Dhofar University to represent Oman at Solar Decathlon Middle East

Oman Monday 10/April/2017 22:30 PM
By: Times News Service
Dhofar University to represent Oman at Solar Decathlon Middle East

Salalah: Students from Dhofar University will be representing the Sultanate of Oman at the Solar Decathlon Middle East, which will be held in Dubai in November 2018.
The competition is the brainchild of the United States Department of Energy, which is looking at ideas from universities all over the world to build, design and operate a fully functional solar-powered house.
Dr. Liudmila Cazacova, assistant professor of Architectural Engineering at the university, is overseeing the project.
“There are around 30 students and six faculty advisers,” she said. “We have to design the house and its systems; assemble the house here in Dhofar, then test it, disassemble it and ship it to Dubai and make it work there. This is the first time this competition is reaching the Middle East,” she explained.
“Educational institutions all around the world were eligible to participate in this competition, and 22 of the best proposals were selected.”
“There are now 22 teams from 16 different countries spread across four continents,” added Cazacova. “The goal of the team is to create a sustainable house, which is very light, that can be assembled, even by those who are not skilled at such tasks.”
The team plan on building a prototype that can be used during times of crisis, such as floods and storms, as long-term accommodation that can be assembled and taken down in a very short amount of time.
“This house will be in keeping with the climate and culture of the Middle East and will produce its own energy through solar panels,” she said.
“The students are working on certain types of blocks that they’ve designed themselves, and we are going to find someone in Salalah to manufacture these blocks, which will be made from locally available recycled materials.”
The students from Dhofar University began their research on this project in May 2016, and submitted their proposal at the end of June. “Our university already has experience working in such competitions, because we’ve already built five eco-houses in Oman as part of the previously-held Eco House Competition in the Sultanate,” revealed Cazacova.
The 22 houses will be displayed to the public, where the houses will be tested according to 10 different contexts. Although the competition only takes place in November of next year, Cazacova said they cannot take the time they have left for granted.
“It’s not early; actually we’re afraid we’re running out of time, because apart from the design, we also have to design the systems, because this is a unique house,” she told the Times of Oman.
“You have to find designers and manufacturers and then assemble the house and test it, because testing takes time, but the students are very enthusiastic.
“I think the message we want to convey is that the resources of our planet are very limited and we have to rely on renewable resources if we want a comfortable life in the future. We cannot rely on electricity from fossil fuels anymore,” said Cazacova.
“The sooner we shift to solar energy as a main energy resource, the better it is for countries in the Middle East, because there is plenty of sun in this part of the world.”