Nottingham student's research on improving solar-powered technology wins Germany's Green Talent Award

 Green Talent Award 2017 - 445 x 124
09 Nov 2017 11:45:00.000

Solar power could be used to solve water scarcity in some of the world's poorest countries.  

A project by Ahmed Zakaria Hafez Mohamed, a researcher and doctoral student in civil engineering at the University of Nottingham, has won the prestigious Green Talent Award by Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research. 

This is the first time an Egyptian researcher has claimed the international prize which drew more than 600 applications from over 95 countries.

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Ahmed’s research focuses on boosting the water-pumping capability of Stirling engines in order to increase access to water in remote rural areas of his homeland, Egypt. The engine functions as a power source for an innovative solar tracking system, comprising photovoltaic cells and a (solar) dish, which work to maximise the amount of energy that is collected.

The multi-award winning research impressed judges with its practical outcome because at the end of his project, Ahmed will have developed a working, solar-powered Stirling engine that can be put straight into use by a remote community.

Ahmed explained the objectives of his research, ‘Rural and remote communities such as those in Egypt’s deserts do not have access to electricity and they rely on diesel generators to pump or extract water from below ground. I hope that my research can be used to improve access to water and decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.

‘I am so proud to be the first Egyptian researcher to receive the Green Talent Award and this has encouraged me to set the bar even higher for my achievements. I am certain that the knowledge, exposure and new experiences gained from my time in Germany, will enable me to be more effective and develop a greater understanding of how my research can help others,’ he added.

Andrew Dawson, Ahmed’s PhD supervisor said, ‘When I heard that Ahmed had been recognised in this way by the German government, it only confirmed my view that he is absolutely the right kind of innovative thinker to study at Nottingham for a PhD. His understanding of what communities need is certain to bring positive results with tangible, viable solutions that can address some of the most pressing problems facing our world. He has impressed us with his engineering expertise, his motivation and the focus on application that he brings to his current project with us. He is a valuable member of the team and I look forward to seeing him achieve much success.’

Ahmed is now a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Researcher at the Nottingham Transportation Engineering Centre (NTEC), the UK's foremost university-based research organisation in sustainable highway pavement and rail track engineering and in infrastructure asset management. His current project is part of SMARTI (Sustainable Multi-functional Automated Resilient Transport Infrastructures), one of the EU’s prestigious European Training Networks. Ahmed’s current project focuses on energy harvesting from railway infrastructures.

Ahmed was one of 25 young scientists from 21 countries who were honoured in this year’s Green Talent Awards ceremony which was held in Berlin on 27th October with guest of honour, Matthias Graf von Kielmansegg, Head of Department at the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

A jury of experts selected the most outstanding ‘green’ visionaries who were drawn from a wide range of academic research areas with diverse achievements. The awardees participated in a two-week Science Forum where they visited top locations for sustainability research in Germany and have an invitation to return in 2018 for a fully funded research stay at an institution of their choice.

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Notes to editors: 

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named University of the Year for Graduate Employment in the 2017 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 20 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally.

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Story credits

More information is available from Mr Andrew Dawson on +44 (0)115 951 3902, or Shirlene Campbell Ritchie, Media Relations Manager on +44 (0)115 846 7156,
Shirlene Campbell Ritchie

Shirlene Campbell Ritchie MCIPR - Media Relations Manager (Faculty of Engineering)

Email:  Phone: +44 (0)115 846 7156  Location: University Park

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