Agritech to aid UAE in mission towards food security from sustainable sources

Jesus Gutierrez, head of Energy Efficiency at ENGIE Solutions
Jesus Gutierrez, head of Energy Efficiency at ENGIE Solutions

Dubai - The increased adoption of advanced technology is accelerating the UAE’s transition to an innovative, knowledge-based economy, making it an attractive business environment for investors and innovators across the world



by

Rohma Sadaqat

Published: Wed 27 Oct 2021, 3:14 PM

Using innovative and energy efficient farming technologies, the UAE can increase local production all the while ensuring sustainability and the conservation of resources, said Jesus Gutierrez, head of Energy Efficiency at ENGIE Solutions.

Speaking to Khaleej Times, he noted that climate change and food security are two of the world’s biggest challenges. He explained that although the UAE is considered food secure due to its ability to import food from international markets, the country is placing greater emphasis on building enhanced agricultural and food capabilities within its borders to achieve food self-sufficiency.

Towards this end, earlier in the year, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the first phase of Food Technology Valley, a development project to promote innovation in agriculture to achieve food security from sustainable sources. In line with the UAE’s goals, energy companies must work in unison with the food and agriculture sector to ensure long-term sustainability, Gutierrez said.

“Technology plays a key role in the transformation of the industry to be both locally effective and energy efficient,” he said. “Vertical farm crops and hydroponic systems are significantly less intensive in soil and water. Compared to traditional agriculture systems, they use 70 to 95 per cent less water and over 90 per cent less land, though they are still quite energy intensive.”

Developing energy efficient systems would be the next step in line with the generation of freshwater through energy efficient RO desalination systems, he explained. “At ENGIE Solutions, we work closely with our customers to provide tailor made solutions. For example, we offer our clients technical solutions for cooling in the manufacturing process or for the preservation of foodstuff. We design, install, and maintain automation and robotics systems on production lines to ensure efficiency.”

The company also offers solutions using natural refrigerants with low global warming power - CO2, ammonia, hydrocarbons - for new installations or retrofitting of existing installations. In fact, in Germany, ENGIE Refrigeration produces its own very-high performance chillers adapted to agri-food applications.

Gutierrez noted that the recent pledge by the UAE government to invest more than $160 billion to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 will attract the interest of the cleantech industry, and potential investors from the private sector as well. With the National Food Security Strategy 2051 in place, the UAE, he noted, has all the right strategies in place needed to attract investments.

Moreover, the increased adoption of advanced technology is accelerating the UAE’s transition to an innovative, knowledge-based economy, making it an attractive business environment for investors and innovators across the world.

Asked about ENGIE Solutions’ plan for a more sustainable future, he said that the company’s core purpose is to act to accelerate the transition towards a carbon-neutral economy, through reduced energy consumption and more environmentally friendly solutions. The purpose brings together the company, its employees, its clients and its shareholders, and reconciles economic performance with a positive impact on people and the planet.

“As a leader in low-carbon energy systems, ENGIE has set itself the goal of being Net Zero Carbon by 2045 and of supporting its customers’ decarbonization with a target of 45Mt CO2-eq per year,” Gutierrez said. “We offer solutions that can significantly reduce the energy demand and carbon footprint of clients by providing efficient cooling and utilities solutions with a core focus on renewable energy sources. We aim to provide reliable, cost-effective energy conservation measures that have a massive reduction on our client’s water and energy consumption and CO2 emissions.”

rohma@khaleejtimes.com


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