear and strong,” said Prof. Gazmend Kalemi.