Environmental expert appointed QAFCO Chair in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Texas A&M at Qatar

Photo of Dr. Paul AnastasTexas A&M University at Qatar and Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) have announced a collaboration to bring a world-recognized environmental expert to Qatar.

U.S. environmental policy and green chemistry expert Dr. Paul Anastas has been recognized as the first holder of the QAFCO Chair in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Texas A&M University at Qatar.

Anastas is internationally regarded as the “father of green chemistry” through his pioneering work on sustainability at the molecular level and his breakthroughs that have made chemical manufacturing cleaner, safer and more efficient.

Texas A&M at Qatar strives to provide state-of-the-art engineering education and research which places it at the forefront of green technology and innovation, and is committed to environmentally sustainable development as put forward in the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Anastas, who has served as the assistant administrator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the agency science adviser to the U.S. president, will also become an adjunct professor of Chemistry at the university. Anastas’ scientific merits and worldwide reputation in the field of green chemistry led to a unanimous committee decision to post him to this prestigious position that focuses on teaching and research and in which he will give research seminars, teach Texas A&M at Qatar students and interact with local industry. It is expected Anastas will also initiate research projects with funding from the Qatar National Research Fund and local Qatar industry.

Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “The appointment of Dr. Anastas is a great honor for the university as it strives to be a major contributor to sustainability in Qatar and a partner in the environmental and scientific development of the nation. We believe his work as the QAFCO Chair in Green Chemistry and Green Engineering at Texas A&M University at Qatar will play a vital role in the continuing transformation of Qatar into a knowledge-based society and act as an example of leadership and excellence to the university’s students and the wider community.”

QAFCO’s support of the chair will endure for five years and is in line with the company’s dedication to becoming a global leader in sustainability and environmental protection. As one of the world’s leading chemical manufacturers, QAFCO endeavors to meet the highest standards of safety and environmental responsibility. The company backs projects that encourage responsible development of energy and sustainable resources such as The Sahara Forest Project that demonstrates and optimizes environmental technologies that will enable restorative growth in desert areas around the world.

Mr. Khalifa Abdulla Al-Sowaidi, QAFCO CEO and vice chairman, said “This initiative is a continuation of a relationship that started in 2008, when we partnered for the QAFCO-Texas A&M at Qatar Chemistry Conference, wherein we witnessed some of best minds in chemistry coming here and enlightening us. QAFCO sees the Texas A&M at Qatar partnershipas the meeting point of ideas with industrial scale pragmatism. We see this as a platform where ideas of mutual benefit can be discussed and promoted to help in furthering the cause of a green sustainable world.”

Speaking on QAFCO’s increased global role, Al-Sowaidi said, “QAFCO, after the inauguration of the QAFCO-6 facility last December, has become the fourth-largest urea producer in the world. This achievement brings with it huge responsibilities to the environment we live and operate in. As part of this commitment, QAFCO in collaboration with Yara International is sponsoring the Sahara Forest Project in a pilot scale to demonstrate the potential of green technology in arid regions like Qatar.”

The Sahara Forest Project is a pilot plant which seeks to develop technologies such as concentrated solar power, saltwater-cooled greenhouses, adaptation of outside vegetation and evaporative hedges, salt production, photovoltaic solar power, salt-loving plant species called Halophytes and algae production.

Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, chair of the science program at Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “QAFCO’s unwavering support of higher education is unparalleled. The creation of this chair is another indication of QAFCO’s commitment toward building an environmentally knowledgeable community. This also corresponds perfectly with the outcomes of last year’s DOHA COP 18 conference.”