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Texas A&M at Qatar showcases impact of research

Published Jan 09, 2024

The positive impact that Texas A&M at Qatar and its collaborators are having on the country was highlighted at the 2023 Research Partnership Showcase that was held recently. 

The presenters discussed the university’s focus on addressing Qatar’s Grand Challenges and helping Qatar meet the goals of its National Vision through innovation as the country evolves into a competitive and diversified economy.

The aim of the annual event, which was attended by stakeholders, staff, faculty and students, is to strengthen Texas A&M at Qatar’s partnerships with key local stakeholders to maximize shared collaborative opportunities and the pursuit of mutual research interests that are of direct relevance to Qatar.

The key success stories showcased included: “Upcycling construction materials for resilient infrastructure,” which highlighted the partnership between Texas A&M at Qatar, QAPCO and Raetex Doha and led Dr. Eyad Masad that is developing technology to improve the performance of asphalt binder by using recycle polyethylene waste an asphalt modifier.

Dr. Nimir Elbashir discussed the CARGEN technology that not only presents a potential economic incentive of significant cost reduction of carbon nanotube manufacturing, but also brings significant sustainability benefit of converting large amounts of waste carbon dioxide emissions to solid, stable product.

The impact of the Mary Kay O'Connor Process Safety Center was also presented. Dr. Luc Vechot explained how the center at Texas A&M at Qatar was transforming how process safety is perceived by the community in Qatar and the region, and how the center contributes in this area by educating new generations of engineers committed to process safety, performing process safety research relevant to Qatar, building process safety competence in industry, and organizing the annual Qatar Process Safety Symposium.

Showcasing the Smart Grid Center, Dr. Haitham Aby-Rub spoke about working closely with Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Kahramaa and Iberdrola. He highlighted various projects including the grid connected renewable energy systems and electric vehicle charging stations, the hybrid multigrid and smart asset management.

Each of the four engineering academic program chairs reiterated their commitment to their strategic impact initiatives: Supporting Qatar’s hydrocarbon industry transition (Chemical Engineering Program), AI-driven innovative engineering solutions for Qatar’s economy and society (Electrical and Computer Engineering Program), smart and sustainable manufacturing (Mechanical Engineering Program) and data analytics for enhancing the energy sector’s exploration and production value chain (Petroleum Engineering Program).

During the successful industry collaborations session on health, Dr. Reza Tafreshi and Dr. Othmane Bouhali spoke about their projects in partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation, “A novel exoskeleton system for the rehabilitation of patients with upper limb impairments” and “Classification of cervix cancer using diffusion weighted imaging,” respectively.

Also showcased were the sustainability-focused projects, “Green hydrogen production” led by Dr. Kakosimos Konstantinos and his team in partnership with Qatar Shell, and “Decarbonization and the shipping industry” led by Dr. Dhabia Al Mohannadi in collaboration with American Bureau of Shipping. The other speakers in the energy cluster included Dr. Thomas Seers who spoke about his partnership with TotalEnergies Qatar and North Oil Company, and Dr. Aziz Rahman who spoke about his project in partnership with TotalEnergies Qatar, QatarEnergy LNG.

As part of the resilience cluster, Dr. Ali Ghrayeb highlighted his collaborative project with Qatar Shell and Dr. Bing Guo spoke about his work with AGRICO to improve the quality of hydroponic tomato production in Qatar.

Addressing the guests at the event, Dr. César Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “Our research program includes a remarkable diversity of achievements, insights, innovations and discoveries produced by our faculty and students. Texas A&M at Qatar’s research has had — and will have — direct impact not just on Qatar’s present, but also on its future as a knowledge economy.”

He continued, “As we enter the third decade of our campus in Qatar, we sharpened our focus on achieving research impact that addresses key challenges that Qatar is facing. We have enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with industry in Qatar and continue to look for ways to explore, encourage, enrich and expand collaborations for the benefit of the State of Qatar. We look forward to further strengthen and expand these partnerships and are proud to partner with industry collaborators to help realize sustainable solutions to real-world issues with high relevance to Qatar and contribute to Qatar’s goal of being a knowledge-based economy.”

There was also a panel discussion featuring national leaders from the industry to discuss industry-academia interactions. The panelists were Dr. Yousuf Abdulla Rebeeh, Chief Engineering Officer, Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO); Dr. Lina Rueda, R&D and Innovation Manager, Qatar Shell Research and Technology Center: Dr. Muhammad N. Ibrahim, Advisor, Field Development Planning, SLB; and Mourad Elmaalaoui, Chief Technology Officer, Rheinmetall Barzan Advanced Technologies.