If you can’t beat ’em, do you join ’em or redirect the game? Qatari desert camps are often equipped with a variety of electronics, including refrigerators, air-conditioning units (check out these Dead Sea inspired Advantix Systems), and televisions powered by diesel generators. (Berbers in the Sahara also rely on diesel generators to pump water). Rather than dismissing these trappings and the pollution generated to maintain them, the 26 year old Qatari inventor Hashim Al Sada created a clean energy alternative that will allow his fellow Qataris to enjoy these full-luxury “camping” trips without the attendant environmental destruction.
Antidote to global warming
During his college years, Al Sada was inspired by a documentary about global warming to focus on a solar-powered generator for his final project.
After testing 65 different solar panels, this young visionary chose the one that is best equipped to handle Qatar’s specific climate. His 60 kw prototype that can be mounted on the tents’ roofs is lighweight, cheap, and compact, according to Trust.org, and has been tested in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq and Libya.
High-end solar-powered camps
Without any of the carbon emissions associated with diesel generators, Al Sada’s invention can power high end desert camps – complete with air conditioning, refrigerators and television – for up to 50 people.
He also believes that his model can be scaled up to provide solar energy for small homes and villages throughout the Arab world.
Wealth is a barrier to invention
Al Sada explained to Trust.org that Qatari wealth is a barrier to invention, since most people are more inclined to buy solutions to their socio-economic problems than develop their own. He is trying to change that.
In addition to pursuing his own ideas, he helps to run a camp for the Qatar Scientific Club sponsored by the Qatari government. Each year 1200 students from 40 different nationalities learn about music, ecology, robotics and animation.
A wonderful role model, the inventor told Trust:
“My main emphasis is on teaching them to do things themselves, and to tell them about renewable energy and recycling,” adding that “We often talk about global warming and climate change and they teach me many new things as well. It’s good to learn from our children.”
Per capita, Qatar nationals consume more energy than any other country in the world. Much of that energy is spent on producing clean water. Unlike its vast solar resources, neither the country’s oil or natural gas reserves are infinite or renewable.
Al Sada has a dream: before he dies, he hopes to see solar-powered smart houses and a solar farm in Qatar, something that he believes could be catalyzed if the controversial World Cup 2022 project is successful.
More on solar energy projects in Qatar:
image via Qatar Foundation