Sustainable Energy Cooperation Between UKM and Ecuador
By Saiful Bahri Kamaruddin
Pix Ikhwan Hashim
BANGI, 16 July 2014 – The National University of Malaysia (UKM) is to cooperate with the South American nation of Ecuador to undertake research and innovation in producing sustainable and renewable energy.
A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enabling both countries to develop and acquire knowledge in sustainable energy, particularly solar, wind and hydrogen fuel cell power was signed here today by UKM Vice Chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali and Ecuador’s Ambassador to Malaysia Lourdes Puma Puma representing her country’s Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Prof Noor Azlan said both countries will also exchange researchers and students on renewable energy with research done at UKM and a facility in Ecuador with scholarships provided to promising candidates.
Present at the signing were Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic and International Affairs) Prof Ir Dr Riza Atiq Abdullah OK Rahmat; Solar Energy Research Institute Director Prof Dato’ Dr Kamaruzzaman Sopian; Director of the Centre of International Relations Prof Dr Imran Ho; Dean of the Faculty of Science and Technology Prof Dr Sahrim Ahmad and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Engineering Prof Ir Dr Salina Abdul Samad.
Ambassadors and representatives of Chile, Argentina, Venezuela and Cuba were also present.
Prof Noor Azlan hopes the MoU is the beginning of scientific and innovative cooperation that will eventually lead to cross-discipline participation in economics and business management with Ecuador.
Lourdes said her country is very interested in Malaysia’s research into harnessing solar and wind energy and offered facilities to carry out such research in Ecuador.
Ecuador had already offered UKM participation in a ground-breaking educational project at its new visionary city called Yachay following the visit by its Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility Minister, Ricardo Patinoon to UKM in 2013. Patinoon was impressed by UKM’s achievements and had recommended his country’s universities cooperate with UKM at Yachay.
Lourdes said Yachay is envisioned as South America’s Silicon Valley and “City of Knowledge Research Centre” which incorporates Education with Industry to foster innovation while providing comfortable homes to knowledge workers.
Yachay is a Quechua or Inca word meaning “The utilization of knowledge with wisdom”. Ecuador’s government led by President Rafael Correa wants Yachay to have the best universities in Latin America, which will develop new technologies in science, medicine, telecommunications, cybernetics, nano technology and botany.
Lourdes said both countries have similar geographic and climatic characteristics which made it suitable for joint cooperation in using sustainable energy that they have in abundance, such as solar and wind.