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SRTIP: A global incubator for prominent renewable energy and smart manufacturing projects

Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), which was launched by H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, in 2016, has achieved substantial milestones in its mission to foster innovation and economic growth in the region.

STRIP has achieved several goals aimed at building a rich knowledge economy in the region, creating a sustainable complex with world-class infrastructure and services, stimulating different sectors to develop and innovate, representing the state as a global destination in the fields of research, technology and innovation, providing high-quality logistical services, encouraging local innovation, supporting innovators in establishing their own companies and promoting research ideas that can be converted into tangible products.

The complex, which is managed by the American University of Sharjah (AUS) Enterprises, focuses its innovative scientific research on several key areas and sectors, including a range of studies in water management, environmental technology, renewable energy, transportation technology, logistics, smart manufacturing, and digitalisation.

A key project at the complex is a large research partnership with Marlin International to identify and develop innovative ways for a sustainable future, as it offers many technical solutions to take advantage of natural resources, such as innovative agriculture (horizontal, water and pneumatic), and solar water desalination devices.

Marlin International’s green home project at SRTIP is one of its most innovative. These homes are considered green because they provide a healthy and sustainable living environment, with features that are friendly to nature and clean energy. They are made with lightweight, quick-to-assemble structures of high-quality fiber-reinforced polymer technologies. These homes can be built in a day and can last longer than traditional homes.

These homes, which are in harmony with their surrounding environment, have special specifications that provide complete insulation from the surrounding climatic conditions, such as sound, extreme heat, wind, and other environmental factors. The home also provides its residents with indoor agricultural techniques that provide fresh food daily from some types of natural vegetables, which also work to create a natural atmosphere.

SRTIP also announced the addition of Civil Twin, a Spanish leader in renewable energy and solar panels. The company will deploy and test the latest renewable energy technologies in the complex in cooperation with a number of government, private, and academic institutions through the establishment of a pilot photovoltaic factory in stages to represent a solar energy research and testing centre with new technologies in the complex, a reference for research and development in the region in this type of technology.

The centre includes a photovoltaic panel testing field to provide independent measurement procedures for the performance, reliability, and durability of photovoltaic panel models, as well as the technical equipment related to these tests. The centre will conduct research on the performance of concentrated photovoltaic energy under the climatic conditions of the region.

SRTIP has unveiled the first product from the Sharjah Open Innovation Labs (SoiLAB), a Sulmi EB-ONE electric bicycle. The bicycle was designed and manufactured with advanced technologies and a futuristic design by the UAE-based startup company Sulmi, which is located in the park and is run by Emirati engineers.

Sulmi is one of the UAE’s leading startups that is active in providing clean mobility and energy solutions. The company is working on developing future mobility technologies, including self-driving vehicles. It also manufactures electric vehicles and offers a variety of technical products and services. Sulmi’s team brings together the best skills and expertise to achieve its vision of providing local mobility products of global quality.

Clean mobility technology and the use of electric bicycles are part of the global efforts to combat climate change. They contribute to achieving the goals of COP28, which include reducing carbon emissions and improving sustainability in the transport sector.

In support of the concept of green mobility in the future, SRTIP, in partnership with the Hungarian John von Neumann University (JvNU), has begun a pilot test of the Megalux solar-electric racing car. The unique boat-like design of the car was assembled and installed in the park by a team from JvNU, which developed the solar vehicle.

The Hungarian Megalux racing car receives energy from a solar panel with an area of 6 square meters. The single-drive car is equipped with a dual-circuit hydraulic braking system. The highly streamlined solar car weighs about 160 kg. It has a plastic body and a carbon fibre frame and can reach a speed of up to 120 km/h in the experimental phase.

The complex also unveiled the first model of a solar-powered electric car, the Lightyear 0, which arrived at the complex to launch in the region from Sharjah. The Sharjah Innovation Complex is expected to host the first test and sales centre for the Dutch innovative company Lightyear, the world’s first solar-electric car, supporting university research exchange programmes on solar-powered electric cars.

Lightyear is one of the most innovative and powerful companies in the world of electric cars that can run on solar energy. It launched its revolutionary Lightyear Zero, which can be charged with solar energy or with regular household electricity sockets. It can rely on solar energy alone for long-distance driving. The company plans to launch its first driving experience, and it also plans to produce its new car and deliver its first batch to customers in Europe by November 2023.

The Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park hosts one of the largest laboratories and applied research centres for smart transportation in the world. One of the world’s leading companies specialising in the smart transportation sector is based in the complex, and it is working to develop a system of innovative solutions that reflect the modern concept of urban mobility within cities. These modern technologies are being researched, developed, and tested in Sharjah so that they can be marketed in major world capitals later.

One of the global companies has started construction of suspended aerial trains on the land allocated to it in the SRTIP, to be a living model of the strategic partnership between the private investment sector represented by the implementing company and the research and academic sector at AUS. The first test phase of the project has been completed, and the suspended carriages have begun operating over a short distance. Work is underway on the next phase, over longer distances, to be the first practical application of this type of modern transportation in the region.

SRTIP is leading a national project to localise knowledge and promote sustainable development. The initiative aims to boost economic growth in multiple sectors, including transportation and logistics, while enriching knowledge. It aligns with the emirate’s academic, scientific, and economic goals to expand scientific frontiers and translate research and innovation into tangible advancements that foster innovation and scientific progress.

Furthermore, the project catalyses economic growth by establishing a new transportation sector that connects major commercial and industrial centres. It introduces a groundbreaking train system that transports passengers and containers between cities, marking a significant leap in land freight capabilities.

In partnership with AUS, the project has launched a research endeavour focused on sustainable energy solutions, particularly the production of green hydrogen, a promising technology for the future. Researchers—including faculty members and graduate students in Materials Science and Engineering—are conducting pioneering experiments to develop cost-effective methods for producing green hydrogen and synthetic fuel from seawater through direct electrolysis. Their research also aims to create durable materials for electrolysers, reducing costs and improving their performance, while exploring innovative hydrogen transportation solutions.

The ultimate goal is to bridge academia and industry under government support, leveraging advanced research and experiments conducted in university laboratories across multiple specialties. The project’s core function is to translate these research findings into practical applications, fostering integration and turning them into viable investments.

About Latifa Al Ali

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