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The ever-increasing worldwide demand for energy has been in the peoples’ minds nowadays, even in the oil-rich kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Although it is the largest producer of crude oil in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the Saudis know that their nation’s reserves, estimated at about 260 billion barrels, won’t last forever. That’s why they have started to look into renewable energy sources and technology.
In April the country hosted its 13th annual Saudi Technical Exchange Meeting and invited renowned experts from the academia, industry, and government to participate. Among them was Prof. Ziyad Salameh of UMass Lowell’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, who is co-director of the Center for Electric Car and Energy Conversion.
“The conference is about technology exchange, with emphasis on sustainable energy” said Salameh. “Saudi Arabia is the sunniest region in the world and it has the highest irradiance in terms of watt per square meter, so tapping solar energy makes a lot of sense there. The Saudis are also concerned about the environment.”
Salameh gave a plenary lecture, chaired a session and conducted two training workshops during the conference, which was held at King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals in Dhahran. “The future of the Kingdom is dependent on a strong engineering workforce to maintain and sustain economic growth,” the conference organizers said.
Last December Salameh was also invited to chair a session at the 17th International Photovoltaic Science and Engineering Conference in Fukuoka, Japan.