GUtech and BP Oman Partnership to Boost R&D Collaboration Through Ejaad Platform

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) receives a funding grant from BP Oman for a multi-purposes research project relating to Solar Photovoltaics (PV) panels through Ejaad Protocol, the platform tasked to boost R&D collaboration between industry and academia in Oman.

GUtech, represented by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell, the Rector, and BP Oman, represented by Yousuf Al Ojaili, the President, have signed a Grant Agreement today, Monday 28 October, to fund a research study on the performance of Solar Photovoltaics (PV) panels.

The first phase of the project will focus on studying the effect of weather parameters (e.g. temperature, shadow, humidity, wind, etc.) and soiling on PV panels. In the second phase, the team will concentrate on creating a robot cleaner ought to address the adverse effects of soiling for a more stable energy production.

Optimising the energy production of PV panels in Oman can’t be achieved without assessing the loss of energy experienced due to the local weather conditions, The Rector of GUtech said at the signing and continued: “we feel a huge responsibility for the success of this ICV partnership with BP Oman.”

Yousuf Al Ojaili, BP Oman President commented about the importance of industry and academia cooperation: “We are proud of our partnership with GUtech. It is aligned with our strategic vision to support research and development in the energy sector and is part of our contribution to In Country Value.” He added, “This partnership reaffirms the alignment between industry and academia which can bring significant progress in research outputs and addresses a specific subject of solar energy hence helping in green energy agenda.”

Under the one-year-long agreement, the study will be undertaken by GUtech researchers and Omani fresh graduates, in collaboration with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and Hussam Technology Company (HTC).

“PV panels are now increasingly used in Oman. We look forward to opening our laboratories for GUtech team to carry on much needed research on optimising PV panels performance through measuring the adverse effects of local weather conditions on PV cells.” said Dr Rashid Al Abri from the College of Engineering at SQU. Dr Al Abri will be co-supervising the project progress along Al Humairi from GUtech.

We see this project as an incredible opportunity to understand the effect of weather conditions, as well as soiling on the performance of PV panels,” said Ali Al Humairi from the Faculty of Computer Science and Engineering at GUtech. “We are looking forward to kicking off the work on the project along two fresh graduates in November.”

HTC is chosen for this project as the sole supplier of all parts needed to carry on the study and create the cleaner robot and a provider of technical support. “The cooperation with GUtech and SQU in this project allows not only for the bundling of efforts, but above all brings minds from academia and the industry together for the advancement of research outputs.” Commented Dr Firas Al Abduwani, from HTC.

GUtech campus is home to the BP Oman funded solar facility that has culminated from collaborations between SGS and HTC back in 2018 and since then has been used for providing training and PV certification to technicians and students. “ A cleaning robot to clear out soiling off the panels in the facility on our campus is much needed.” Elaborated Al Humairi. Continuous cleaning of panels can’t be avoided due to the accumulation of soiling which decreases power output. “Creating an automatic device ought to eliminate risks associated with manual cleaning, maximise the panels power output, and minimise humans involvement.” Explained Al Humairi.

The signing ceremony was held on the sidelines of Ejaad 2nd Leadership Forum event, under the patronage of HE Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, and attended by several chief executive officers and researchers from across industrial and academic institutions in the Sultanate.

(c) GUtech Text: Fatima El Madkouri & Photo: Fatma Al Balushi

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