Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with GE Additive (NYSE:GE) headquartered in Fairfield, Connecticut. The collaboration between the two companies focuses on developing technologies for an ‘Industrial Internet of Things’ (IIOT), and accelerating the UAE’s status as a hub for 3D printing by 2030.

This vision is driven by the Dubai Future Accelerators program which was launched in 2016. GE is also collaborating with the foundation to launch 3D printing microfactories in the region, that focus on small-batch production for industrial and commercial use.

The MoU was signed by Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President for Additive Integration at GE Additive (left) and HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA (right). Photo via Government of Dubai media office

The MoU was signed by Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President for Additive Integration at GE Additive (left) and HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA (right). Photo via Government of Dubai Media office

Solar powered plans

Speaking on the collaboration, HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA, shares the authority’s plans to establish an R&D center at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park. Focusing on renewable solar power, the park has already recieved a total investment of AED 500 million (The equivalent of $135.9 million USD) up to 2020.

Al Tayer adds,

The work of the centre revolves around four main areas of operation, which include the production of electricity from solar energy, smart grid integration, energy efficiency, and water. The MoU with GE will enable us to develop ‘Made in Dubai’ future technologies that contribute to increased operational efficiency and productivity.

Scale plan of the Shaikh Mohammed bin rashid Al maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Photo via venturesonsite

Scale plan of the Shaikh Mohammed bin rashid Al maktoum Solar Park in Dubai. Photo via venturesonsite

Towards an ‘Industrial Internet’

Mohammad Ehteshami, Vice President for Additive Integration at GE Additive, considers the MoU a “landmark” development for both parties involved, going on to add that it, “…marks a first-of-its-kind partnership by GE in the region with a utility provider to collaborate and co-create 3D printing and additive manufacturing technologies.”

Ehteshami also comments on a shared vision of the future. He says,

Industrial Internet and additive manufacturing are the next-generation technologies that bring unprecedented levels of productivity for our partners by developing complex industrial parts that are lighter, durable and more efficient with less waste.

Additive manufacturing and the IIOT are key components of Smart Factories of the future. In Industry 4.0 large amounts of data are collected from machines to make performance, cost and operation more efficient.

One institution examining the model of Industry 4.0 is Germany’s Technische Universität Darmstad (TU Darmstad). Researchers at TU Darmstad have been helping companies asses how their existing technologies can be implemented in a Smart Factory.

Dubai Future Accelerators 

The first cycle of Dubai’s Future Accelerators program came to completion in December 2016, with 19 out of 30 business who originally applied going on to help solve challenges set out by governmental partners. DEWA’s current challenge is to, “Explore and demonstrate new technologies that can transform a utility provider’s traditional business model of generating, transmitting and distributing water and electricity.”

As another entity in the program, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has launched the Dubai Water Canal spanning  three kilometres of the city from the business district on the coast to the Persian Gulf inland.

Concept art of the finished Dubai Water Canal. Image via: ventureonsite

Concept art of the finished Dubai Water Canal. Image via: ventureonsite

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Featured image: Putting the finishing touches on a turbine. Screenshot via GE Ecomagination and the Power of Digital Efficiency via General Electric on YouTube

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