Monday 12 November 2012
Last Update 12 November 2012 3:38 am
RIYADH: During a period of four years ending in 2011, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) conducted 193 research projects in the field of nanotechnology. These cost SR 574 million, said KACST President Mohammed bin Ibrahim Alsuwaiyel yesterday.
Alsuwaiyel inaugurated the second Saudi International Nanotechnology Conference at KACST headquarters in Riyadh.
More than 300 delegates including speakers from various parts of the world took part in the conference.
Between 2007 and 2011, KACST initiated partnerships with local and international bodies and supported researchers to build partnerships with local and international organizations. It has been cooperating Saudi universities such as King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) and Princess Nora University, said Alsuwaiyel.
He indicated that nanotechnology has recently attracted the attention of experts for its scientific and business advantages that could benefit society in areas such as medicine, energy, electronics, and the pharmaceutical industry.
KACST has taken practical steps to introduce this technology through the National Plan of Science and Innovation (NPSI) with research findings of strategic importance to the Kingdom, he said.
He added that KACST has set up a national center for nanotechnology to act as a link between governmental and industrial sectors to meet the nation’s needs.
Since 2007, KACST has undertaken infrastructure projects for this technology including laboratories, researches and had also invited Saudi universities to attend specialized courses on nanotechnology, he noted.
Alsuwaiyel referred to applications KACST has developed, including technologies related to solar cells used in water desalination technology, which fall within the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah on water desalination using solar energy.
KACST set up a unit to produce 3-megawatt flat solar panels at the solar village in Al-Aiyyna, where it began production as from the year 2011 with a production capacity of 12,000 panels per year.
He said KACST aims to set up a world class plant to produce solar panels with a capacity of 120 megawatt in Al-Aiyyna solar village on an area of 75,000 square meters.
KACST researchers applied for registration of 49 patents on nanotechnology. It aims to build a generation of technicians and researchers equipped with the latest technologies to run and implement such projects.
With the help of nanotechnology, plans are underway to have a high-speed camera to monitor different transformations that occur on cancer cells compared to healthy cells, and to take advantage of this feature to distinguish between carcinogens and other cells, said Alsuwaiyel.