Solar Energy in Saudi Arabia: Perspectives

Saudi Arabia, the epicenter of global oil industry, has been showing keen interest in solar energy in recent years. Saudi Arabia has one of the world’s highest solar irradiation in the world, estimated at approximately 2,200 thermal kWh of solar radiation per m2. The country is strategically located near the Sun Belt, in addition to plentiful availability of empty stretches of desert that may accommodate infrastructure for solar power projects. Vast deposits of sand can be used in the manufacture of silicon PV cells which makes Saudi Arabia an attractive location for solar industry. “The resource is stunning; land is … Continue reading

Energy Efficiency in Residential Sector in Saudi Arabia

The energy demand in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has increased steadily with an average annual increase close to 5% since 2010[1]. Such rise is driven mainly by the economic prosperity of the region, the rapid industrial development of the Kingdom, and the population growth. However, the per capita energy consumption of KSA is almost three times higher than the world average[2], explained by the presence of energy-intensive industries, harsh climate conditions, and a high energy demanding lifestyle encouraged by historical low energy prices. Link between Economic Growth and Energy Consumption Although the link between economic growth and energy consumption … Continue reading

Asbestos Waste Management in MENA

Each year countries from the Middle East and North Africa import large amount of asbestos for use in the construction industry. As per the last known statistics, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 20% of world demand for the material. Iran and the United Arab Emirates are among the biggest consumers of the material. Infact, the entire Middle East has been steadily increasing their asbestos imports, except for Egypt and Saudi Arabia, which are the only two countries that have placed bans on asbestos but with questionable effectiveness. Iran alone has been reported to order 30,000 tons of asbestos each year. More than 17,000 … Continue reading

Carbon Capture and Storage: Prospects in GCC

Gulf Cooperation Council countries are burgeoning economies which are highly dependent on hydrocarbons to fuel their needs for economic growth. GCC nations are fully aware of the mounting consequences of increasing levels of CO­2 on the environment, mainly attributed to soaring energy demand of domestic and industrial sector. Regional countries are undertaking concrete steps and measures to reduce their carbon footprint through the introduction of renewable energy and energy efficiency measures. Among other options, Carbon Capture and Storage, popularly known as CCS, can be an attractive proposition for GCC nations. What is CCS Carbon capture and storage (or carbon capture and sequestration) … Continue reading

Red Palm Weevil – A Real Threat for Date Palms in Middle East

A modern day threat to agriculture across the globe is the red palm weevil (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus). This creature is native to South Asia but it rather rapidly spreading its wings and crossing the globe. The red palm weevil can completely destroy palm groves, be it coconut, date or palm oil. Over the immediate past 30 years, the red palm weevil (also known as red date weevil) has penetrated over 60 countries and is now reaching the Middle East,  northern Africa, southern Europe and across to the Caribbean. Emergence in the Middle East The weevil began to appear in Saudi Arabia … Continue reading

Understanding Sand and Dust Storms

Sand and dust storms are regular occurrences around the world and more common in arid and semi-arid regions, such as the Middle East. Dust storms play an important role in global dust cycle, and can alter the radiative balance. It can damage agricultural crops and retard plant growth and alter the life cycle of the marine benthic organisms due to less sun light penetration into the sea floor. Dust storms can cause social disruption, economic loss and adverse impact on human health. When the visibility is below 1000 meters on a dusty day, it is considered that dust storm is occurring. … Continue reading

Food Wastes Disposal Methods

Food waste is one of the most prominent waste streams across Middle East, especially in GCC region.  The mushrooming of hotels, restaurants, fast-food joints and cafeterias in the Middle East region has resulted in the generation of huge quantities of food wastes. The proportion of food waste in municipal waste stream is gradually increasing and hence a proper food waste management strategy needs to be devised to ensure its eco-friendly and sustainable disposal in the Middle East.  Food waste is an untapped energy source that mostly ends up rotting in landfills, thereby releasing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Food waste includes organic … Continue reading

Organic Industrial Wastes in the Middle East

Organic industrial waste includes a wide range of organic materials obtained from industrial and commercial operation. Industries in Middle East countries produces a large number of organic residues and by-products whose disposal is a major problem for stake-holders. In recent decades, the fast-growing food and beverage processing industry has remarkably increased in importance in major countries of the Middle East. Since the early 1990s, the increased agricultural output stimulated an increase in fruit and vegetable canning as well as juice, beverage, and oil processing in countries like Egypt, Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia. There are many technologically-advanced dairy products, bakery … Continue reading

Gas Flaring and Venting in MENA: Need for Urgent Action

Every year global oil producers waste precious natural gas by flaring and venting equivalent to the combined gas consumption of Central and South America. The top twenty major gas flaring and venting countries in the world include Russia, Nigeria, Iran, Iraq, Angola, Venezuela, Qatar, Algeria, the United States, Kuwait, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, Libya, Mexico, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Congo, the United Kingdom, and Gabon. Gas flaring and venting have been known to be associated with crude oil processing in oil fields. Newer oil wells are equipped for the recovery of both oil well gas and crude oil and hence the gas … Continue reading

Sustainability Principles in Traditional Islamic Architecture

Islam came with many sustainability and environmental conservation principles, which appeared in all aspects of the Islamic society. This green vision of Islam is also reflected in the city planning and traditional architecture. Infact, Islamic cities were shaped by Islamic beliefs on environmental conservation and sustainability. The traditional house adopted in Islamic architecture respects the environment in more ways than one: first by minimizing the impact of harsh natural environment conditions such as hot climate, relative humidity and solar radiation intensity, second by maximizing the potential possibilities of these conditions to achieve the thermal comfort of inhabitants and utilizing the … Continue reading

Environmental Education: Key to a Better Future

Tomorrow's leaders need to be equipped for tomorrow's challenges, and we must adequately prepare our children for the future they will inherit. As climate change is being felt across the globe and its long term catastrophic impacts have never been so scientifically clear, environmental education is the key to a better future. In an era where more and more children are disconnected from nature, we should recognize the importance of making a real investment in environmental education and outdoor learning. Studies have shown environmental education engages students in learning, raising test scores, and encouraging youth to pursue career in environmental and … Continue reading

Sustainability in MENA Cement Industry

The population in the MENA countries has doubled during the last 30 years (from ca. 110m in 1980 to almost 220m in 2010). As per conservative estimates, the rate of urbanisation in the MENA countries will exceed 70% five years from today (average for all developing countries: 54%). The proceeding urbanisation and the population increase involve several problems and challenges for the national governments and also for the cement industry. The cement production of countries in the MENA region has almost tripled during the last 15 years up to approximately 500m tons  Since the start of national revolts and demonstrations in … Continue reading

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