By Noimot Olayiwola/Staff Reporter
Sharing their individual organisation’s perspectives at a plenary on ‘Smart Infrastructure: The Next Generation’ at the World Climate Summit yesterday, experts examined how smart infrastructure as well as the latest technologies are essential for the greening of cities and nations.
The speakers at the panel moderated by The Prince of Wales’ Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change senior programme management Nicolette Bartlett, included Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (Kahramaa) president Eng Essa Ben Hilal al-Kuwari, Royal Philips Electronics chief executive officer (lighting) Eric Rondolat, Qatar 2022 program manager Jan Schoenig, European Investment Bank vice president Simon Brooks, BMW Group-Governmental Affairs vice president Andreas Klugescheid and Better Place chief executive officer Jonny Hansen.
The officials spoke about innovative ideas that could help in transforming the world through reducing emissions such as carbon-dioxide (CO2) and other pollutants, offering suggestions to bring about smart living, pointing out some factors that could militate against achieving fast smart infrastructural growth for the next generation.
Those options included smart lighting, smart mobility such as electric vehicles, intelligent traffic management system, combining public-private transport information system to avoid or prevent traffic jams, avoidance of all-inclusive smart infrastructure projects that cause monopoly and prove difficult to finance as well as addressing lack of awareness of newest technologies and their potentials aside guaranteeing long term project financing.
Al-Kuwari explained how Kahramaa uses the technologies to reduce per capita consumption of water and electricity in Qatar while making efforts to reduce CO2 emissions being generated at their production plants.
“We are aware that electricity production is generating huge amount of carbon-dioxide. In the US, where some 40% of CO2 is coming from the electricity industry, we found that around 18% of total CO2 in Qatar is from the electricity industry. Having this figure in mind, at Kahramaa, we are seeking ways to reduce the emissions even further,” he mentioned.
He disclosed that the production of both potable water and electricity in Qatar uses the natural sources, including the cleanest energy and the cleanest fuel available.
“Talking about smart infrastructure and how we can achieve it in Kahramaa, we are making use of clear fuel, highly-efficient combined cycled plant, solar power plant and renewable energy, that will reduce CO2 emissions and at the same time ensure an efficient transmission system,” he stated.
He mentioned that the company had earlier this year launched an initiative called Tasmeel targeting the reduction of capital consumption of electricity by 20% and that of water by 35%, taking into consideration Qatar’s per capita consumption is one of the highest in the world.
“If we achieve this target in five years, we will reduce our carbon footprint from 18% to 15%,” he maintained, adding: “We are working to introduce new technologies which will move our network to the era of smart infrastructure. We have intelligent metre infrastructure and we are about to implement and introduce smart metre…it’s the pilot project and already with the contractor.”
Al-Kuwari mentioned that Kahramaa is going to introduce around 17,000 smart metres for electricity and water during the pilot and get the feedback and the output of the technology before deploying it across the country. “By using this technology, we can generate useful data needed to balance demand and supply and thus reduce our consumption,” he said.
For the water system, he mentioned that the company is trying to improve the utilisation of water, taking into consideration that 100% of portable water in Qatar is being generated by burning natural gas.
“This is too expensive…that’s why we are trying to reduce the losses from 59% to 20%. It’s still a huge amount but we have succeeded and this is the first stage and the next phase will be soon - within the next three-four years. We are trying to reduce from 20% to 10% (5% reduction each in technical and financial side),” he explained.
“We are also going to improve our water system with the smart metres, sensors and all the valve…in order to be able to test the quality of water and this will be finishing soon,” he said.
Al-Kuwari stated that Kahramaa is taking actions on reducing energy use in district cooling (in the use of air conditioners) as between 65% to 70% of power consumption is the result of cooling efforts. “So, if we can reducing this, it means we are going to reduce energy use and also reduce electricity consumption by 70% and subsequently reduce CO2 emissions.We are trying to put policies and guidelines to also regulate all that in the country,” he disclosed further.