- Masdar, the UAE’s flagship renewable energy company, and VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH, part of VERBUND group, Austria’s leading energy company, sign agreement at COP28 to explore feasibility of large-scale electrolysis in central Spain.
- Agreement creates a 50:50 partnership for a joint study to explore the development of green hydrogen, while consolidating Masdar’s and VERBUND’s strong commitment in Spain and Europe
- Potential green hydrogen produced could be used to decarbonize hard-to-abate industries in Spain and central Europe to meet net-zero goals.
DUBAI, UAE, Dec. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — COP28, Expo City Dubai; Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company PJSC – Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, and VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH have signed a deal to explore developing a green hydrogen plant in central Spain with a view to decarbonizing Europe’s hard-to-abate sectors.
As world leaders negotiate at the UN’s Climate Change Conference COP28 in the UAE, clean energy pioneers Masdar and VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH moved forward with plans to analyze the feasibility of building one of Europe’s largest green hydrogen production plants in central Spain. Harnessing the abundant renewable resources of Castilla-La Mancha region, the prospective plant will aim to generate green hydrogen to cover industrial demand in Spain and central Europe. The study will evaluate if green hydrogen produced at the plant has the potential to displace up to 1 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually, equivalent of removing around 700,000 cars from the road every year.
The agreement was signed by Mohammad Abdelqader El Ramahi, Masdar’s Chief Green Hydrogen Officer and Hamead Ahrary, Managing Director of VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH during COP28 in Expo City Dubai. It cements an earlier pact, signed between the companies during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January 2023, to explore green hydrogen opportunities to cover European demand.
Green hydrogen is produced using electricity from renewable sources whereby the water is separated into oxygen and hydrogen, via the process of electrolysis. It is intended that the explored plant will produce green hydrogen using renewable energy generated by solar power plants, potentially including Masdar’s planned gigawatt-scale solar plant in Castilla-La Mancha, and onshore wind farms. The project is expected to stimulate job creation and boost green industry in the sparsely populated area.
Mohammad Abdelqader El Ramahi, Masdar’s Chief Green Hydrogen Officer, said: “Masdar is delighted to be moving forward on this milestone project with our strategic partner, VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH. As one of Europe’s largest planned green hydrogen production plants, the project aims to produce green hydrogen to help decarbonize the continent’s hard-to-abate industries while creating jobs and tapping into the region’s enormous solar and wind potential. Our successful collaboration on this project paves the way for further development of green hydrogen and a vital pipeline linking centers of production with end-use markets. At COP28, as the world looks for ways to accelerate the journey to net zero, partnerships such as this serve as a powerful example of what can be achieved if we work together with purpose and at pace.”
There is huge growth potential for green hydrogen in Europe. Spain currently consumes around 500,000 tonnes of mainly traditional fuel derived ‘gray’ hydrogen per year, which could be gradually replaced with green hydrogen. By 2035, Austria alone is expected to require around 600,000 tonnes per year of clean hydrogen.
Michael Strugl, Chief Executive Officer of VERBUND, emphasized the innovation and technology leadership in the ramp-up of the hydrogen economy in Europe with this project: “We are very pleased that, within our cooperation with Masdar we can take the next step in the form of a Joint Study Agreement (JSA). The goal is to identify the subsequent way forward towards large-scale hydrogen production in Spain. Partnerships like this are essential to jointly ramp up the European hydrogen market to meet decarbonization goals.”
Hamead Ahrary, Managing Director of VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH added: “The Spanish market plays a vital role for us, both for the development of local H2 production, as well as for future potential import to central Europe. The joint study will generate valuable insights for the feasibility and execution of a potential project, which would result in the further strengthened positioning of VERBUND in the Spanish market. Hence, we are looking forward to the results of this study.”
The planned green hydrogen produced is expected to be used to decarbonize Spain or Europe’s hard-to-abate sectors, which could include steel production, fertilizers, chemicals, heavy transportation, and aviation. Currently, steelmaking alone is responsible for 5 percent of European carbon emissions. With most European Union nations pledging to become carbon neutral by 2050, green hydrogen presents a powerful vehicle for achieving that aim.
Expected to be operational by the end of the decade, the planned green hydrogen plant will serve the industrial sector and has the potential to help decarbonize heavy transportation in Spain as well as in central Europe.
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) is the UAE’s clean energy champion and one of the fastest growing companies in the world, advancing the development and deployment of renewable energy and green hydrogen technologies to address global sustainability challenges. Established in 2006, Masdar has developed projects in over 40 countries, helping them to achieve their clean energy objectives and advance sustainable development. Masdar is jointly owned by Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), Mubadala Investment Company (Mubadala), and Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), and under this ownership the company is targeting a renewable energy portfolio capacity of at least 100 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 and an annual green hydrogen production capacity of up to 1 million tonnes by the same year.
VERBUND Green Hydrogen GmbH is part of VERBUND group which is Austria’s leading energy company and one of the largest producers of electricity from hydropower in Europe. VERBUND group generates around 95 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, primarily hydropower. The group trades in electricity in 12 countries and, in 2022, achieved a consolidated result of around €1,700 million and EBITDA of around €3,160 million with around 3,500 employees. With subsidiaries and partners, VERBUND is active in everything from electricity generation and transport to international trading and sales. VERBUND has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since 1988, 51% of the share capital is owned by the Republic of Austria.
VERBUND is the decisive player for the success of the energy turnaround in Austria. The challenges that lie ahead require a cohesive orientation of the entire company, which VERBUND is driving forward with Mission V. Mission V is a long-term and comprehensive transformation program and stands for the will to confront the climate crisis as a force for change. This program is based on the VERBUND Strategy 2030 with its three thrusts: Strengthening the integrated home market, expanding renewable energies in Europe and establishing itself as a European hydrogen player. With Mission V, VERBUND is accelerating the achievement of its strategic goals 2030 and ensuring their implementation.
This material is distributed by Daniel J. Edelman, Inc. on behalf of Masdar. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice, Washington, DC.
Validation Cloud Secures $5.8 Million in Inaugural Funding to Propel Web3 Infrastructure
ZUG, Switzerland, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — In a significant stride towards revolutionizing Web3 infrastructure, Validation Cloud has proudly announced the successful closure of its first external investment round, amassing $5.8 million. Spearheaded by San Francisco-based Cadenza Ventures, this funding round exceeded expectations with contributions from an impressive roster of international investors, including Blockchain Founders Fund, Bloccelerate, Blockwall, Side Door Ventures, Metamatic, GS Futures, and AP Capital.
Alex Nwaka, Co-Founder of Validation Cloud, expressed enthusiasm about the funding, “This investment marks a pivotal moment for Validation Cloud as we aim to address the urgent demand for scalable and compliant Web3 infrastructure. We’re honored to collaborate with our investors who are instrumental in propelling the global adoption of our platform among cutting-edge networks, developers, and asset managers.”
Validation Cloud is at the forefront of Web3 technology, having developed an innovative system architecture that paves the way for significant advancements in the sector. Known as the “Cloudflare of Web3,” the company offers a robust, scalable, and intelligent platform providing Staking, Node API, and Data services, drawing inspiration from Cloudflare’s transformative impact on Web2 infrastructure.
Founded by veterans in the Proof-of-Stake domain, Validation Cloud boasts a team of highly experienced professionals from renowned organizations such as Uber, Workday, Deloitte, Citadel, Morgan Stanley, Binance, Crypto.com, Figure, R3, and more, emphasizing a talent-first approach with a worldwide workforce.
Kumar Dandapani, Managing Partner at Cadenza Ventures, highlighted the strategic vision behind their investment, “At Cadenza, we do not invest in just any company; we invest in the future of transformative technologies. Validation Cloud’s pioneering role in Proof-of-Stake and their relentless pursuit of next-generation Web3 infrastructure have set them apart as leaders in the Web3 space.”
Aly Madhavji, Managing Partner at Blockchain Founders Fund, shared his thoughts on the investment, “We believe in the transformative power of Web3 and its ability to redefine how businesses operate. Investing in Validation Cloud aligns perfectly with our vision of supporting innovative platforms that are ready to lead the next wave of digital transformation.”
Validation Cloud has earned a reputation for its close partnerships with networks from their nascent stages, supporting a wide array of ecosystems from established ones like Chainlink, Hedera, and Stellar to emerging networks such as Aptos, Eigenlayer, and Berachain. Their platform lays the groundwork for the enterprise adoption of networks, positioning Validation Cloud as a key player in the Web3 infrastructure landscape.
For further details on Validation Cloud and its offerings, please visit www.validationcloud.io.
Please contact: Kelly Clark, Director of Communications | [email protected]
Klarna says its AI assistant does the work of 700 people after it laid off 700 people
The Swedish fintech, which was criticized for its handling of a dramatic staff reduction in 2022, is touting new efficiencies powered by OpenAI.
Klarna is bullish on bots.
One month after taking its OpenAI-powered virtual assistant global, the Swedish buy-now, pay-later company has released new data touting its ability to handle customer communications, make shoppers happier, and even drive better financial results.
The app-based AI chatbot already handles two-thirds of all customer service chats, the company said Tuesday—some 2.3 million conversations so far—with the virtual assistant earning customer satisfaction ratings at the same level as human agents. Klarna, which is expected to go public this year and will need all the hype it can get at a time when investors have been generally frosty toward IPOs, estimates that the chatbot could help improve its profits by $40 million in 2024.
Announcing a partnership with OpenAI early last year, Klarna said it was one of the first companies to integrate the firm’s groundbreaking ChatGPT technology into a plug-in for shopping. The natural-language interface initially helped customers choose items and make other shopping-related decisions based on personalized queries, a feature Klarna described as “smooth shopping.”
The company has continued to build out its AI offerings since then. Its app-based assistants are now available to customers worldwide and handle a variety of tasks including refunds, cancellations, and even disputes.
Klarna boasted in its announcement on Tuesday that the AI assistant “is doing the equivalent work of 700 full-time agents.”
That statement may raise eyebrows for anyone who remembers the middle of 2022, when the company laid off roughly the same number of employees, then about 10% of its staff. At the time, CEO Sebastian Siemiatkowski cited economic uncertainty, inflation, and the likelihood of a recession as reasons for the cuts. He was criticized for his handling of the staff reduction after he shared a public spreadsheet on LinkedIn that contained the names of many of the laid-off workers.
Fast Company asked Klarna how the company arrived at its calculation for its AI assistant’s human-equivalent productivity. The company said the number of equivalent jobs the AI could perform wasn’t related to the layoffs. In a statement, a spokesperson said the company’s customer service is supported by four to five large third-parties that collectively have over 650,000 employees, and that it offers customers the option to speak with human agents if that’s what they prefer.
“This is in no way connected to the workforce reductions in May 2022, and making that conclusion would be incorrect,” the statement read. “We chose to share the figure of 700 to indicate the more long-term consequences of AI technology, where we believe it is important to be transparent in order to create an understanding in society. We think [it’s] important to proactively address these issues and encourage a thoughtful discussion around how society can meet and navigate this transformation.”
Companies have used chatbots for years to handle low-level customer queries and other interactions, although these tools are expected to become more versatile in the wake of advancements in artificial intellegence.
Source: Fast Company
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KAPSARC Launches Saudi Arabia’s First School of Public Policy
- Inspired by His Royal Highness, the Minister of Energy, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud’s passion for education, human capital development and innovation, the KAPSARC School of Public Policy (KSPP) was founded as the first institution in Saudi Arabia dedicated to graduate studies and executive education in public policy.
- Through its academic offerings, KSPP empowers individuals to tackle pressing public policy challenges and embrace the promising opportunities shaping the future.
- KSPP’s facilities will run on 100% renewable energy, setting a precedent as one of the first net-zero facilities in the Saudi educational sector.
RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 28, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center (KAPSARC) has been granted an establishment license for its School of Public Policy (KSPP) after the recent approval by the Council of Ministers, and which was announced during the Human Capability Initiative (HCI) on February 28, 2024, conducted under the patronage of Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and the Chairman of the Human Capability Development Program Committee, one of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Realization Programs.
Aiming to set new standards in policy studies, the school offers a two-year master’s degree and executive education programs designed to enable and empower future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and globally to address the most pressing domestic and international public policy challenges in the public, non-profit and private sectors.
This significant achievement was announced by His Royal Highness, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman Al Saud, the Minister of Energy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of KAPSARC: “The vision for KAPSARC School of Public Policy is to develop the knowledge and skills that the new generation needs to shape public policy both locally and globally. Our mission is to empower and equip future policy leaders and professionals within Saudi Arabia and internationally to make informed socio-economic decisions.”
In a statement on the sidelines of the school’s launch, Fahad Alajlan, President of KAPSARC, stressed the Center’s mission to impact public policy on national, regional, and global levels. “Our new School of Public Policy will equip future leaders with the right skills to create data-driven and evidence-based public policy in line with Vision 2030 goals.”
Dr. Ghadah Alarifi, Founding Dean of KSPP, stated that, “Public policy serves as the foundation of societal progress. At KSPP, we aim to be a catalyst for collaboration, building a robust ecosystem that bridges academia, industry, and government in the public policy arena.”
By leveraging KAPSARC’s network, KSPP provides a platform for global engagement and career growth opportunities, offering practical application and flexible courses tailored to empower policymakers in different tracks including energy policy.
The school is committed to achieving high sustainability standards in the Saudi educational sector, including the goal of running on 100% renewable energy. This dedication ensures that KSPP meets its annual energy needs through on-site renewable resources, eliminating the use of fossil fuels.
For more information about KSPP, visit https://www.kapsarc.org/about-the-school/.
Follow KSPP on social media:
- X: @KAPSARC_SPP
- LinkedIn: @ KAPSARC School of Public Policy
KAPSARC is a leading think tank dedicated to advancing knowledge on energy, environment, and regional economic issues. Accredited observer of UNFCCC, KAPSARC actively contributes to global climate action. The mission of KAPSARC is to advance Saudi Arabia’s energy sector and inform global policies through evidence-based advice and applied research. For more information about the center please visit: https://www.kapsarc.org/
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