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IBM, Saudis partner on 'green' nanotech lab

A lab to develop solar power, seawater desalination, and recyclable materials is the latest clean-tech investment from Middle East countries.

IBM and Saudi Arabia's national research and development organization have created a joint nanotechnology lab to develop new technologies in solar power, seawater desalination, and recyclable materials.

An agreement to create the Nanotechnology Centre of Excellence, established by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and IBM Research, was signed last week in a ceremony in Riyadh.

The lab is one of several indicators that oil-rich Middle East nations are moving rapidly into clean tech.

The oil minister of Saudi Arabia, Ali al-Nuaimi, told the French oil newsletter Petrostrategies that "one of the most important sources of energy to look at and to develop is solar energy," according to an AFP report.

Last November, OPEC members created a $750 million fund to do research on carbon capture and storage.

And the head of the Masdar Clean Tech Fund, based in Abu Dhabi, last month was named "Cleantech leader of the year," at last week's Cleantech Forum. The fund is behind Masdar City, which is being called the first sustainable city.

For IBM, the joint nanotechnology lab is part of the company's Big Green Innovations initiative to develop environmental technology.

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