The University of Toledo welcomed alternative energy expert Dr. Sultan Al Jaber to campus Thursday to lead a green energy discussion and tour UT’s efforts in that area.
Al Jaber spoke to a crowded Doermann Theater about the Masdar Initiative that is Abu Dhabi’s multifaceted program to develop and commercialize renewable energy technologies. Al Jaber is chief executive officer of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., which is mandated by the government to drive the Masdar Initiative.
Since its inception in 2006, Al Jaber has been Masdar’s chief executive officer and the creative driving force behind the Masdar Initiative. The centerpiece of the initiative is the well-known Masdar City, which is a carbon-neutral, zero-waste municipality.
Al Jaber said Masdar is committed to Abu Dhabi’s economic diversification from a fossil fuel-based economy to a knowledge-led economy, expanding its position in the evolving global energy market, and positioning Abu Dhabi as a leading developer of advanced technologies and as a major contributor toward sustainable human development.
To achieve those goals will require a robust education system with strong research and development capabilities, he said.
“Academia is without a doubt one of the most crucial elements to the successful adoption of clean energy,” Al Jaber said. “It is responsible for developing and advancing technologies while cultivating the required researchers, academics and leaders that will fuel the renewable energy sector’s human capital requirements.”
Collaboration is another important element to support and drive innovation and development of clean energy technologies, Al Jaber said.
Al Jaber received an honorary degree from UT during the event in recognition of his achievements in the support and promotion of renewable energy in the United Arab Emirates and globally.
He said he was “deeply honored” to receive the degree and was most impressed with the significant strides the University has taken in the development of solar energy.
UT President Lloyd Jacobs said the role of a 21st century university is stewardship, which connects to sustainability, and he complimented His Excellency’s successes in this area.
“What is happening there in Abu Dhabi is truly remarkable. The limits of human capability are literally being challenged before one’s very eyes,” Jacobs said. “But what is equally striking to me is the similarity between Masdar’s audacious goals and ours here at The University of Toledo: [it] is uncanny. The congruence of their mission and goals with ours is truly striking. We are therefore deeply honored to share so much with Masdar City and Institute. We are honored to have this occasion to meet Dr. Al Jaber and by extending our hospitality to him and his colleagues, make the world a better place.”
After the morning event, Al Jaber spent the afternoon with University leaders for a campus tour that visited the College of Engineering, the Wright Center for Photovoltaics Innovation and Commercialization, and the UT Scott Park Campus for Energy and Innovation.
The visit concluded with a tour of Xunlight Corp. in Toledo, which is a solar panel company that started in the UT Clean and Alternative Energy Incubator.