Politicians, academics, and corporate specialists from 150 countries congregated in Abu Dhabi from January 15–17 to take part in the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit, sharing ideas and innovations concerning the future of energy and water.
Kelly Dougherty, NYUAD Class of 2014 also attended the summit with the Oil, Energy, and the Middle East class. "It was a cool opportunity to learn more about the oil industry and about current technologies that exist for energy," she said. "It was also interesting to see how oil companies choose to represent themselves," referring to the larger booths by companies like Shell and Exxon Mobile.
A number of booths in the conference addressed concerns with energy and fresh water resources. One booth calculated the amount of fresh water used in the production of ethanol, a chemical compound added to petrol to make it more of a 'green fuel.' "It turns out that producing ethanol has a very high water cost," said Dougherty, "so while ethanol has some advantages, it isn't as green as you'd initially think."
The countries, organizations, and institutions taking part in the World Future Energy Summit and the International Water Summit demonstrated the diversity of corporate and geopolitical interests in energy and water. But NYUAD junior Tom Taylor, who also participated in the summits' Young Future Energy Leaders forum, viewed the conference with a great amount of optimism. "It was a great opportunity to hear from some of the key players in energy policy and technological development," he said, "but also to meet with young people who are passionate about the role they can play in determining the future of energy."
It was a cool opportunity to learn more about the oil industry and about current technologies that exist for energy.
The opening ceremony of the summits began with speeches from HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, French President François Hollande, Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, and Queen Rania of Jordan. Each leader discussed the importance of finding sustainable solutions for the future of energy and water, stressing the importance of international collaboration. Nicole Lopez del Carril, NYUAD Class of 2014 attended these ceremonies to hear what the leaders had to say. "It was a great opportunity to see my president [Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina] speak on an issue that is important to me," she said.
Over the course of the next three days, booths filling the exhibition halls showed a full spectrum of energy-related groups — from small nongovernmental organizations to large energy companies. "It was highly technical," described Sidak Yntiso, NYUAD Class of 2014. Attending the conference with his NYUAD January Term class, Oil, Energy, and the Middle East, he noticed that much of the conference was focused on alternative energy sources. "It was very connected to our class, but our class is mostly about oil, and [the summit] was mostly about renewable energy," he said.
In addition to NYUAD's booth, which showcased the University's energy- and water-related research initiatives, there were also a number of student-led booths. Some students who had taken part in the Sila Connection conference at NYUAD last November presented their ideas, including university awareness campaigns on energy consumption and an initiative to reuse waste oil to generate power. "It was great to raise the profile of Sila," said Kamal Al Khuffash, a master's student at the Petroleum Institute who was running the Sila booth at the conference. "Some people offered to work with us in the future."