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Developing a Sustainable Future with Algae | Qatar University

Developing a Sustainable Future with Algae

2021-09-26
Spirulina,Chlorella,Algae,Powder,In,A,Glass,Jar,And,In

The Problem

Due to tough climactic conditions that make an environment for food production less than ideal, Qatar has largely depended on food imports to satisfy the needs of an ever-growing population. But food security has never felt more urgent as evidenced by headlines over the last 15 years. A world food price crisis, a blockade against the nation and most recently a global pandemic has highlighted the need to be more self-sufficient in food production. Global environmental changes have added another tricky variable to the challenge, which demands that food production be as undisruptive as possible.

The Solution

The University’s Centre for Sustainable Development aims to ensure that Qatar makes the most of its natural resources in a sustainable way. The center performs research into food and water security, renewable energy, the governance of natural resources and waste management. Because of water scarcity, limited arable land and high temperatures in Qatar, securing a sustainable food production pipeline is challenging. Consequently, this is a high priority for the center, and a new plant is currently under construction in the north of Qatar for the production of food, fuel and health products.

One of the most important research initiatives is Qatar University’s Algal Technologies Program (ATP), led by Dr. Hareb Mohammad Al-Jabri with his team members. Qatar’s environment offers a unique biodiversity in terms of the presence of microalgae and cyanobacteria – a type of microorganism that thrives on sunlight and CO2 – and ideal year-round growing conditions due to its hot and dry climate. “We want to take advantage of the high temperatures, abundant sunlight, and saline water which we have here in Qatar,” explains Dr. Al-Jabri. “All of these conditions make cultivation of traditional crops challenging, but microalgae can thrive under our condition, and can be a great alternative source of food and feed.”

Name of the Researcher:

Dr. Hareb Mohammad Al-Jabri

Environmental Sciences Professor

Publications | Qatar University (qu.edu.qa)