Space technology plays key role in protecting the oceans, says Dubai Expo 2020

Experts call for greater interaction between technologies we use in space and those we use on Earth
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Technologies helping humanity explore the final frontier, such as next-gen robotics, artificial intelligence and satellite monitoring, have a key role in protecting our planet’s delicate marine ecosystems, the former head of Norway’s arm of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) told a World Majlis discussion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Monday (21 March).

On the second day of Expo 2020 Dubai’s ongoing Water Week (20-26 March), during the expert panel held at Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, Nina Jensen, CEO, REV Ocean – a state-of-the-art research vessel – and former Secretary-General of WWF Norway, said: “We’re in the midst of what they’re calling the fourth industrial revolution, where a number of new technologies are becoming available to us – to monitor what’s going on, on this planet.

“Space stations, satellite technology and monitoring, coupled with advanced robotics, [AI] and so forth, enable us to much better understand what is actually happening both on the Earth and in our oceans – and the interconnectedness between all of this. So there needs to be a close interplay between the technologies that we’re using in space and the ones that we’re using down here.”

Jensen’s comments were made during ‘Living Ocean: Reversing Our Impact on Marine Ecosystems’, which gathered marine experts and environmentalists to discuss how to best secure a future of better-protected marine habitats.

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Fellow panellist Katia Nicolet, a doctor of marine biology and scientist aboard the Energy Observer – described as the first hydrogen-powered, zero-emission vessel to be energy self-sufficient – built on the discussion’s tech focus. Referring to the energy transition within the cargo and shipping sector, she said: [Hydrogen] is not the only solution, but it’s a very good solution – if it’s produced with renewable energy.

Hydrogen is a vector of energy, it’s not an energy in itself. It has to be produced by green energy, otherwise it’s just displacing the issue. But green hydrogen can definitely be a key for those key players in the industry.”

Expo 2020 Dubai also recognises the potential of green hydrogen in the planet’s future energy mix, developing – in collaboration with DEWA, its Official Sustainable Energy Partner, and Siemens Energy – the first industrial scale Green Hydrogen Project in the Middle East and North Africa.

Water Week, comprising a series of purposeful and action-orientated events to explore water in all its facets, is the last of 10 Theme Weeks that have taken place throughout the six months of Expo 2020 Dubai, forming part of the Programme for People and Planet.

Text, photos and video: Expo Dubai 2020.