x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Counting benefits in renewable energies

Using mathematical algorithms, Hanan al Shemeili "mines" for patterns and prevalence of phrases, which will eventually be used as indicators as to how the technologies will fare.

Hanan al Shemeili, 26, of Ras al Khaimah, a graduating student in computing information science.
Hanan al Shemeili, 26, of Ras al Khaimah, a graduating student in computing information science.

ABU DHABI // As technology related to renewable energy continues to evolve, it can be difficult to gauge which ideas have the best potential for growth.

But Hanan al Shemeili, of Ras al Khaimah, has been able to do that by trawling through public databases and journals to pinpoint key words and provide hints as to which technologies - such as wind, wave and solar - are mentioned most often.

Using mathematical algorithms, Ms al Shemeili "mines" for patterns and prevalence of phrases - "nuclear fission", "photovoltaic", and so on - which will eventually be used as indicators as to how the technologies will fare.

Once the project is complete, her information will enable decision-makers to see which technologies are growing and at what rate.

"As the UAE is now shifting from consumers of technology to producers of technology, and going for the renewable energy sector, they want to know what technologies we want to invest in," Ms al Shemeili said.

"Investment companies or entities like Mubadala want to invest in companies that will give them more profits, and that have a potential to grow and expand in the future."

Ms al Shemeili, 26, is a graduating student of computing information science at Masdar Institute.

Her system of poring over online databases is useful to those looking for a mathematical measure of whether growth in the solar cell niche is stable, or whether interest in nuclear power is waning.

"This [expert opinion] will be the most interesting one for decision-makers to invest in," Ms al Shemeili said. "You do not want to invest in a technology that is already established and that will not open doors for you."

While her case study dealt solely with technology for renewable energy, the process can also be used to evaluate growth indicators for forecasts in other technology sectors.

Ms al Shemeili said she became interested in focusing on renewable energy while working with a professor at Masdar Institute.

She saidthat she hoped to continue working in the area of renewable energy data mining before continuing her studies for her doctorate.

"So far, this has been the most exciting experience I have ever had, and something I definitely could never have imagined for myself," she said.

econroy@thenational.ae