Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (DEWA) | Research & Development (R&D) Centre

Research & Development (R&D) Centre

The DEWA R&D Centre, at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, has become a global platform that provides innovative solutions and technologies to enhance the operations and services of utilities around the world. The Centre’s research areas include solar power, smart grid integration, energy efficiency, and water. It also focuses on space technologies and the Fourth Industrial Revolution applications. Through Space-D, the Centre develops several niche use-cases for grid and water networks. These core areas of the R&D are supported by 3 Enablers: Fourth Industrial Revolution (including AI, IoT, Robotics & Drones, 3D Printing & Advanced Materials), Space technologies and Energy System Analyses. 

The R&D Centre infrastructure includes:
  • Solar indoor testing and accelerated aging lab,
  • Outdoor Test Facility (OTF) for continuous monitoring of solar photovoltaic module performance in actual conditions, a Building-Integrated Photovoltaics (BIPV) testing facility, and Cleaning Test Field for robotic solutions.
  • Lab facilities: Robotics and Drone, Advanced Materials and Characterization, Additive Manufacturing,
  • High Performance Computing Cluster,
  • Energy Storage Testing and Validation Field,
  • Green Hydrogen Pilot,
  • Photovoltaic-driven Reverse Osmosis test system,
  • Internet of Things Lab, and
  • A satellite ground station for DEWA’s space initiative (Space-D) and more.

Vision and Mission

The Centre’s goal is to become a globally leading platform for developing and demonstrating promising solutions for the future energy and water systems. Its mission is to generate value for DEWA through cutting edge applied research to ensure that DEWA and its ecosystem remains at the forefront of providing world-class services cost-effectively.

The Centre adopts international R&D best practices and supports the objectives of the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050. The research and development activities are conducted in-house and in cooperation with international institutions.

Research Areas Activities

Solar Research Area

The Solar Research Area studies ways to improve solar photovoltaic technologies to mitigate the effects of dust and extreme desert conditions on the performance of solar BIPV and photovoltaic panels, while testing their long-term reliability and developing appropriate standards.

Water Research Area

The Water Research Area assesses and develops sustainable solutions for the desalination and purification of water using solar power (Photovoltaic and Reverse Osmosis (PVRO) and Forward Osmosis), detect and reduce water transmission losses, and reduce resource use by minimizing brine effluent.

Smart Grid Integration Research Area

The Smart Grid Integration Research Area evaluates and develops systems to facilitate and optimise the integration of renewables in the grid while maintaining power quality standards. This includes the use of electricity storage systems (chemical, thermal, and mechanical technologies), and the aggregation of distributed energy and storage resources, such as Virtual Power Plants (VPPs) and electric vehicle chargers.

Energy Efficiency Research Area

The Energy Efficiency Research Area aims to foster smart and sustainable development, reduce the waste of energy by improving the efficiency of energy systems (with a focus on cooling), and overall accelerate the clean energy transition. Its research work identifies, develops, and validates innovative solutions that enable smart and efficient energy use, boost renewables, and promote health and happiness.

Space Research Area

The Space Research Area aims to support DEWA with high efficiency, low-cost remote sensing & operations using satellites and ground station capabilities. Its developed solutions are designed specifically to address utility needs including secondary substation feeder monitoring, asset integrity, and forecasting services.  DEWA launched its 3U nanosatellite DEWA-SAT1. DEWA was the world’s first utility to use nanosatellites to enhance the maintenance and planning of electricity and water networks.

Fourth Industrial Revolution

This research area enables the effective development of solutions that support the core areas. Its robotics and drone solutions are used to provide inspection and maintenance services using unmanned/autonomous operations across the whole utility value chain (e.g. photovoltaic plants, transmission line inspection and maintenance). The Artificial Intelligence (AI) team develops, tests, and integrates AI technologies for optimisation of grid operations, short-term solar forecasting etc. Internet of Things (IoT) enables remote monitoring diagnostics, and power and asset management using smart sensors and analytics with artificial intelligence and cloud capabilities. The advanced materials team provide expertise in the form of forensic analysis of materials to detect failures and the development of advanced energy storage systems (batteries and supercapacitors). Finally, the 3D printing team is developing 3D printing capabilities for addressing DEWA’s spare parts and rapid prototyping needs. The facility currently operates 16 3D Printing systems that can utilize more than 20 materials which can cover a wide range of applications and use cases within DEWA.

Energy System Analysis Research

Energy System Analysis Research develops and applies advanced capabilities for joint technical and economic assessment of energy-related technologies, systems, and policies. The area develops energy models, lifecycle assessment models, and business strategy assessments to support DEWA’s future readiness. This area models and assesses new energy system configurations and technologies at the macro level with a focus on cost-optimal integration of renewable energy systems and strategies for the deployment of new energy technologies.