Total wins two QNRF Grants and sponsors students to promote research
Two of Total’s research projects are being awarded funding in Cycle 13 of National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), a flagship program of Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The NPRP bases its decision on projects with exceptional ideas, approaches, and models that may solve key issues of national, regional or global interest.
The two winning proposals, namely ‘Assessing the contribution of oil platforms and the impact of decommissioning scenarios to marine biodiversity, productivity and connectivity (PlatDeCom) and ‘Reactor Innovation for a Low Carbon Process to Upgrade Methane to Chemicals and Hydrogen’ have been awarded a maximum grant of USD 700,000 each, and have a duration of 4 years per project.
These grants are a clear indication of the trust placed on Total for engaging in research that can positively impact the citizens and residents of Qatar. As of January 2021, the total number of Total’s active NPRP research projects are 9.
Total Qatar’s VP Innovation & Change Management, Yousef Al-Jaber, said “I would like to congratulate the research teams from Total, Qatar University, and Texas A&M University at Qatar for this great achievement. It is a recognition of our commitment, dedication and efforts in addressing priority topics of national interest in Qatar and a part of our ongoing commitment to support a knowledge-based economy in Qatar.”
The first project, PlatDeCom, conducted in partnership with Qatar University, will assess the contribution of oil platforms and the impact of their decommissioning on marine biodiversity, productivity and connectivity. It will include international researchers from USA, Denmark and Australia.
Associate Professor in Marine Sciences in QU, and a member of the PlatDeCom research team, Dr. Radhouan Ben-Hamadou commented saying, “Offshore man-made structures, and specifically oil platforms are seen as a disturbance to the marine environment, we found out in our recent researches that these platforms constitute actually a hotspot and a refuge for marine biodiversity and boost biological productivity. As these structures are phased out and need to be decommissioned, we see here an opportunity to turn these ‘threats’ into opportunity by reefing them and taking advantage of their associated biodiversity, productivity and crucial role as a stepping stone for marine connectivity. This is an innovative approach, thinking outside the box, to further advance practices of ecosystem restoration and marine life conservation in Qatar, the region and worldwide.”
Anne Basseres, Total’s Sustainable Development Senior Research Project Leader said: We aim, through our research, to sustain a high level of marine biodiversity and productivity, and ultimately enhance environmental protection, fisheries productivity and marine resources in Qatar. Our research could also result in a strong collaboration between Government, Oil and Gas Industry & Academia.
Total’s second project, in collaboration with Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) will focus on innovating reactor technologies to develop a sustainable process for the synthesis of high-value platform chemicals and hydrogen from methane, with the purpose of achieving low to near zero CO2 emission from the source, and maximizing energy-efficiency. This project was built by TRC-Q and TAMUQ in coordination with the Total Research and Technology Center Feluy (TRTF - Belgium), who will provide additional technical guidance and experimental support.
On this occasion, two students from Texas A&M University at Qatar have been sponsored by Total starting January 2021, as a part of Total’s effort to further research in sustainable natural gas conversion to chemical products. The 8-month program will see graduate students Nagat Elrefaei and Muhammad Jamil innovating new processes to sustainably convert natural gas to chemical products. They will now work under the guidance of Texas A&M at Qatar faculty expert, Dr. Ma’moun Al-Rawashdeh.
The purpose of this sponsorship is to promote local knowledge and innovation on the sustainable development of downstream processes that use natural gas as feedstock, with the goal of producing chemical products that are of strategic importance to Qatar.
Dr. Ma’moun Al-Rawashdeh, Assistant Professor in Chemical Engineering “In the Catalytic Reactor Laboratory at TAMUQ, we are exploring ways to convert methane and other gases into chemicals in a way that is more sustainable, safer, and with a lower environmental footprint. In Qatar we must first build the human capacity required through close collaboration with industry, which we are very thankful to receive from Total.”
Dr. César Octavio Malavé, Dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “At Texas A&M at Qatar, we are generating new knowledge and intellectual capital through innovative research and collaborations with industry to engineer practical, sustainable solutions to real-world challenges in Qatar and around the world. It is also our mission to train the next generation of engineering leaders in Qatar, and we are grateful to our partners at Total for supporting graduate student research that could lead to new opportunities for industry in Qatar.”
Alessandro Chieregato, Chemistry Research Study Leader at Total Qatar said “We have been making considerable efforts to further research in sustainable natural gas conversion to chemical products. This project, therefore, comes in line with Total’s R&D’s vision to develop technologies to further reduce our carbon footprint, and gives us a platform to work with young, promising researchers from TAMUQ”.