AURAK’s Decathlon Ready
The American University of Ras Al Khaimah (AURAK) President, Professor Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim, and the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost, Professor Stephen Wilhite attended the inaugural ceremony for the Solar Decathlon Middle East 2018 and visited the Al Bayt Al Kamel Zero Energy Villa constructed by AURAK students in Dubai.
The Solar Decathlon Middle East is a competition created through Dubai Electricity and Water Authority and the Department of Energy of the United States of America challenging university teams to design solar houses to stand up to the heat, dust, and high humidity of the Middle East. AURAK Engineering and Architecture students constructed a self-dependent, sustainable net zero energy house that uses eight to ten kilowatts of electricity that is produced from a solar energy grid, based on the traditional UAE house. Graduate Engineering student, Fatima Aly, was particularly excited about her role of coordinating electronic connections, installing panels, and battery/energy storage in constructing the house, “It was great to learn practically and apply classroom theory. We were able to make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. The most challenging part was learning about the panels and how to connect them because they are new to the Middle East, so this was our first time working with them. We had to step in, not only as engineers, but as hands-on workers as well.”
Professor Hassan was thrilled with the opportunity for his students to be able to participate in this competition, “Every opportunity to apply classroom theory to real-world experience should be capitalized on. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance for students to take what they have learned in the classroom and apply it to a practical situation. In participating in this contest, they are learning lessons they will remember for the rest of their professional careers.”