Geologist Peter Kelemen has been working in the desert of Oman for more than 15 years to study natural chemical reactions within rare deep-earth rocks that pull carbon from the air and lock it into solid mineral form. His goal: harnessing and speeding up those reactions to remove carbon on an industrial scale. Based in large part on his research, Omani entrepreneurs recently formed 44.01, a company working to scale up and commercialize the processes. The company was just awarded a $1.2 million Earthshot Prize by Prince William, heir to the British throne, in a televised ceremony in Boston. Founded in 2021, the prize is aimed at funding five cutting-edge environmental ventures each year through 2030. We spoke with Kelemen about the science behind the project, its current state, and its prospects for the future.

Geologist Peter Kelemen surveys an outcrop of exposed mantle rock in Oman. The light material is a carbon-based mineral that has reacted with the rock to form a solid deposit. (Kevin Krajick/Earth Institute)

Tell me about the rocks in Oman, and what makes them special.

The mountains of northern Oman and along the coast of the United Arab Emirates host a huge block of oceanic crust and upper mantle that was thrust onto the edge of the Arabian continent starting 96 million years ago. It is 350 kilometers long, up to 50 kilometers wide, and many kilometers thick. It is tilted, and exposes rocks that formed more than 20 kilometers below the sea floor. Surface exposures of the Earth’s mantle are quite rare, and this is the largest in the world. Spectacular canyons cut through it, so you can literally walk down into what used to be the Earth’s interior. Rocks like this react rapidly with CO2 in the atmosphere and surface water, and this forms solid carbonate minerals, for example limestone. The process is spontaneous. So we’ve been seeking to understand how it works, and then design methods that accelerate it in order to store significant amounts of CO2 on a human time scale. We are focusing on injecting CO2 dissolved in water underground. It might use a lot of water, and of course water is very valuable in the Middle East, so we look for areas near the coast, where there is an essentially infinite supply.

How did 44.01 start, and what is your involvement?

I and my colleague Jürg Matter, who was formerly at Columbia, were first approached by on Omani entrepreneur, Talal Hasan, in about 2017, when he was working for Oman’s sovereign wealth fund. Talal hoped to persuade the government to invest in CO2 storage in the mantle rocks. But then he ended up leaving the fund, and he and a childhood friend founded 44.01. Jürg now works with them about half time. I plan to remain in more of an advisory role.

Where would the carbon come from?

44.01 has obtained a solar-powered device that removes CO2 directly from air, from the Swiss company Climeworks. They’re operating it near Oman’s capital city, Muscat. For pilot studies, we could also use CO2 captured from smokestack sources, like the many gas-fired power plants, water desalination plants and other industrial operations in Oman and the UAE.

How far has the company come, and how would it make money?

We’ve obtained government permits and run some small pilot projects at a former scientific drilling site. We are now planning two much larger pilot projects, both expected to take place in 2023. Ideally we would achieve substantial results before the COP28 meeting in the UAE, in 2023. Eventually, we hope, some government or group of governments would pay them to lock up the carbon, at a rate of maybe $30 a ton. Globally, such costs end up being a few percent of GDP, comparable to the current costs of solid waste management.

What difficulties might the project face?

The main concern is that the rocks are not very porous.. That leads to two difficulties. One, it can be difficult to get fluids to circulate rapidly through the rocks, and two, the pore space might eventually clog up with newly formed carbonate minerals. However, we are inspired by the fact that in some places the rocks have naturally become fully carbonated. That is, every magnesium and calcium atom in them has combined with CO2 to create solid minerals. So we know this can happen, and we have ideas about how it works. We have done theoretical calculations, and conducted experiments at the laboratory scale. But in the end, only field scale experiments will allow us to refine methods to do this at a reasonable cost.

Are there other places with similar rocks?

Yes, but Oman and the UAE are the best. The next largest outcrops are in New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea. They would be great places to take CO2 from the air, but I think we need to demonstrate that this process works on the Arabian peninsula before trying to get things going on islands in the southwest Pacific. There are other, smaller areas that could work, including parts of California and Oregon. However, those spots are water-limited, and I expect local stakeholders would be concerned about that. Then there are small coastal outcrops in southeast Alaska that have a lot of potential and plenty of water, but they are so remote that I think we need to provide proof of concept before we can justify operations there.

Are you continuing research in Oman or elsewhere?

In addition to forming solid carbonate minerals, the reaction of surface waters with mantle rocks can form free hydrogen gas. It is widely viewed as a potential replacement for fossil fuels, specifically natural gas and oil, for transportation and home heating. And if derived at low cost from natural sources, it could also be used to generate electricity. We are continuing academic research on the rate of hydrogen formation, and studying ways that could be accelerated. In the United States and Canada, we are also investigating how some mining ores could not only lock up carbon, but help with the extraction of nickel and cobalt—essential ingredients that will be used extensively in electric vehicles and renewable energy generation in the next few decades.

Did you get to attend the awards ceremony?

No. The Earthshot organization wished to limit their carbon footprint, so rather than flying dozens of people to Boston from all over the world, they organized an award event in Oman for the 44.01 personnel there, and filmed that. The resulting video, and similar films of other awardees were shown at the awards ceremony.

Source: https://news.climate.columbia.edu/2022/12/12/with-major-prize-a-project-to-turn-carbon-emissions-to-stone-gains-momentum/

The Sustainable City-Yiti (TSCY) has reaffirmed its commitment to Oman and its economy.

The Sustainable City-Yiti is being developed by Sustainable Development Investment Company (SDIC), a partnership between Diamond Developers and Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran Group).

The billion-dollar development aims to support the goals of the Oman Vision 2040, as well as the National Tourism Strategy, by creating a live-work-thrive city, that is green, energy efficient, and people-centric.

It is also playing an integral role in contributing to in-country value for the sultanate, with 78.65 per cent of Omani-sourced goods and materials being sourced in the past six months alone. More than 58 SMEs in Oman have also benefited from the works undertaken at TSCY in the last two quarters.

Scheduled to complete in 2025, the development has supported more than 1,800 jobs during construction, both direct and indirect, generating over 961,000-man hours to date.

Eng Ammar Sulaiman al Kharusi, head of development at Omran Group said, “We are delighted to play our part in strengthening the economy of Oman, from the tourism sector to SMEs and the huge number of employment opportunities through this exciting project. Ours is a truly sustainable development in every sense of the word and by driving in-country value across the board, we are further contributing to the growth and prosperity of the sultanate.”

TSCY will consist of 300 villas, 1,225 apartments and 132 luxury serviced apartments. The community also includes indoor and vertical farms, a central plaza with a mall, a school, a nursery, two hotels, a sports complex, medical clinics, an autism center, and an institute.

Home to 10,000 residents and visitors once complete, The Sustainable City – Yiti will be the largest operational sustainable community in the world, with ambitions to be the first Net Zero Carbon community in Oman by 2040. The city is designed to deliver measurable outcomes across all three pillars of sustainability: social, environmental, and economic, bringing forward the UN emission reduction targets for 2050.

The city follows the blueprint for low-carbon living that was pioneered by the first ‘The Sustainable City’, which opened in Dubai in 2016. The model ensures a reduction in carbon footprint, from design to operation, using disruptive innovation to achieve transformational societal change.

Source: Muscat Daily https://www.muscatdaily.com/2022/11/28/sustainable-city-yiti-outlines-commitment-to-oman/

Developers of green hydrogen projects in the Sultanate of Oman will be eligible for land concessions spanning 47 years, among other incentives, a key official of the Ministry of Energy and Minerals has stated.

Eng Abdulaziz al Shidhani , Director General Renewable Energy and Hydrogen, noted that land allocations – covering blocks of around 320 sq kilometres apiece – will be based on a competitive bidding system, registrations for which opened earlier this week.

“What are we providing for investors is a (concession) for a duration of 47 years from the signing of the project development agreement and sub-usufruct award,” said Eng Al Shidhani. “Land lease starts with a floor of 20 baizas per square metre, which ultimately will be based on a competitive bidding process,” he stated, adding that the already reduced land fees will be further discounted during the development stages by up to 100 per cent.

Speaking at a media briefing earlier this week, the official pointed out that the Omani government, for its part, will be entitled to receive base royalties (starting from 5 per cent in kind) and surplus royalties. In addition, a 20 per cent stake in the project must be offered to a government-owned entity – presently OQ, the state-owned integrated global energy group. Furthermore, project developers have to bear applicable corporate taxes, he said.

Significantly, the scope of green hydrogen projects covers integrated development encompassing renewables generation, green hydrogen production, derivatives conversion, and offtake of output. Common infrastructure, such as pipelines for water and hydrogen, will be tendered out separately.

The government, for its part, is not committed to offtaking any electricity output from the project, primarily because it has its own strategy to procure new renewables capacity to meet the country’s energy requirements, he said.

The official stressed that land allocations will only be made to serious developers. “Oman is looking for real investors; those who will not be utilising the allocated land within a specific timeframe for their intended project will have the land taken away from them.”

While the Ministry of Energy and Minerals will play the role of regulator and policymaker for the new green hydrogen industry, its implementation will be closely orchestrated by Hydrogen Oman (Hydrom), the new state-owned entity established as a subsidiary of Energy Development Oman (EDO).

“Hydrom will oversee the entire operation – managing the common infrastructure, the bidding process, and so on, while also coordinating the off-take between the investors. It will also oversee coordination between the investors and utilities, such as the existing electricity and water companies, the gas network, and the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones,” he added.

Oman has set up Hydrom, a fully owned subsidiary of Energy Development Oman SAOC (EDO) to meet its goal of becoming one of the largest green hydrogen producers globally, targeting production of one million tons by 2030.

Regulated by the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Hydrom’s mandate includes the delineation of Government-owned land areas and the structuring of associated large-scale world-class green hydrogen projects, managing the process for their allocation to developers as well as facilitating the development of common infrastructure and connected ecosystem industries and hubs in close collaboration with the Public Authority for Special Economic Zones and Free Zones (Opaz).

On November 6, Hydrom will be opening a first public bid round aimed at awarding the first land blocks by 2023 to meet the 2030 production target, reported Oman News Agency (ONA).

Mazin Al Lamki Chief Executive Officer of Energy Development Oman said: “We are delighted to announce the new brand identity of Hydrom, a fully owned autonomous subsidiary of EDO. Working in tandem with the ambitious government plans, Hydrom will leverage the Sultanate of Oman’s location and abundant solar and wind resources to produce green hydrogen and support the government’s drive to reduce the carbon footprint and achieve decarbonization targets”.

Dr Firas Al Abduwani Acting Managing Director of Hydrom said: “We at Hydrom look forward to working with international partners to build the future of energy. The bid round we announced today is the first of its kind globally and we are convinced it will help accelerate the development of the green hydrogen industry in Oman and globally”.

These new ambitious sustainability initiatives come a few weeks before COP27 in Egypt, in which Oman is set to take part.

Salim Nasser Al Aufi, Minister of Energy and Minerals, unveiled the Sultanate of Oman’s new climate commitment and its ambitious green hydrogen strategy during a press conference in Muscat yesterday (October 23).

Oman has committed to reaching Net Zero Emissions in 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement’s objectives of limiting global warming to 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial levels. To lead its transition towards a green economy, His Majesty gave directions to set up Oman Sustainability Centre. The centre will be the leading body undertaking the supervising and follow-up plans and programmes of carbon neutrality.

Al Aufi said: “Oman is committed to decarbonize and help the world decarbonize. The pathway to net zero is an opportunity for Oman to create economic value, increase industrial competitiveness and attract investments to help diversify and strengthen the country’s economy.

Green hydrogen presents itself as a key vector that enables Oman to pursue its decarbonisation, economic and energy security objectives. With the abundant renewable energy resources Oman is blessed with and with the appropriate structuring of the sector, Oman is positioned as one of the most attractive nations to produce green hydrogen competitively and at large-scale.”

Source: Zawya

VERTECO, the region’s leading specialists in water conservation solutions, smart washroom technologies and smart water management, have been announced as the official distributors of the Smixin handwashing system, an innovative solution set to revolutionize the way we wash our hands in public places.

Smixin is the brainchild of Swiss inventor Elmar Mock, co-inventor of the Swatch watch. Recognising the considerable water-saving potential of something like handwashing, which we all do many times a day, the system was created to address not only global water shortage challenges, but to also address public hygiene concerns.

The mobile, fully automatic station makes hand washing accessible to everyone, wherever and whenever it is needed. From the counters in food courts and hotel buffets to school playgrounds and busy airport terminals, the free-standing system can be conveniently located in crowded places, promoting health and sustainability, and helping business achieve environmental and cost efficiencies at the same time.

VERTECO, regarded regionally as the pioneers of sustainability, already offer an award-winning portfolio of water saving technologies and smart washroom sensor-driven 3D IoT solutions. All of their products aim to promote responsible behaviours and lower the UAE’s collective water footprint, so the addition of the Smixin system was an obvious choice.

Hand washing is, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the most important thing you can do to prevent the spread of viruses. Bacteria and germs live on our hands and are easily transferred to the inside of our mouths, leading to illnesses and infections. Hand sanitizing before eating isn’t ideal and visiting busy washrooms isn’t always desirable or possible. But while handwashing remains an absolute necessity in life, it doesn’t always align with a sustainable use of natural resources.

In line with VERTECO’s water-saving solutions, the Smixin system guarantees the most ecological usage of water, soap and paper of any hand washing. With pre-set parameters, consumption of water, soap and paper towels is regulated, meaning only 0.2 litres of water is used, a saving of 90% water compared to the average hand wash. It also reduces soap consumption and paper towel use by 60%, compared to conventional dispensers.

The system delivers impeccable hygiene standards too, with a unique touchless handwash solution. You simply place your hands in the system and a mix of water and soap are dispensed, followed by a paper towel, with the entire process taking under 15 seconds. The highest standards of hand sanitation are delivered, with a minimum of resources, and without compromising on user experience.

James Fortier, Business Development Ambassador – APAC & Middle East, Smixin commented, “In the Middle East, one of the most water scarce regions in the world, reducing water consumption is crucial. We applaud the strategies some governments have already adapted to address this concern, including the adoption of technologies that increase water efficiency. Our systems are designed to significantly contribute to this environmental aim. But as well as focusing on limiting the impact hand washing has on the environment, we are also committed to promoting the importance of hand hygiene and making hand washing – a basic necessity – accessible to as many people, in as many places as possible. We are thrilled to partner with VERTECO to distribute our products in the region and to help us achieve a company goal of saving 10 billion litres of water by the end of 2022.”

David King, Managing Director of VERTECO for the MENA Region said, “We are delighted to offer Smixin products to local businesses and to be a part of a handwashing revolution that has already had a profound effect on sustainability and improving hand hygiene within facilities around the world. Post-COVID we are more aware than ever of the importance of hand washing, and by offering such a simple, yet effective solution that aligns with our sustainably ethos, we hope to contribute to the health and wellbeing of the region’s people.”

With water saving a major challenge for countries around the world, the Smixin handwashing systems have won international acclaim and can be found schools, business offices and well known places such as Shake Shack, McDonalds, KFC, Carnival Cruise Lines, Virgin Cruises and Marriott Hotels

Source cbnme.com

Governments in the Middle East have implemented wide-ranging economic measures and incentive packages for their respective Real Estate markets in recent years in hopes of driving growth and boosting the sector.

Despite this effort, when compared to global markets using multiple indices, Middle East markets are working on enhancing certain market fundamentals, which are critical to achieving sustainability and growth in the long-term.Taking a closer look, within global indices such as the International Protection Rights Index, the Real Estate Transparency Index, and the UN E-Government Development index, Middle Eastern Real Estate markets are classified as being at a developing stage.

In response to the classification, PwC Middle East has conducted an analysis of top ranking markets within such indices to draw best practices for the region and to suggest six guiding principles for regulators to follow:

  1. Integrated legal framework
  2. Land/property register and cadastre system
  3. Effective governance
  4. Proficiency of service
  5. Sustainable financing
  6. Data management and transparency

These guiding principles were developed to help address specific issues present in markets in the region. Namely, market distortions, imperfect competition, asymmetric information, and other externalities. While the Real Estate markets in the region as a whole can benefit from the six guiding principles, each country has a varying degree of maturity within each category.

Commenting on the report Dr. Martin Berlin, Real Estate Leader at PwC Middle East said: “We see huge potential for growth in Middle Eastern Real Estate markets. Across the region, many regulators are already making strides in closing the regulatory gaps between the Middle East and high-ranking markets globally. We developed six principles to act as a guide based on an analysis of these high-ranking markets to support regulators in their quest to achieve long-term sustainable growth.”

He added “We believe the six suggested principles ,when followed, will have an impact on reducing volatility in the market and have a price correcting effect, reducing the cost of living for households and related costs for businesses and taking inflationary pressures off wages.”

To learn more about the analysis, the expected outcomes of the six guiding principles, or to read in depth case-studies of different markets, read the full report here.
Link:   https://www.pwc.com/m1/en/publications/developing-sustainable-real-estate-markets.html

Source: Zawya

Perhaps you’ve noticed that a growing number of companies are innovating new products and capturing new markets by focusing on sustainable products and services.

Companies are finding that having a well-structured approached to sustainability is popular with buyers, who are shifting more business to them as a result.

And companies with a clear sustainability focus are attracting, retaining, and engaging the best employees. Or perhaps you are reading this because you are personally convinced that your business should be doing more to protect the planet simply because it’s the right thing to do.

Whatever the reason, if you’d like your business to take steps in becoming more sustainable, this Webinar is a must-watch event.

We will discuss three straightforward actions your business should take this year to achieve better business performance and to prepare itself for a rapidly changing world.

Shell Development Oman LLC (Oman Shell) announced its 6th Gift to the Nation — a Green Hydrogen for Mobility project. The announcement came during the Oman Sustainability Week (OSW) events on Tuesday.

As part of the first phase of the project, Oman Shell has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oman Airports that would see Oman Shell providing up to 15 hydrogen cars for the Oman Airports’ corporate usage.

The project will include development of hydrogen production units that will be powered by photovoltaic solar plants and installed at different fuelling units related to the project. These stations will be selected strategically to maximise benefits to the project and allow members of the public to have visibility of the technology.

Commenting on this exciting opportunity, Walid Hadi, Oman Shell’s VP and Country Chairman said: “Working with Oman Airports for the hydrogen for mobility project will help our efforts to support the Oman Vision 2040 energy objectives. It is also in line with Shell’s Powering Progress Strategy and our target to become a net-zero-emission energy business by 2050, in step with society.”

“The potential for the use of solar in electrolysers to produce hydrogen builds on the success Shell has had with other renewables-based projects in Oman, like Solar into Schools and Sohar Solar Qabas. The recent royal directives by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik to grow the green hydrogen sector in the Sultanate inspire our efforts. We look forward to taking the first tangible step in kickstarting this industry and we hope that this project will be a pace setter in renewables-based hydrogen'', he added.

Shaikh Aimen al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports, stated: “We are looking to capitalise on Oman Shell’s renewable energy initiatives and are glad to be working together on the first phase of its ‘Green Hydrogen for Mobility’ project. Environmental sustainability has been a top priority for Oman Airports and it’s one of the main pillars of our strategic objectives. Since 2017, we have incorporated a carbon management programme to measure and reduce our carbon footprint in a phased manner in Muscat, Salalah and Duqm Airports. Muscat International Airport has received a Green Airports Recognition in 2020 from Airports Council International (ACI) for our contribution towards a sustainable airport’s environment in its category. We are committed with clear environmental policy to build a sustainable environment and become a green airport.”

Source: Zawya

Energy efficiency as a contributor to success
Climate protection, efficient use of resources, rising energy costs, new supply models, and strict environmental regulations: For all these goals, energy is a decisive competitive factor, whatever the industry. There is therefore no alternative to increasing energy efficiency. A great challenge – but also a great opportunity. Because by making plants more energy-efficient, companies can also achieve considerable cost savings.

Energy efficiency in production – in reality
Energy-efficient production means more than simply reducing energy consumption, CO₂ emissions, or costs – it also involves linking energy and production data in order to analyze and optimize not only energy consumption but also the energy productivity of machines, plants, and processes. These measures provide the opportunity to achieve all-round improvements in process productivity and efficiency.

Grundfos is a global water technology company committed to pioneering solutions to the world’s water and climate challenges and improving the quality of life for people. Our strategic journey represents our ambition to do whatever is in our power to help achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, in particular 6 and 13.
Grundfos water solutions today are among the most advanced on the market and we pride ourselves on the fact that every innovative solution is brought to life by thousands of dedicated employees. Grundfos pumps are manufactured in accordance with the ISO standards just as we are determined to exceed environmental standards. It is important to us that our innovative solutions do not only benefit the user but are also easy on the environment. And we achieve that by always thinking ahead before we develop and market a new product.

It's great doing business together when you have a plan for the planet.
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