The conference was as successful as its predecessor events in 2015 and 2016 in bringing scientists, policy makers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders from Egypt and all over the world together to discuss the potential for renewable energy and water supply in rural areas.
Despite the extraordinary advances of technologies for renewable energy in the last decades, over a billion people worldwide still suffer a lack of safe drinking water and sustainable energy. Therefore, the initiators of the event invited about 80 participants to showcase and discuss promising approaches and applications for different types of renewable energy as sustainable solutions for rural populations with no access to centralised power and water supplies. Special emphasis was put on solar electricity and its economic applications for village electrification and the supply of safe drinking water. During these four days workshops, lectures and tours provided an in-depth view of the subject matter and a big variety of networking opportunities.
The conference featured two keynotes from German experts. The first keynote was given by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Dickhaut from HafenCity University in Hamburg who opened the conference with an overview of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and a focus on the requirements of solar energy solutions and water supply in rural areas. Prof. Dickhaut along with his colleagues Prof. Dr. Martin Wickel and Dipl.-Ing. Sonja Schlipf also happened to be in Egypt heading the HafenCity University student delegation, a partner of Cairo University in the project “Strategies of climate adaptation and resource efficiency for new urban neighbourhoods: a comparison between Hamburg and Cairo” funded by the “Higher Education Dialogue Programme” of the DAAD Regional Office Cairo. At the core of the programme on resource efficiency is the development of strategies for a climate friendly development and retrofitting of dense urban neighbourhoods.
COSIMENA supported the event by enabling the participation of the second German keynote speaker Lukas Wagner, a researcher from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE). Wagner researches materials physics, materials science and solid-state physics. He gave his keynote address on the status and novel developments of local implementations of photovoltaics, briefing the audience on present advances in solar energy solutions across the planet. Wagner especially encouraged the students in the audience to become active in addressing our planet’s biggest sustainability challenges.