Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, organized a seminar on the crucial role of research and technology in powering Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to address environmental challenges and protect ecosystems.
The session comes within the framework of the 'Meet the Expert' series -organized by QSTP, which was delivered by experts from QSTP's longstanding anchor partner, ExxonMobil Research Qatar (EMRQ), the session showcased EMRQ's dedicated research initiatives and use of cutting-edge technologies to reduce climate risks, encourage ecological resilience, and advance Qatar's sustainability agenda.
In this regard, Vice President and Research Director of EMRQ Dr. David Palandro said "we are very happy to engage with our Qatari stakeholders from academia and industry to develop new technologies for NbS that support the National Strategy for Environment and Climate Change, and provide truly positive impact in Qatar." Dr. Palandro presented findings of a current study that is focused on enhancing the marine biodiversity in Qatar's coastal zones, saying "the benthic habitat mapping and collection of environmental DNA from these zones has helped us to better understand the biodiversity in terms of species richness and habitat coverage." "This has allowed us to put in place the needed procedures that can be applied to NbS and biodiversity enhancement applications," he said, adding that the next step is to develop actions to protect, manage, and restore Qatar's marine ecosystems." Another one of EMRQ's NbS that is currently in its early testing phase focuses on water treatment. From studying Qatar's produced water (PW) - water that comes out of the well with the crude oil during crude oil production - the team has identified 33 strains of microalgae that are capable of biodegrading contaminants in PW. With the goal of promoting water security through its reuse, EMRQ plans on deploying all pilot testing at industrial scales to identify and quantify water reuse options.
For her part, Senior Environmental Researcher at EMRQ Nayla Al Naema said "we focus on sustainability projects that not only serve ExxonMobil but also the State of Qatar, and we leverage our expertise and use novel technologies that would position Qatar in a leadership position in environmental research and also support the QNV 2030." In turn, Park & Free Zone Management Director at QSTP Ahmed Al Said said that this was yet another insightful 'Meet the Expert' event that revealed the invaluable potential of technological advances and creativity in safeguarding our communities and environment.
"We take pride in offering a conducive environment to companies like ExxonMobil for advanced scientific research that in turn guides dedicated plans to counter critical challenges facing us all as a global community," Al Said added.
The session opened with an introduction of EMRQ and the center's ongoing contributions toward preserving Qatars environment and marine life, and protecting its people. EMRQ was established in 2009 as one of the first anchor tenants at QSTP and has invested more than QAR 200M on projects aligned with Qatar National Vision (QNV) 2030 and NbS.
EMRQ is leveraging effort and expertise across three research areas; environmental management, water resource management and geoscience, to focus on identifying, assessing, and implementing NbS to support Qatari initiatives.
Through its 'Meet the Expert' series, QSTP - a member of Qatar Foundation - brings together local and international experts, industry leaders, academics, and researchers to emphasize best practices and technology-driven solutions around areas of strategic importance to Qatar. The series aims to foster innovation and entrepreneurship to realize Qatar's economic diversification and sustainability-focused ambitions.