Studying German is Fun

HALBAN The German Unit of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has conducted a special Thanksgiving-Fun-Activity in the new ‘German Activity Room’ launched this semester at GUtech. During the German activity, students were competing with each other in German word-games. They were also preparing a dish along with their German lecturers and Mrs. Claudia Schmidt, the Representative of the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD and German lecturer at GUtech. “At the end of the third semester the students are able to pass the A1 exam of the Goethe Institute, which certifies them the first language level. The number of students studying German has increased continuously, we are very happy that DAAD is supporting our German Unit with a Teaching Asssistant this year,” said Mrs Claudia Schmidt. The DAAD has been supporting the German Unit since the establishment of the university in 2007. To learn the basics of the language, GUtech students study German for three semesters. “I like to learn German. German is one of my favourite subjects and we like our German teachers. Whenever I have time, I open the German textbook and I read German,” said Shamim Al Ismaili, 3rd year student in Process Engineering at GUtech, while adding that she would like to apply for an internship in Germany next year.

DAAD has been funding annual study-trips to RWTH Aachen University in Germany for GUtech students since 2009. The three-week course conducted by The Language Center of the University aims at introducing the students to the German language and to a classroom situation at RWTH Aachen University. In addition, the students visit different faculties at RWTH Aachen University. DAAD is also funding a number of study-excursions to Germany and to RWTH Aachen University. For example, recently Logistics students and Engineering students travelled to Germany to participate in specific courses or workshops.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is the German national agency for the support of international academic cooperation. The DAAD offers programmes and funding for students, faculty, researchers and others in higher education. The DAAD granted academic and research funding to almost 140,000 Germans and foreigners in 2017, making it the world’s largest funding organisation of its kind. Based in Bonn, DAAD also represents the German higher education system abroad and plays important roles in furthering the internationalization of German academic, cultural, and science policies; supporting the international relations of German colleges and universities through international exchange and programmes. DAAD maintains a worldwide network of offices, guest professors, and alumni.

‘Understanding Carbonate Mudrocks’: Sedimentary rocks that produce oil and gas

A special lecture by Dr. John D. Humphrey at GUtech

HALBAN Carbonate mudrocks are limestones that exist in many parts of Oman and elsewhere. The process of their formation and significance in different environments and their application within the oil and gas sector was explained yesterday by Prof. Dr. John D. Humphrey at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) as part of a special student lecture tour organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE). Dr. Humphrey is from King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Saudi Arabia. He presented a lecture entitled “Understanding Carbonate Mudrocks” in the University’s Research Hall. According to Prof. Humphrey, Oman is a great place to study carbonate rocks, for both conventional carbonate systems and unconventional deep-water carbonates. During the lecture, case studies of mudstone/chalk reservoirs were presented. Carbonate mudrocks are made of calcium carbonates, many of which are so-called source rocks that produce and store reservoirs of oil and gas. They have been deposited millions of years ago as chalks, starting with the Jurassic age. These carbonate mudrocks are increasingly becoming the targets of unconventional petroleum system exploration and development. These deposits are important for both conventional and unconventional petroleum systems. Amal Al Hajri, 4th year student in Applied Geosciences said that Prof. Humphrey’s talk helped her to plan for her thesis. “I would like to include chalks in my Bachelor thesis studies,” she said.

Prof. Humphrey visited Oman in 2002 for the first time from the USA. He has more been recently working at KFUPM, and has been a regular visitor for summer school excursions with his students. “There are many amazing, remarkable geological exposures in Oman,” he said. He and his students and other professors usually visit and explore different rock formations in Jebel Shams, Wadi Tiwi, Salalah, and other sites in Oman every summer. There are plans to have joint summer excursions with GUtech in future.

Dr. John D. Humphrey is Associate Professor and Assistant Chairman of Geosciences at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. His appointment is in the Department of Geosciences, within the College of Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences. Prof. Humphrey received his Ph.D. degree from Brown University/ USA in Geological Sciences. Prior to joining KFUPM in 2017, he spent 25 years on the faculty of Geology and Geological Engineering at Colorado School of Mines in USA. He was Head of Department for seven years there.

His areas of specialization include carbonate diagenesis and geochemistry, carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, carbonate reservoir characterization, unconventional carbonate reservoirs, stable isotope geochemistry, and paleoclimatology. He has been a consultant to the oil and gas and mining industries for thirty years. Dr. Humphrey is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Trustee Associate of the American Association of Petroleum.

‘Understanding Carbonate Mudrocks’ – An EAGE lecture by Prof Dr. John Humphrey

HALBAN As part of a student lecture tour organized by the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers (EAGE), Prof. Dr. John D. Humphrey, King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, will give a lecture on “Understanding Carbonate Mudrocks”. The lecture will be held at GUtech on Monday, 21 October. “We are looking forward to an interesting talk by an internationally renown carbonate rock specialist. Carbonate mudrocks are of specific interest to Oman and the wider region as source rocks for oil and gas. Prof. Humphrey has been extensive teaching, research and consultancy experience within the oil and gas and mining industries,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.

Fine-grained, mud-dominated, carbonate rocks can form in a variety of sedimentary environments. While sub-environments of shallow-water tropical carbonate systems are capable of producing muddy facies, this talk focuses on predominantly pelagic carbonates in slope and basin settings. Increasingly, such carbonate mudrocks are becoming the targets of unconventional petroleum system exploration and development. Basinal accumulations of pelagic carbonate (either platform or open ocean derived) can be associated with anoxic to suboxic conditions conducive to preservation of marine organic matter. These organic-rich carbonate mudrocks tend to be brittle and are therefore viable targets for hydraulic fracturing completions. Other carbonate mudrock systems are economically important conventional reservoirs, such as the Upper Cretaceous to Paleogene chalks of the North Sea. The lecture will consider the sedimentology and diagenesis of pelagic carbonates, including ecological controls on carbonate production, chemical controls on carbonate accumulation, and the effects of burial diagenesis on carbonate mudrock reservoir quality. Case studies of mudstone/chalk reservoirs will be presented.

Dr. John D. Humphrey is Associate Professor and Assistant Chairman of Geosciences at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals. His appointment is in the Department of Geosciences, within the College of Petroleum Engineering and Geosciences. His areas of specialization include carbonate diagenesis and geochemistry, carbonate sedimentology and stratigraphy, carbonate reservoir characterization, unconventional carbonate reservoirs, stable isotope geochemistry, and paleoclimatology. He has been a consultant to the oil and gas and mining industries for thirty years. Dr. Humphrey is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America and a Trustee Associate of the American Association of Petroleum.

Prof. Humphrey received his B.S. degree in Geology at the University of Vermont, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa and graduated Cum Laude. Dr. Humphrey received his M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from Brown University in Geological Sciences. He was on the faculty of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Dallas from 1986 to 1991. Beginning in 1991, Dr. Humphrey was a professor of Geology and Geological Engineering at Colorado School of Mines. He was twice awarded the Alumni Teaching Award for the top educator at CSM (1998, 2014). He served as Department Head from 2006 to 2013. From 2013 to 2015, he was Interim Director of the CSM Chevron Center of Research Excellence. He retired from Mines in 2015 and joined KFUPM in 2017.

Caption: Late Permian Khuff Formation, a seqence of muddy limestones and marls, northern Huqf, Oman.

 

“Computer Science offers recession-proof jobs”

HALBAN Computers are part of our every-day lives. “A Bachelor in Computer Science offers a well-rounded programme where students can learn various skills like reasoning, rational thinking and problem-solving,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Science and Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science during the Avenir Career Fair held at the Indian School Seeb last week. “Computer Science offers recession-proof jobs, withstanding economic changes worldwide,” he added. During his talk to the students, Prof. Nabil mentioned that 60% of the future jobs in science will be related to Computer Science, although only 2% will have the specific skill-set required for the jobs. “Computer scientists will be highly in demand in future, focusing on data sciences, data security especially with regard to the dramatically increasing e-commerce businesses.” He added that Computer Science is a door of opportunities when you have unique ideas that attract a large audience. He stressed that some GUtech graduates in Computer Sciences have started their own start-up businesses in Oman, even representing Google in the Middle East or they work for telecommunications companies like Omantel, Oredoo or consultancies like Ernst & Young. “Our Computer Science graduates have a very good reputation in the local market,” he said. Prof. Dr Nabil Sahli got his PhD from Canada in 2006. He has extensive teaching and research experience in Computer Science. Currently, he is involved in different research projects related to sensor networks and road traffic management.

At GUtech’s BSc Computer Science programme, students attend around 30 hours class per week including hardware and software. In addition, they have to conduct a summer internship and write their Bachelor thesis at the end of the programme. The students are also participating in international competitions such as the Dell EMC competition, Microsoft Imagine Cup, ACM programming or the Google Hackathon. In cooperation with GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen University, GUtech has started a MSc programme in Computer Sciences with an option to study at Hasselt University (Belgium) and to earn an additional Master degree in Transportation Science.

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

 

Engineering students conduct summer internships and thesis projects at the University of Brescia/Italy

HALBAN In the past six years, GUtech students have been conducting summer internships as well as thesis projects at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Brescia in Italy. A total of four Mechanical and Process Engineering students have conducted thesis projects and six students have done six-weeks summer internships at the Metallurgical Laboratory of the University. In February 2014, GUtech and the University of Brescia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that was renewed earlier this year.

“The aim of the summer internships in our laboratory is the so-called mechanical and metallurgical characterization of metallic parts (e.g. aluminium alloy, cast iron), in order to find a correlation between the alloy structure and the part properties,” said Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola, Associate Professor in Metallurgy at the University of Brescia and Fly-in Professor at GUtech. The laboratory tests conducted by GUtech students are used for evaluating the improvement in the performance of metallic parts due to the use of a new alloy chemical composition, a new production route or a new heat treatment.

In the beginning of their internships, the students have to undertake a detailed analysis of the scientific literature. “Recently, one of the topics investigated during the internship was the analysis of Al samples obtained by additive manufacturing and subjected to innovative post processing operations. The process is used for example in manufacturing components for automotive and aerospace industry. In our laboratory the students have been involved in experimental tests to evaluate the performance of the additive manufactured samples such as tensile and hardness tests, as well as density tests. They also had to perform metallurgical analyses by preparing the samples (cutting and polishing), observing by optical microscope or using an image analysis software. They collected and processed all the obtained data to compare them directly. Finally, they have been involved in the analysis of the fractured surface morphologies carried out by a scanning electron microscope,” said Prof. Annalisa Pola.

To get some industry insights, Prof. Annalisa and her colleagues have been also arranging site visits to different local companies dealing with the production of metallic parts that are investigated in the laboratory; all industries are located in the city of Brescia or in the region nearby.

“We are always happy to welcome one or two students from GUtech in our Metallurgy Laboratory. Being a rich industrial district, the city of Brescia is a very interesting location for internships and to further explore Italy. It only takes three hours to go to the capital Rome by train and two hours to Florence and to the Lake Garda,” said Prof. Annalisa Pola. “Overall our cooperation with GUtech aims at promoting and encouraging scientific and academic collaboration including the exchange of Engineering professors, researchers and Engineering students. Activities include but are not limited to student exchange, summer internships and Bachelor thesis, the exchange of Engineering professors, joint research activities, the publication and exchange of academic information and materials in the fields of interest to both universities,” said Prof. Annalisa Pola. Since October 2013 Prof. Annalisa Pola and her colleagues Prof. Marcello Gelfi and Prof. Roberto Roberti have been teaching Material Science (I and II) in the Engineering Departments at GUtech.

(c) GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Dr. Annalisa Pola

UN World Tourism Day – The Minister of Tourism visited GUtech

HALBAN On the occasion of the UN World Tourism Day entitled ‘Tourism and Jobs: A better Future for All’, the Faculty of Business and Economics at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has received H.E. Ahmed al Mehrazi, Minister of Tourism in Oman on its campus last Thursday. During the event that was held at the History of Science Centre, the Minister discussed various topics on tourism in Oman with GUtech students. The Minister spoke about the National Tourism Strategy 2040, the role of tourism festivals in marketing the Sultanate as well as cruise tourism and its potential for the Sultanate. Prof. Dr. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management presented the contribution of the tourism sector in creating employment opportunities especially for Omanis while contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This special event was open for GUtech students, staff and invitees from the academia and tourism destination management companies.

Each year, the World Tourism Day comes at the end of the high season in the northern hemisphere and the beginning of the season in the southern hemisphere, when tourism is on the minds of millions of people worldwide. According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the World Tourism Day is celebrated to foster awareness on tourism’s social, cultural, political and economic value and the contribution the tourism sector can make in reaching the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

(c) GUtech/Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Fatma Al Balushi

 

The first Summer School on ‘Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management’ held at GUtech

HALBAN The First Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” is currently held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). The two-week interdisciplinary course is conducted in cooperation with professors from Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus/ Senftenberg in Germany. The Summer School focuses on Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Climate Change Response Strategies, Emerging Issues on Environmental Law and Environmental Assessment with a special focus on sustainable land use and water management while combining different teaching techniques such as lectures, case-studies and group work. The summer school courses are directly related to all Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science programmes offered at GUtech. “Since pre-industrial times and due to human activities, urbanisation and industrialization, global greenhouse gas emissions have been rising to more than 70%. As a consequence the frequency of cyclones, heat waves and rain season has been increasing in the past years,” said Prof. Dr. Eike Albrecht during his introduction to Sustainable Development. Today due to climate change especially low-lying areas such as islands are vulnerable to increased sea level rise. At the same time a massive extinction of species has been witnessed worldwide including a drastic decline of insects, for example in Germany, said Prof. Dr. Albrecht, while mentioning that the extinction of plants and species has an impact on the entire ecosystem of our planet and many other species and we human beings will be effected. Over-exploitation of our planet’s resources for food, clothing or other products has accelerated climate change. On the other hand, Prof. Albrecht stressed on the fact that forests are the main producers of oxygen, storing CO2 emissions. These need to be protected on a large scale. According to Prof. Albrecht, currently there are more than 200 international environmental agreements and many bilateral agreements in place.

“The Summer School provides students with in-depth knowledge on highly relevant topics in the field of environmental planning, law, hydrogeology, ecology in the context of sustainable development and coping with the effects of climate change through adaptation and mitigation, such as coping measures to be discussed on a local, regional and global scale. The Summer School provides the students with a new vision of the world they live in, addressing the complexity and interrelation of problems such as environmental degradation, population growth and the scarcity of resources. Climate change in the context of land use and water resource management is gaining importance particularly in Asia and in the Middle East where an increased risk of droughts and mismanagement is projected,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Department of Engineering at GUtech.

© GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna

Technical Workshop on the Underground Storage for Hydrogen in Oman held at RWTH Aachen

HALBAN A technical workshop on the underground storage for hydrogen gas in Oman was held in July at GUtech’s German partner-university, RWTH Aachen University. The workshop was held in preparation for the Oman Hydrogen Initiative. „An efficient storage and buffer systems for hydrogen are essential for a large scale production and application of green hydrogen,” said the Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell. In addition Prof Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences participated in the workshop. Prof. Peter Kukla, Dean of the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Dr. Janos Urai, Professor of Structural Geology and Tectonics at RWTH Aachen University and fly-in professor at GUtech, and Prof. Dr. Hartmut Krause from TU Freiburg (Germany) as well as Dr. Bernd Wiemann and Gunther Weber from Hydrogen Rise participated in the one day workshop.

During the workshop, Prof. Bauer gave an overview of the Geology of Oman and research that is currently conducted at GUtech. Prof. Krause from TU Freiburg explained the HYPOS project on hydrogen storage in caverns, its framework conditions and the planned project work. According to Prof. Wilfried Bauer there are six exposed salt domes of Ediacaran/Cambrian Ara salt in the central Ghaba Salt basin in the South of Oman. Main source rocks, so called Cryogenian-Cambrian Huqf Supergroup are the oldest source rock for oil and gas. Further research is required to identify the best reservoirs for the storage of hydrogen which could be either an empty old gas reservoir or a cavern within one of the salt domes of Oman.

© GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer

 

Nobel Prize Laureate, Prof. Amano: “Towards a Zero Emission Society”

MUSCAT During an inspiring GUtech public talk by the Nobel Prize laureate (2014), Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano, held at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat last Wednesday, the Nobel winner called for an energy shift from oil-based economies towards renewable energies such as solar energy, reducing CO2 emissions by 80%. Prof. Amano stressed that an energy shift can prevent a further increase in temperatures worldwide. He and his research team are currently working on a long-term, interdisciplinary project to find innovative approaches towards developing a ‘Zero Emission Society”. Within this project, Prof. Amano and his colleagues have invented ‘movable offshore solar power stations’.  The so-called “Future Wireless Power Transmission Network” is an open innovation platform that develops sustainable, smart solutions for future energy challenges of our societies based on an Eco Research System. By using LED light, Japan reduced its annual electricity consumption by 7%. Today even in far reaching areas LED lights are used. A few years ago Prof. Amano visited Mongolia and was glad to see that LED lamps are used in the traditional Mongolian Ger tents.

Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano is a Doctor of Engineering and he is the Director of the Center for Integrated Research of Future Electronics (URFE) at the Institute of Materials and Systems for Sustainability (IMaSS) and he is the Director of the Akasaki Research Center at Nagoya University (Japan). He was awarded jointly for the Nobel Prize in Physics with Prof. Amano’s colleagues Prof. Dr. Isamu Akasaki and Prof. Dr. Shuji Nakamura in 2014. The three scientists received the Nobel Prize for their invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes LED lights which have enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources.

Prof. Amanos talk entitled “Lighting the world with LEDs” and the “Internet of Energy” was held under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Abdul Munim bin Mansoor Al Hassani, Minister of Information, on Wednesday evening at Kempinski Hotel Muscat, Al Mouj. A number of dignitaries including H.E. Hilal Al Hinai, Secretary General of The Research Council (TRC) attended the event, which was organized by the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in cooperation with Kempinski Hotel Muscat. Prof. Amano was accompanied by a delegation from Nagoya University (Japan) and the former Japanese Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, H.E. Seigi Marimoto.

© GUtech/Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: Fatma Al Balushi

GUtech Public Talk: “The Internet of Energy” by Prof. Hiroshi Amano, Nobel Prize Laureate, 11 September at 7 pm, Kempinski Hotel Muscat

A GUtech Nobel Lecture  at the Kempinski Hotel, Al Mouj on 11 September at 7 pm

HALBAN Under the auspices of Dr. Abdul Munim bin Mansour Al Hasani, Minister of Information, the Nobel Prize Laureate in Physics (2014), Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano, will give a special Nobel lecture entitled “Internet of Energy” on Wednesday, 11 September at 7 pm at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat in Al Mouj. The Nobel lecture is open to the general public and organised by the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in cooperation with the Kempinski Hotel Muscat. “We are very honored to welcome Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano as a distinguished speaker. Prof. Amano is not only an outstanding scientist, he is a great teacher and communicator, being able to make the audience curious and let them understand the subject of his scientific research,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano was awarded jointly for the Nobel Prize in Physics with his colleagues Prof. Dr. Isamu Akasaki and Prof. Dr. Shuji Nakamura in 2014. The three scientists received the Nobel Prize for their invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources, LED lights. Prof. Amano initiated a network of scientists who works on the “Internet of Energy”.