The Rector of GUtech has met with the Vice-President of the German Bundestag

HALBAN The Rector of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, had the honour to meet with the Vice-President of the German Bundestag (Parliament), H.E. Thomas Oppermann at the German Bundestag (Parliament) in Berlin last week. They both discussed ways to further enhance the cooperation between GUtech and various stakeholders in Germany. “I was very pleased to meet with the Vice-President for the second time last week. We had a very good conversation on various topics related to our young, fast-growing university,” said Prof. Modigell.

The Vice-President of the Bundestag and an accompanying delegation visited GUtech in October 2018. During that visit, the Vice-President also met with two exchange students from RWTH Aachen University and with members of the GUtech Student Council.

(c) GUtech/ Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

“Huge tsunami hit Oman 1,000 years ago”: concluded by a recent study

A natural event of similar magnitude would have devastating consequences today, warn researchers at the University of Bonn, Germany.

Prof. Dr. habil. Gösta Hoffmann from the University of Bonn (Germany) who has been teaching as a fly-in professor at the Applied Geosciences Department, German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), has published a scientific paper along with his colleagues from the universities of Bonn, Jena, Freiburg and RWTH Aachen in the international scientific journal ‘Marine Geology’.

15-meter high waves that pushed boulders the weight of a Leopard tank inland: This is more or less how one can imagine the tsunami that hit the coast of today’s Sultanate of Oman about 1,000 years ago, as concluded by the recent study. The findings show how urgently the region needs a well-functioning early warning system. But even then, coastal residents would have a maximum of 30 minutes to get to safety in a similar catastrophe. The study will be published in the journal “Marine Geology”, but is already available online http://paleoseismicity.org/quaternary-sea-level-change-along-the-coastline-of-oman/.

Oman lies in the east of the Arabian Peninsula. The coasts of the Sultanate are repeatedly struck by tsunamis, most recently in 2013. Even with the most severe of these in recent times, the Makran event in 1945, the damage remained comparatively low. Back then, the tidal wave reached a height of three meters.

The scientists have now discovered evidence of a tsunami which is likely to have been much more powerful, with waves of up to 15 meters. For this purpose, the researchers from Bonn, Jena and Aachen concentrated their terrain investigations on a 200-kilometer coastal strip in northeastern Oman. “There we identified 41 large boulders, which were apparently carried inland by the force of the water,” explains Prof. Gösta Hoffmann from the Institute for Geosciences at the University of Bonn.

Quartz clock in the rock

Some of the boulders were probably formed when the tsunami shattered parts of the cliffs; for one of them, the largest weighing around 100 metric tons, scientists were even able to determine the exact point at which it broke off. Others show traces of marine organisms such as mussels or oysters that cannot survive on land. “Certain methods can be used to determine their time of death,” says the geologist Gösta Hoffmann. “This allowed us to establish when the boulders were washed ashore.”

The quartz crystals in the rock also represent a kind of clock: They provide information about the last time they were exposed to the sun. This allowed the scientists to deduce how long the rocks had been in the place where they were found. The scientists from Freiburg are specialists in this method. “Many of these measurements gave us a value of about 1,000 years,” emphasizes Prof. Hoffmann. “This corresponds well with the dating results of clay fragments we found in tsunami sediments. They originate from vessels used by coastal dwellers.”

The Arabian and Eurasian tectonic plates collide in the Arabian Sea. They move towards each other at a speed of about four centimeters per year. During this process, one plate slides beneath the other. Sometimes they get stuck in this subduction zone. This can cause tensions that intensify more and more over years and decades. If they suddenly come loose with a violent jolt, the water column above the plates starts to move. This can lead to the extremely destructive waves that are characteristic of tsunamis.

“So far it has been unclear to what extent the Arabian and Eurasian plates get stuck,” says Prof. Hoffmann. At the Makran event of 1945, for example, the effects were locally confined. The current findings, however, suggest that the tensions can also build up and unload on a very large scale – there is no other feasible explanation for the enormous forces at work at the time. “It is therefore extremely important that a tsunami early warning system is put in place for this region,” stresses the geologist.

Nevertheless, even a smaller tsunami would have devastating consequences today: A large part of the vital infrastructure in the Sultanate of Oman has been built near the coast, such as the oil refineries and seawater desalination plants. A well-functioning warning system can, however, at least give residents some time to get to safety. Not very much though: Tsunamis move at the speed of a passenger aircraft; in the best case, the time between the alarm and the wave’s impact would therefore be little more than 30 minutes.

Publication: Gösta Hoffmann, Christoph Grützner, Bastian Schneider, Frank Preusser and Klaus Reicherter: Large Holocene tsunamis in the northern Arabian Sea. Marine Geology, DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2019.106068

For more details please contact:

Dr. habil. Gösta Hoffmann,

Institute for Geosciences at the University of Bonn
Tel. +49 (0228) 73-4711
E-mail: ghoffman@uni-bonn.de

Turning plastic waste into fuel – An Engineering research project in cooperation with Oman Oil and Orpic Group

Promoting sustainable waste management and energy production

To reduce plastic waste, a joint research project between the Engineering Department of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and the Oman Oil and Orpic Group will study the feasibility of converting plastic waste into fuel. Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department at GUtech and head of the research project, presented the research during a talk entitled ‘Pyrolysis of Plastic Waste to Fuel’ during the International Exhibition K2019 held in Dusseldorf (Germany) last month. With more than 230,000 visitors, the exhibition was one of the most leading events in the plastics and rubber industry worldwide.

The research project between GUtech and Oman Oil and Orpic Group is an initiative for the growth of the circular economy in the Sultanate of Oman. “Plastic waste contributes to 20% of the approximately 2 million tons of municipal solid waste every day. Oman is one of the main oil producers. Petrochemical and plastic manufacturing is the main goal of many oil-producing countries. Finding a circular solution and recycling plastic waste will make Oman setting an example in waste management, a key factor in mitigating negative effects of landfilling and increased harmful emissions from incineration,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna. According to research, the average per capita waste generation in Oman is more than 1.2 kg per day. The research project is scheduled to start this year and will include a group of researchers and Engineering students from GUtech.

“In August this year a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between our university and Oman Oil and Orpic Group to enhance our bilateral cooperation including research and development of new ideas,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna. By next year Oman Oil and Orpic will increase the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP) to 1.4 million tons. “Our aim is to develop an innovative process to convert plastic waste into fuel, thus providing a technical solution to one of the most persisting environmental problems in Oman and as well worldwide. The new process will offer a sustainable solution for recycling millions of tons of plastic waste, thereby reducing CO2 emissions and other chemical pollutants and creating a potential for commercialisation,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna. Today’s recycling infrastructure and technologies in Oman cannot yet address the challenges of processing diverse types of plastic waste. For example, mechanical recycling requires plastic waste to be sorted and reduced in size before it can be used in the production of lower value products such as carpet fibres, bags, clothes and else.

(c) GUtech, text and photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Dr. Najah Al Mhanna

 

 

GUtech students conducted their internships at Seifert Logistics in Germany and Poland

As part of the BSc Logistics programme, two students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) have conducted a two-month internship at Seifert Logistics Group, in their offices in Germany and in Poland. Mubarak Al-Nasseri and Manaf Al Raisi are both studying Logistics in the 7th semester at GUtech. The main purpose of the internship was to learn more and understand more about how a logistics company works in Germany and in other European countries.

“During our internship, we were able to work in three different branches of Seifert Logistics Group. In the head offices in the German city of Ulm, in their branch in Jawor in Poland, and in Malsch, located in the South of Germany. I personally feel that I have received a lot of information about how logistics works. For instance, how to build-up a warehouse from scratch while considering different aspect such as the costs, design and functionality involved. During our internship we were both involved in 3D modelling warehouses, creating barcodes and in barcode scanning procedures or in creating a 2D floor-plan,” said Manaf Al Raisi. Their European colleagues at Seifert Logistics were very helpful and friendly. They introduced them to life in Germany. “I believe that my German language skills have improved because I had to practise the language. I have made many friends and I have met a lot of people from different backgrounds that helped to settle in Germany. Our colleagues also showed us around the southern part of the country. Overall, we were both enjoying the time in Europe and we are very grateful for such a special internship opportunity,” said Manaf Al Raisi.

Caption: At the head office of Seifert Logistics: Manaf Mohammed Al Raisi (second from left) and Mubarak Nasseri from GUtech along with Dario Dante Oncak (right) and Lukas Niewiara from Seifert Logistics (left)

 

 

Learning German is Fun!

HALBAN The German Language Unit of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has conducted a special ‘Thanksgiving-Fun-Activity’ in their new ‘German Activity Room’ launched this semester. Thanksgiving is a special event celebrated in the Western world at the end of the harvest season in autumn. To apply new German words and to improve their active vocabulary, students were competing with each other in German word-games. For example, different fruits like cherries, grapes, mangos or watermelon were applied during the game. While preparing a dish together with their lecturer, the students were actively learning about the fruits. “These events will be held monthly at our newly established German activity room,” said Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt.

“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. “The German Language Unit has planned different events in order to motivate the students to learn and practice the German language, to learn more about the German culture and to socialize outside the classroom with each other while applying the German language,” said Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt, German lecturer and coordinator of the German Language Unit. The organizers of this first event were Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt as well as German lecturers Ms. Aliaksandra Bialko, Ms. Rim Abdulla, Anoud Al Badri and Mrs. Claudia Schmidt, Representative of the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD and German lecturer at GUtech.

“At the end of the third semester the students are can opt for passing the A1 exam of the Goethe Institute, which certifies them the first, basic language level. We are very happy that DAAD is supporting our German Unit with a Teaching Assistant this year,” said Mrs. Claudia Schmidt. The DAAD has been supporting the German Unit since the establishment of GUtech in 2007. To learn the basics of the language, GUtech students study German for three semesters.

Engineering students visited Barka-1 Power and Desalination Plant

As part of the first interdisciplinary Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” held at GUtech recently, GUtech students from different programmes and their professors have visited the Barka-1 Power and Desalination Plant. The plant is owned by ACWA Power Barka while being operated and maintained by NOMAC Oman. The power and desalination plant provides the Al Batinah regions and Muscat with power and water, generated through the power, desalination and seawater osmosis plants. “During the site visit the group saw the main plant consisting of two gas turbines with a capacity of 117 MW each, one steam turbine with a capacity of 222 MW and three desalination plants, Multi Stage Flushing, with a capacity of 20 million imperial gallons per day (MIGD). The students were also able to visit the Seawater Reverse Expansion-1, having a capacity of 10 MIGD and the Seawater Reverse Expansion-2 with a capacity of 12.5 MIGD. These seawater plants serve the community with drinking water while supplying water to the Public Authority of Water. We comply with ISO 14001 standards and with environmental rules and regulation,” said Talal Al Mabsali, Power and Desalination Team Leader at NOMAC Oman while adding: “At Barka-1 Power and Desalination Plant, we consider the natural and social environment as our main concern. NOMAC Oman has recently initiated various Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives (CSR) in cooperation with the government and the private sector, such as a paper recycling awareness initiative. Recently we also participated in a greenhouse gas initiative in cooperation with the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA),” said Talal Al Mabsali.

The two-week interdisciplinary Summer School on “Climate Change Response Strategies for Sustainable Land Use and Water Management” was conducted in cooperation with professors from Brandenburg Technical University, Cottbus – Senftenberg/ Germany. The workshops were related to all Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science programmes offered at GUtech. The Summer School was held for the first time and focused on Sustainable Development and Climate Change, Climate Change Response Strategies, Emerging Issues on Environmental Law and Environmental Assessment with a particular focus on sustainable land use and water management, combining different teaching techniques such as lectures, case studies and group work.

 

 

 

 

”SAP Arabic Terminology Revising Initiative” launched at GUtech

In cooperation with SAP, the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), has recently launched the SAP Arabic Terminology Revising Initiative which aims to create a unified language for their products and services, while considering cultural and technical aspects. Technical terms are understood differently from one culture to another. SAP wishes to harmonize these technical terms from the “source language” to the “target language”. Since languages are like living things, they can develop as societies grow, SAP has come up with an initiative to revise and enhance the technical terminologies in Arabic in collaboration with a number of selected distinguished universities in the Arab world. Through this unique initiative, student teams in their final years of university are to conduct a terminology revision together with SAP experts and professional translators. Revised terminologies are then to be made available to Arabic-speaking researchers, students, translators and editors through our open source and free-of-charge portal: SAPTERM.com. GUtech students from Computer Sciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Applied Geosciences, Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering, Environmental Engineering will contribute with their expertise to the localization of Arabic in software applications in Oman.

“In our project at GUtech, the aim is to find Arabic terms, that are widely understood and “to hit the nail”, to reflect the exact and concise meaning of what is meant in the source language. For our students involved in such a project, it opens a wide range of opportunities to understand and apply ‘tech-lingo’ in their future work environment,” said Heiderose Moossen from TSSC at GUtech. Heiderose Moossen is the supervisor of the SAP project, having initiated the cooperation with SAP two years ago. Throughout the last decade, it was noticeable that a considerable number of Arabic users were ignoring the Arabic versions of the software products offered by various companies including SAP. They preferred to use the products in other languages such as English.

“GUtech is one of the leading Universities of Technology in the region and is well known for its social responsibility and support of the Arabic language, we are honoured to be invited as the first university in Oman for partaking in this initiative. Together, we can enrich the Arabic electronic content on the Internet by unifying the technical terminology in Arabic, which in turn will benefit the Arabic end-users and help Arabic speakers to make the best use of modern technology without the need to rely on other languages,” she said. “Students will work in teams and will receive given sets of terms, where they undertake the required research and finalize their revision, followed by supervisory calls and discussions on the results in upcoming meetings with Mr Abdullah El Sahhar, SAP Project Manager in Dubai. All needed materials will be provided by SAP. The project duration is 15 weeks. We request students to invest 3 hours work per week into the project,” said Heiderose Moossen while adding that “The localization of products is a process that developed through globalization. It is a rather unknown concept, as many suppliers believe, they can simply transfer their products unadapted to a new market, without understanding the local culture, handling, or even care to know whether people need their products or not,” said Moossen.  Therefore, the localisation supports the adaptation of international products while respecting local identities. The way products are used and marketed in Europe may not apply to the Middle East and vice versa. The same applies for the use of a certain terminology. Heiderose Moossen said: “This SAP project facilitates a deep understanding of terminologies, efficient team-work and cooperation as well as marketing and applying new technologies. It represents a strong commitment to the global community. Students will contribute with their work and knowledge to the community needs. The final results of the SAP Terminology Revising project will be disseminated free-of-charge and online via SAP, so that everyone can look up certain terms. “We at GUtech value this project as a community service. It is allocated under the GUtech ICE, Industry & Community Engagement Committee. SAP is investing in 2 million terms for each foreign language, and each term in its determination process costs 10 Euro, i.e. 20 Mio Euro. One can imagine, how important it is, when people from different cultural and language backgrounds, use a specific terminology so that experts understand each other immediately without further discussions on the meaning,” said Heiderose Moossen.

At the end of the three months “SAP Arabic Terminology Revising Initiative” project, participating students will receive a “Certificate of Participation & Appreciation”. Students will also be able to register for other upcoming SAP training, such as YPP, held in Oman. GUtech alumni can also register and submit their CVs to the SAP clients’ pool. GUtech is cooperating with SAP since 2017. The university is running the S/4 HANA in its NextGen Laboratory. SAP is the largest global software producer, operating in over 180 countries, with more than 350,000 customers. A selected group of 25 students studied in Feb 2019 SAP Business Integration touching the fundaments of the state-of-the-art SAP system S/4 Hana used by many companies worldwide including in Oman.

(c) GUtech

 

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

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

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 specialisation 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