Under the directives of H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the “Khalifa Award” presents the future of date palm fibers in the industrial sector.
With the attendance of 49 experts and farmers in the Date Palm cultivation sector, and representing 12 countries.
We are currently in the United Nations Decade to Restore the Planet’s Ecosystem, and where the date palm tree is a guarantee of sustainable livelihood.
Under the directives of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, Chairman of the Award’s Board of Trustees, the Award’s General Secretariat organized the third virtual scientific lecture, for the cultural season, 2021, entitled “The technical pathway to add date palm fibers to the natural fiber category” on the 17th of February, 2021. The lecture was presented by Dr. Mohamed Al Midani, Assistant Professor, Department of Materials Engineering, German University in Cairo, Arab Republic of Egypt, with the attendance of 49 experts and farmers in the Date Palm cultivation sector, and representing 12 countries from around the world.
Dr. Abdelouahhab Zaid, Award’s Secretary General, highlighted the fact that this virtual lecture held via Zoom, comes under the directives of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, President of the Award’s Board of Trustees, and within the Award’s framework and commitment to spread the scientific knowledge and awareness on the Date Palm Best Practices, and providing technical and scientific advice and support to farmers to help them improve the Dates quality. Where Dr. Zaid expressed his appreciation to the extended scientific and professional efforts made by Dr. Mohamed Al Midani and the scientific team.
From his side, the lecturer Dr. Mohamed Al Midani pointed out the economic importance of the date palm tree by-products, valuing these products by converting them into high-performance fibers called palm filaments, which would create value for date palm farmers and encourage them to regularly prune the palm and sell their by-products to factories in order to be converted into products. Where the PalmFil technology is considered a new innovation, which is the first textile and reinforcing fibers in the world to be extracted from by-products of date palm pruning. Highlighting the unique set of features and benefits of these new fibers, as it is not only sustainable and biodegradable, but also available in massive quantities, economical, high performance, lightweight, safe, and compatible with available textile technology.
Dr. Al Midani then highlighted the technical challenges associated with fiber extraction, and how the innovative PalmFil technology was able to overcome these challenges by removing lignin and extracting cellulosic fibers effectively, while comparing the most important properties of PalmFil fibers with those of other plant fibers. It also presented a brief analysis of the potential markets and applications for PalmFil fiber. Including emerging applications such as natural fiber composites, biodegradable thermal insulation panels and tableware. Moreover, well-established markets such as carpet backing layers, gypsum board and non-wood paper. In addition to traditional applications such as burlap sacks and ropes. Dr. Al Midani also emphasized the impact of the innovation (PalmFil) on the environment, society and the economy, as it helps to rediscover untapped renewable resources, expand the range of sustainable natural materials, develop green industries, support sustainable development of rural communities, build vibrant circular economies, and generate sustainable job opportunities. As well as preserving the cultures of local communities. Finally, Dr. Al Midani explained the efforts of the research team in expanding the scope of (PalmFil) fiber technology, moving from semi-industrial scale to full industrial scale, producing fibers economically and commercializing technology.
Dr. Mohamed Al Midani then concluded the lecture by highlighting the great role played by the Khalifa International Award for Date Palm and Agricultural Innovation in supporting and developing the date palm cultivation sector and the date production worldwide, through the organizing of Jordan International Date Palm Festival, Sudan International Date Palm Festival, and Egypt International Date Palm Festival and the accompanying activities and events. Which actively contributed to the increase of the reputation of the Arab dates and the volume of exports, in addition to the series of international conferences organized by the Award’s General Secretariat for over twenty years.