Connecting Academia, Industry, and Policy for Energy Innovation

Center of Excellence for Energy Research Committee member Dr. Amr Elbanhawy is a strong advocate for research as a transformative force in the energy sector and echoes the center’s commitment to engaging key stakeholders in addressing Egypt’s energy challenges.

“The center has established a platform for inclusive thinking about energy and research by involving the private sector and government authorities, allowing all stakeholders to work hand in hand on addressing the country’s energy provision and energy security challenges.”

Dr. Amr Elbanhawy is an energy systems specialist, associate professor of mechanical engineering at Ain Shams University, and head of the Faculty of Engineering’s Energy Technology and Climate Change Laboratory. Pondering Egypt’s greatest energy challenges, he emphasizes the importance of securing affordable and equitable energy resources for the country’s population and the need for a skilled workforce to drive advancements in energy technologies.

“Egypt is going to reach its energy transition goals through the concerted effort of financial institutions, government authorities, the private sector, and academia and scientific applied research,” says Dr. Elbanhawy. “And doing so, for sure, would require better education for our students, equipping them with the necessary skills and expertise to help them.”

As a member of the Research Committee, Dr. Elbanhawy collaborates with colleagues from Ain Shams, Mansoura, and Aswan universities, as well as faculty from Arizona State University. Together, they develop research strategies and focus on making a meaningful impact in areas relevant to Egypt, spanning research, education, and industry engagement.

“The research committee is here to ensure that initiatives funded by the center are directly related to Egypt’s challenges and achieve the impact that the country needs. It also needs to ensure that, in 10 or more years to come, there is a sustainable connection between the private sector, government, public authorities, and academia to achieve the targets of the energy transition.”

Dr. Elbanhawy aligns with the center’s mission to enhance Egyptian universities’ capacity to produce relevant, innovative, and commercially viable research that addresses both public and private sector needs. He is currently pursuing funding for two research projects through the center’s $4 million Joint Binational Research Program. Collaborating with industry and government stakeholders, Dr. Elbanhawy and his team members aim to incorporate their perspectives to ensure the research aligns with society’s needs.

“I have participated in two proposal submissions, once as a PI and once as a co-PI. The first project focuses on energy storage, aiming to advise the government on the most efficient business models and tariff design,” noted Dr. Elbanhawy. “The other project is on decarbonizing agriculture or agribusiness. We work on policy and technology, collaborating with an industrial board from the Chamber of Food Industries, the New and Renewable Energy Authority, and two private sector companies.”

He pointed out that the center funds research projects that align with Egypt Vision 2030, focusing on essential areas for the country’s sustainable development goals.

“The research projects are all focused on the grand challenges that we face today, like the electrification of transport and electrification in general, green hydrogen, energy storage, and of course, the water–energy–food nexus,” he said.

A major highlight for Dr. Elbanhawy was leading the Center of Excellence for Energy-sponsored field visit to Egypt’s Siwa Oasis as part of the sustainable energy course he teaches. He emphasized how real-world problem-solving and hands-on experiences enrich the education of engineering students, teaching them to create solutions that meet societal needs. He thanks the Center of Excellence for Energy and USAID for enabling these impactful learning activities.

“An example of what we have been able to achieve through the center is a practical learning experience in Siwa, where our students were able to understand the real-life challenges that face Siwan farmers and develop inclusive energy solutions suitable for the lifestyles and economic conditions of the communities who live there.”