Feb 13, 2019

Chemical engineering students from Muscat University, leading scientists from PDO, and academic faculty have applied creativity to the global challenge of environmental sustainability.

Bachelors and Foundation students produced intricate works of art using materials too often thrown away and which can take generations to decompose. The initiative was designed by Lab Specialist Sheikha Al Amri.

Dr. Nader Mosavat, Programme Director in the Faculty of Engineering and Technology at Muscat University, told the audience “Most families throw away around forty kilos of plastic each year. Many plastics can take more than five hundred years to degrade.”

Vice-Chancellor Professor Yusra Mouzughi welcomed judges from one of Muscat University’s founding industrial partners, PDO. They assessed a range of innovative artworks, questioning students on their scientific and environmental awareness, technical skills, and their ability to innovate and work collaboratively.

Dr Abdullah Al-Abri of PDO said: “The ability to approach a challenge creatively and to solve problems is what employers look for and will need far into the future. Scientific grounding has to be supplemented by planning skills, the need to analyse risk and to communicate. We saw all of this today and it is what you hope to find in a model university.”

PDO colleague Dr Suleiman Tobi added: “Today’s interaction makes me optimistic for the future generation of chemical engineers in the Sultanate.”

One of the winning designs applied fluorescence in a specially darkened exhibition space. Another combined technical execution with strong environmental messages. Team member Saif Al Wahabi said the group had learned to achieve consensus where approaches differed, but he added: “Where we all agreed was on the enormity and importance of the challenge to create a cleaner and more environmentally considerate society.”

PDO’s Senior Technical Safety Engineer Dr Elizabeth Salter welcomed the students’ commitment, noting that “they have now become advocates for sustainability, educating others.”