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UAEREP launches 5th cycle awarded project kick off with TII

ABU DHABI: The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP) today attended a project kick-off meeting with Dr. Guillaume Matras and his team from the Directed Energy Research Center (DERC) at the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), award recipients of the 5th UAEREP grant cycle, to discuss the project’s timeline, technical support needed from the National Centre of Meteorology (NCM), and the progress evaluation and oversight mechanism applied by the UAEREP secretariat.

DERC’s innovative research project, led by Dr. Matras and titled “Laser-based Rain Triggering Demonstrator with Integrated Remote Sensing Technology,” seeks to assess and showcase the viability of inducing rain formations by creating laser-induced channels of plasma within clouds.

Building on prior research, this endeavour involves comprehensive investigations and experimental work in the laboratory to understand the interactions between laser-generated plasma and atmospheric particles. Simultaneously, the team endeavors to r
eplicate the process in outdoor environments using a customised Mobile High-Power Pulsed Laser Demonstrator (MHPPLD), bolstered by a remote sensing system capable of measuring the Droplet Size Distribution (DSD) and locally probing the molecular composition of clouds.

The kick-off meeting additionally provided context for NCM regarding the DERC research team’s requirements for data sharing and laboratory facility readiness. The meeting participants then completed a tour of the DERC facilities at TII, offering an opportunity to discuss required equipment and technology leveraged for the project, as well as broader interest areas.

Alya Al Mazroui, Director of UAEREP, said, ‘We are proud to attend the commencement of this innovative rain enhancement project led by Dr. Matras and his team at TII. Additionally, UAEREP is delighted this occurred in conjunction with the official announcement of the ‘Mohamed bin Zayed Water Initiative’, which aims to enhance awareness of the severity of the water scarcity crisis an
d accelerate the pace of technological innovation and manage the challenges it poses.’

She added, ‘The UAEREP is committed to supporting ground-breaking research initiatives, which hold immense potential for addressing global water challenges. We look forward to collaborating closely with Dr. Matras, uniting our joint expertise and ensuring the success of this project. We are confident this project will yield a global research impact, leverage state-of-the-art laser-based and remote sensing technology, and propel applied rain enhancement research.’

Dr. Chaouki Kasmi, Chief Researcher of DERC, TII, said, ‘We were honoured to host UAEREP at TII this week as they kicked off this exciting project. Water scarcity is an ever-growing challenge, but one for which we are continually seeking viable solutions. We are proud to support Dr. Matras and his team as they embark on this journey with UAEREP.’

The awarded project seeks to complement the Directed Energy Research Facility with dedicated atmospheric research lab
oratories in Abu Dhabi. With a dedicated education-oriented component, this project will foster knowledge sharing and enabling innovative solutions in cloud microphysics and environmental monitoring.

Dr. Matras, Senior Director of the High Power Lasers and Applications department within DERC, TII, and 5th cycle UAEREP awardee, said, ‘My team and I are thrilled to begin working on our laser-based rain enhancement project at TII with the support of UAEREP. We were very proud to be named one of the 5th cycle grant recipients, and look forward to initiating the project, working toward our high technology readiness level field demonstrations. We firmly believe that our research can positively contribute to rain enhancement progress.’

The consortium led by Dr. Matras additionally includes researchers from prominent institutions, including the Weizmann Institute of Science, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa), and the Institut fr Strahlwerkzeuge at the University of Stuttgart
. As part of its overarching mission, UAEREP is certain this project will further foster capacity building initiatives within the research community, ensuring sustained progress and knowledge exchange in the field of rain enhancement science.

Source: Emirates News Agency