Mohammed Al Housani
“It all starts with a question. From an early age, my curiosity was encouraged and I was taught to ask questions. About everything. Asking questions makes you think, which makes you search for the answer, and that answer is usually found in science.”
Texas A&M University in Qatar graduate Mohammed Al Housani entered into the service of Rasgas soon after his academic stint in petroleum engineering came to an end, all the while honing his technical knowledge, critical thinking and research skills. It is curious how those in the hydrocarbon sector take an active interest in renewables (case in point being Green Gulf CEO, Omran Al Kuwari). Al Housani had a spark of an idea after his participation in COP18, which raised his energy and environment awareness. “So I came up with Taqatech, a hybrid solar system that harvests both thermal and light energy from the sun in order to reach higher productivity of energy, in less area and with less cost,” he says. His participation in Stars of Science helped him develop this idea into a viable product. But the road to success was by no means easy. “Taqatech is a complicated product that required a large number of tests and trials, but with limited time because we can only work in daylight as the product and tests needed the sun.
My progress was slower than the others and while the Engineering and Design Primes were getting closer and closer, I was not even close to finishing the product,” he remembers. But as history would note, Al Housani was indeed able to complete his tasks and went on to win, edging out other innovations like the zucchini corer and Wudu cleaner. He says modestly that even though his invention would have the greatest impact on the global scale, each had their own audience and it was difficult to predict the winner. But win he did and, like him, the jury and audience too saw the high potential of Taqatech, given that the solar industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world right now. It has finally managed to break free from the dark cloud that has been hovering over it since its early years and is finally ready to go mainstream. “Solar power is getting more and more efficient and cost effective and therefore it is becoming more applicable,” he says.
“In addition to that, countries are becoming more environmentally aware and their increasing environmental obligations are pushing them to use more solar.” Zooming back in, for now Al Housani is intent on commercialising his invention.
This competition, he says, changed his life by providing him with the skill box and the process of thinking required to turn a simple idea into a product. From now on, it's solely his show.