By Awadh Zabanoot -
MUSCAT — The sun shines more than 320 days in the year in the Sultanate in most governorates and because of its geographical location, the rate of solar radiation is large compared with many countries in the world such as Spain, Germany and China.
The vast size of Oman, population, distribution and diversity of climate, terrains and long beaches make it a fertile environment for the exploitation of renewable energies and this could make the sun as a second or third source of energy to enhances the production of energy as confirmed by Dr Ahmed al Rawas from the Department of Physics in Sciences College at Sultan Qaboos University.
Dr Saif al Hadabi said: “The interest in alternative energy has been growing and everyone is now giving it importance from different perspective. We, in the Scientific Research Council, are keen to support this area by more than one method. Besides the financial support given to the proposals, the Council launched for the first time a national competition dealing with the rationalisation of energy consumption (Oman competition of eco-friendly homes). Studies show that more than 70 per cent of energy consumption in the Sultanate goes for cooling devices, which generates high pressure on energy consumption and from this perspective this competition was introduced to search for alternatives in the design of buildings according to certain criteria so as to lead to reduced energy use and curb the negative effects on human health and the environment in terms of architectural design, and materials used in the construction”.
Two research projects have been supported which were put forward by Dhofar University. The first project is on basin solar collector for water desalination and power generation.
The second project proposes the multiple uses of the collector. Another research project at the University of Sohar has also been funded on the feasibility of using solar energy systems (solar panels) in Oman.
According to Dr Al Rawas, “It can be said that energy of photovoltaic cells, wind and heat will be more closer to home if awareness programmes were set to encourage the contribution of citizens.
Dr Aref Wazozo said that the largest and most important source of energy in our lives is the solar energy. The solar energy reaching the earth’s surface in one day is estimated equivalent to all the different types of energy used by humans in their daily lives over the full year.
Solar energy is consumed in several ways and different technique like the collector with a detector plate, the collector with a half-cylinder cycle, the solar tower and solar chimney.
The uses of solar energy depends on converting it directly into electricity (solar electric), or heat and then transferring the heat to other forms of energy or can use heat for sterilisation or heating or desalination of salty sea water or drying agricultural products or other purposes.
“Our project depends on the use of heat for sterilisation. There are several methods of sterilisation like using chemicals (chlorine, potassium dichromate and potassium permanganate, ozone, ethanol, etc) and sterilisation via radiation (UV light) and sterilisation by heat (dry sterilisation, wet sterilisation).
“We will get contaminated water samples from several areas and we will sterilise them and study the best means to obtain drinking water from the biological standpoint. We will also develop several designs of solar disinfectants and we’ll install and study it. We will carry out studies on solar medical sterilisation (sterilisation of medical instruments and medical waste by the sun), Dr Aref added.