UK royal opens Masdar’s new clean-tech innovation hub
The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, better known as Masdar, has hailed the official opening of the Masdar Building, which houses The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC).
The company said the opening by Prince Andrew, Duke of York, is an important step forward in its commitment to advancing clean-tech innovation around the world.
Masdar is the principal financier of the purpose-built facility, state news agency WAM reported.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, said: “The Masdar Building reflects our combined efforts to incubate technologies that will unlock clean energy solutions and sustainable development globally.
“Our partnership with The University of Manchester, and the Khalifa University of Science and Technology, represents a journey of innovation and discovery to transform graphene into real-world, commercially viable solutions.”
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Stronger than steel, thinner than paper and highly flexible, graphene was first isolated by University of Manchester scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, who were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010 for their ground-breaking experiments.
Graphene’s unique properties could be used for a range of applications in the future, including energy storage solutions, water purification technology, lightweight aeroplanes, mobile phones, and even clothing.
Scientists from the Khalifa University of Science and Technology and The University of Manchester have been pursuing a number of research projects in graphene.
These include developing 3D printed foams for the aerospace and robotics industries, using graphene sheets to enhance water treatment and desalination technologies, and producing graphene-based inks as micro-sensors for energy and other industry applications.
“The centre supports the business strategy of Masdar to participate in advanced clean technologies as soon as they show commercial potential,” Al Ramahi added.
Over the past 10 years, Masdar has invested in a number of renewable energy projects in the United Kingdom, including London Array, one of the world’s largest offshore wind farms, and Hywind Scotland, the world’s first commercial-scale floating wind farm.
Combined, the UK renewable energy projects in which Masdar is a partner represent a total power generating capacity of more than 1 gigawatt – enough clean energy to supply nearly one million homes.
The 8,400 sq m GEIC building, designed by architect Rafael Vinoly, is located on the university’s North Campus. It will house pilot production facilities and conduct research into other advanced materials, as well as graphene.
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