UK showcases new product at Expo 2020


Dr Kandan speaks to the media at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

A new brick, believed to be the first-of-its-kind, made from domestic upcycled plastic waste, is currently being showcased by De Montfort University, the founding partner of the UK Pavilion, at Expo2020 Dubai.

Created by Dr Karthikeyan Kandan, senior lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU), the brick has proven to provide 10 times better insulation than traditional bricks made from clay. It has been created using 3D printing and lattice architecture technologies, which involves criss-crossing strips of the plastic materials to form a grid or weave.

The design of the brick is inspired by nature, after Dr Kandan examined the structure of the Baya weaver bird’s nest, renowned for its elaborately woven construction.

“The Baya weaver bird’s nest’s ingenious construction gives it excellent thermal insulation and mechanical properties for inhabitation,” explained Dr Kandan. “Inside there is a central nesting chamber, which makes it the ideal micro-climate for inhabitation. By replicating this structure, we have manufactured a brick that improves energy efficiency of modern buildings and therefore can reduce carbon footprint.”

PhD student, Saad Alqahtani, who now resides in Riyadh, and works as an engineer for Saudi Standards Metrology and Quality Organization, accompanied Dr. Kandan to carry out controlled experiments on the plastic brick.

To test its thermal insulation characteristics, the brick was placed in a hot-box calorimeter – a piece of equipment used to measure the U-value of an object, which can be set up to simulate the regulatory standard for buildings. U-value is a measure of the flow of heat through an insulating or building material: the lower the U-value, the better the insulating ability.

The results showed the new design delivered an impressive U-value of 0.25 Watts per Metre Kelvin (W/m²K). This is 10 times more effective than a clay brick, which delivers an average of 2.94 W/m²K.

Traditionally, a range of building blocks are required to achieve the regulatory standard U-value, however, the newly designed plastic brick can achieve this on its own.

Dulsco:  Dulsco, an integrated solutions provider and the Official Waste Management Partner of Expo 2020 Dubai, recently commissioned its state-of-the-art Material Recovery Facility in Dubai. Located at Ras Al Khor, the new recycling processing plant has a capacity of 80,000 tonnes per year and is a key component of the company’s comprehensive environmental solutions offering.

Dulsco’s first manual sorting plant, with a capacity of 40 tonnes per day, was built in 2013 in support of the UAE’s mandate to reduce waste to landfills. However, the plant started exceeding capacity within a few years, necessitating the need for a new facility.

David Stockton, Dulsco CEO, said: “As our first plant started reaching capacity, we commissioned a new state-of-the-art material recycling facility. This facility is not only enabling us to reinvent, reimagine, repurpose, and reuse our customers’ waste, but it is also helping us fulfil our commitment to Expo 2020 to help divert waste from landfill. In addition, it underpins our commitment to sustainability and supports our drive towards achieving a circular economy while supporting clients such as Dubai Municipality, Emaar Hospitality Group and Majid Al Futtaim Group to achieve the same.”

He added: “The establishment of this new plant is perfectly aligned with our mission of creating more sustainable communities across the country, and emphasises our continued environmental commitment to businesses, customers, employees and society.”

The Material Recovery Facility is capable of sorting 240 tonnes of multiple waste streams per day. Waste is separated into different types of dry mixed recycling based on material type before going through various processes, depending on the type of waste. For example, oversized elements are separated from the rest of the feedstock, with the remainder being segregated into different fractions and undersized materials. Product material then runs through a further separation process to recover metals. Following this, plastic and other materials are selected and sorted, with oversized items being sorted during the last stage of the production cycle. Recovered and separated material is then compressed in compact bales and sorted, ready for collection and further recycling.

Dulsco’s Environmental Solutions span the waste services domain, from community and industrial waste collection to recycling, medical and hazardous waste management. With sustainability at the core of its operations, the company continues to invest in different waste management and treatment solutions. It also supports active sustainability awareness programmes in schools, businesses and communities across the UAE.

The timing is a big blessing on Dubai to have a grand opening of Expo 2020. This opportunity has come after one and half years of lock down across the world due to the pandemic. The Expo is going to be a grand event. The whole world will have now a reason to visit Dubai. The world is now hailing the vision and courage demonstrated by the leadership of Dubai and the UAE at this special time facing all the challenges and turning the challenges as blessings. About 3 to 5 percent of people visiting Expo 2020 is expected revisiting Dubai or planning to make Dubai their residence post the Expo.

In 1851 the Crystal Palace was the centrepiece of London’s Great Exhibition – the first World Expo. It celebrated the man-made industrial wonders of a rapidly changing world. Architecture, contents and a theme, ‘Industry of All Nations’, were combined to create a big idea of nations meeting nations in shared technological and commercial progress. In more recent years, participants in World Expos, including governments, international organisations and companies, have gathered to find solutions to universal challenges and to promote their achievements, products, ideas, innovations, their national brand, and their nations as destinations for tourism, trade and investment.

World Expos are held under the auspices of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental organisation responsible for overseeing and regulating international exhibitions (‘Expos’) and for fostering their core values of Education, Innovation and Cooperation. Today, four types of Expos are organised under the BIE’s auspices: World Expos, Specialised Expos, Horticultural Expos and the Triennale di Milano.

Meanwhile, the Gulf Cooperation Council Interconnection Authority (GCCIA) will be hosting a two-day forum on cyber security strategies on 26-27 January 2022.

The workshop, which aims to take a closer look at the evolving cyber threat landscape, will be held at the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf Pavilion at Expo 2020 – Dubai.

Eng. Ahmed Al Ebrahim, GCCIA CEO, said “The GCCIA is pleased to host this workshop on cyber security strategies. As Operational Technology (OT) environments continue to converge with IT networks, the need to secure these technologies to support continuous uptime and safety, has never been more critical mainly for business leaders in the oil & gas, chemical, healthcare, mining, utility, and other critical industries.”

With the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape, it is essential to understand the attack vectors, identify potential risks and challenges involved with industrial control systems (ICS) design to preserve ICS normal operations.

The workshop will help attendees gain a better understanding on the current threats targeting OT and highlight some control mechanisms of modern malware landscape. It will stress some of the complication in protecting ICS besides covering the impact of outdated technology usage.

This workshop will bring together some of the brightest minds in the industry, uniting OT security leaders for 2 days of insight building, strategy planning, and expert knowledge exchange.

“The exciting two-day forum is expected to be attended by some of the world’s leading speakers in the field of cyber security. We, at GCCIA, are pleased to be joined by a distinguished panel of cyber security experts–all coming together to help give us their insights and perspectives on the continuously growing cyber security industry and how we can reinforce MENA region’s leading position within the industry,” noted Ebrahim.


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