Sultan Qaboos University, in association with the Institute for Applied Material Flow Management (IfaS) at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld, Germany is conducting a research to investigate the ‘Zero Emission Campus’ potential of SQU. SQU has launched the “Zero Emission Campus” initiative as part of its efforts to become a centre of expertise in sustainability studies in the areas of energy, water, agriculture, technology and management. As part of the learning component of the research, a group of international students from the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld joined the program as observers of the project to investigate SQU’s readiness become a green and zero emission campus.
The joint working group consisting of students from Environmental Campus Birkenfeld and SQU started working together two months ago to gather initial information through joint video conferences and other means. The field survey lasted from 7 to 16 March. On Sunday, 17 March 2019, a ceremony to mark the end the field survey was held. The function held under patronage of H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of the University, discussed the preliminary results of the first study that evaluated SQU’s potential to become a green and zero emission campus.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Amer Al Hinai, Director of the Sustainable Energy Research Centre at SQU said that SQU is working in collaboration with various authorities to ensure the country’s emission goals are met. “The efforts of the Sustainable Energy Research Centre focuses on optimizing the use of renewable energy sources, integrating them into electrical power systems, energy conservation, and considering suitable alternatives to energy storage”, he said.
Dr. Michael Knaus, Head of International Operations of IfaS at the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld shared his institution’s experience materializing the zero-emission campus concept. Environmental Campus Birkenfeld offers students an interdisciplinary education at the only ‘zero emission university’ in Europe. Dr. Knaus explained how innovative and ecological building standards are complemented by modern utility technology and sustainable water management systems at their campus. He said that the electricity and heat demands of the campus are covered by renewable energy sources, provided by a neighbouring biomass-combined heat and power plant. Dr. Michael Knaus thanked SQU for collaborating with his institute for the zero-emission campus initiative and hoped that the project would yield success.
The international students from the Environmental Campus Birkenfeld who conducted the field survey on SQU’s zero emission campus readiness, presented their results at the event. SQU is currently working a green campus strategy to reduce emissions, utilize clean and renewable energy, and carry out energy conservation projects at the university’s buildings and premises.