As Middle East countries look to stimulate innovation, support entrepreneurship and shift towards knowledge-based economies, they are very much aware of the need for sustainable societies. From sustainable energy and water to climate change, air quality and circular economy, VITO’s research agenda focuses on helping governments and companies to initiate societal transitions. VITO’s core competences match investment needs in crucial sectors such as energy, water, food security and health. With offices in Qatar and in the United Arab Emirates, VITO is now helping many Gulf stakeholders and companies of all sizes and sectors to innovate, optimize and re-evaluate – and to develop more sustainable ways of working.

VITO started exploring the Middle East market in 2014 and set up local companies in Qatar in 2016 and in the United Arab Emirates in 2018.


  • Assessment of bauxite residue valoritaton for Emirates Global Aluminium

Finished Projects in Qatar

  • Development of a 3D web based platform for energy and water efficiency- for the Gulf Organization for Research and Development (GORD)
  • Research project about Enhancing Air Quality in Qatari Indoor Environments. Our partner was the Environmental Studies Center (Qatar University). The project was awarded by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) under its National Priorities Research Program (NPRP)
  • Environmental Product Declarations for construction material manufacturers under the Gulf Green Mark, which has been developed by GORD as part of the Gulf Sustainability Assesment System (GSAS) for buildings
  • Retina image processing software Iflexis with Al Ahli Hospital (Qatar). The software linked the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases with the changes registered in the retina blood vessels.

Ongoing projects in Qatar

  • Consulting services to study the safe usage of treated sewage water to irrigate the fodder and its impact on meat and dairy products in Qatar (Ministry of Municipality and Environment)
  • Development of a highly Efficient and Practical Carbon Management System for Improving Qatar’s Sustainability: A holistic approach (Gas Processing Center, Hamad Bin Khalifa University) – production of platform chemicals by efficient electro-catalytic conversion of carbon dioxide


VITO has signed strategic agreements with key partners in the Middle East region

  • The UAE Ministry of Economy
  • Qatar Biobank (QBB) and Weil Cornell University
  • TASMU: initiative set up by the Ministry of Transport and Communication to turn Qatar into a smart nation
  • Ministry of Municipality and Environment of Qatar – Agricultural Research Department 
  • Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute (QEERI)


Alejandro Bru García
CEO VITO Middle East LLC
​Qatar : +974 3077 1814

Hafeez Rehman
Science and Technology Consultancy LLC
UAE        +971 56 39 72127
OMAN   +968 9866 6809
Belgium +32 491 27 20 54


Specific research and technologies for the Middle East

Air quality management

A breath of fresh air

We are increasingly questioning the quality of the air we are exposed to in homes, schools, offices and cities. Our concerns over the findings lead us onto the next question: how do we improve it?

Many places in the world – particularly urban areas and certain regional ‘hotspots’ – are not achieving the international standards for healthy air quality. But we cannot address this problem effectively unless we fi rst identify the sources of pollution and how it spreads. VITO applies a wide range of analytical methods and tools to quantify and qualify pollution levels and sources. Our knowledge and technology enables us to advise governments and local authorities who use the VITO models to improve indoor and outdoor environment, ensuring that air pollution levels are within international standards.

Our air quality management work includes:

  • diffusive sampling of indoor and outdoor air quality
  • daily air quality forecasts
  • high resolution maps
  • model validation tools
  • management dashboards

Water management and desalination

Smart water

Clean, fresh water is essential for all life on our planet. A sustainable society must therefore monitor and maintain the quality of both surface water (such as rivers and lakes) and groundwater – from a chemical, ecological and quantitative point of view.

We are placing increasing importance on high water quality. This is being accompanied by a need for smart water management and modelling and monitoring techniques that detect changes and problems, improve our insight and verify adjustment measures. VITO’s research and expertise makes effective water management possible, helping our customers not only to identify, quantify and manage natural water sources, but also in the effi cient and sustainable treatment of fresh and waste water. The development of a large-scale water purification system begins with the collection of hydrogeological data. VITO helps customers to determine the number, location and depth of wells needed to provide the total supply.

VITO focuses on innovative separation technology. We focus on concentrating streams, separating and isolating components and creating capital from organics or inorganics, and work with all aspects of industrial water use (feed water, waste water and process streams). Our work covers alternative water resources, reuse of aqueous streams, optimization of in-process aqueous streams, value creation for end-of-pipe or side streams and coupling water & energy.

Our research has also enabled us to test ‘capacitive deionization (CDI), a new alternative to desalination through conventional ion exchange (IEX). CDI is a process that requires no additional chemicals, low energy requirement, and eliminates 95% of Sodium and Potassium. VITO offers independent research from lab to pilot scale. We support you until full scale implementation. We have a multi-disciplinary team and state-of-the-art infrastructure, reinforced by techno-economic feasibility studies and analytics.

Remote sensing & RPAS

A new perspective on the world

The use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) – or drones – has given us a powerful new way to gather data, and the technology surrounding their use has improved enormously in the last few years.

VITO uses drones to capture information from their airborne vantage point. This ‘remote sensing’ technology helps with urban development, water quality, air pollution, food security, precision agriculture, disaster management and many other topics. VITO Remote Sensing equips its drones with a wide range of instruments, depending on the specifi c application and the needs of the client. We are experts in ‘aircraft-sensor integration’, which enables us to integrate compact cameras, thermal cameras, complex hyperspectral cameras, or measuring devices for air quality. The data and information collected can either be stored or transmitted and processed for the client. VITO’s experts will also help process the collected data into usable information or end user maps, making it easier to interpret.

Health and the retina camera

The eye as a window to the heart and the brain

Looking into someone’s eyes can tell you a lot about that person. Now retinal photography has taken this a step further, enabling doctors to offer earlier diagnoses based on the state of blood vessels visible in the retina.

Retinal photographs will soon allow us to know a patient’s health literally at a glance. VITO’s technology enables the smallest blood vessels of our body, also called the microvasculature, to be imaged and interpreted. These blood vessels show strong similarities with the central circulatory system and the vascular system of the brain. Changes in the thickness and pattern of blood vessels are considered early indicators of the development or progression of disease. The risk of high blood pressure, a major factor in heart disease, can therefore be detected in the blood vessels of our retina, with the aid of image analysis of a retinal photo, without invasive actions. The image analysis can also be used to monitor both diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. As life expectancy increases, along with the need for ever more sophisticated and personalized care, retinal photography is typical of the technological advancements that companies like VITO are driving in the healthcare sector.

3D Filament Disposal (3DFD)

A catalyst for change

Catalysis is essential to sustainable chemistry. But the catalysts typically produced to support industrial processes are not as efficient as they could be…

The problem with most existing catalyst beds is that they are not designed to cope with the changing conditions of temperature and pressures in which they operate. VITO’s research has enabled us to develop our innovative 3DFD (Three-Dimensional Filament Deposition) technology, where we print thin fi laments made of metal or ceramics, and then create a smart design for the porous carrier material. This means the catalyst’s properties are optimised for each reaction. Fiber thickness, inter-fi ber distance and stacking are tailored, enabling us to create far more effective catalytic materials than conventional additive manufacturing technologies which make use of a powder bed with localized melting/sintering. VITO has not only developed the technology, but designs and manufactures the catalysts themselves, which are then further enhanced through our testing and optimization services.

Clean energy

The power to think smartly

The energy landscape is changing quickly. The rapid depletion of our fossil fuel reserves, combined with growing demands of an increasing world population has put long-term energy sustainability high on the agenda of companies and governments across the world.

VITO has an in-depth knowledge of energy technology, energy distribution, energy system, smart grids and sustainable building technologies. This expertise enables us to advise on the implementation of energy effi ciency and renewable energy objectives, and to help our customers to calculate the optimal combination of energy supply and demand for 2030 and beyond. In our ‘Living Labs’ we analyze technologies and service models relating to energy, and we experiment on how to involve end users in smart energy projects, based on an in-depth overview of the methods and tools available. We have contributed a number of technologies to support sustainable energy. These include: low-cost electrodes for microbial fuel cells, smart control algorithms for energy-consuming devices, fourth-generation heating/cooling networks with intelligent substations that bridge the gap between the network and the consumer, and the smart control of electrical and thermal storage devices for reducing congestion in electricity networks.

Smart cities

Building tomorrow's cities

Our cities consume the lion’s share of our energy – which is why the specifi c challenge of creating energy-effi cient urban communities is a central part of any sustainable society.

Whether creating new buildings, or renovating existing structures, urban planners need to conform to high standards of energy efficiency. Our research at VITO (and our joint venture EnergyVille) has given us knowledge to support public and private stakeholders in the transition to an energy-efficient, low-carbon and sustainable urban environment. Our new technological insights, decision-making tools, assessment methods and new business models are tested in ‘Living Lab’ areas all around the world and are tailor-made on behalf of our customers. Our smart city expertise covers: smart urban planning, sustainable building materials & buildings, energy district design & retrofit strategies, smart energy infrastructure (smart grid, smart meters), electricity storage, optimization of thermal energy systems (heating and cooling), and self-learning air-conditioning systems.

Waste management

No time to waste

The way we use materials is simply too linear. But to achieve a ‘circular’ economy, we need to learn to see waste not as a problem, but as a valuable raw material in itself.

VITO has ample experience in the field of sustainable materials management. We have built up expertise and knowledge in the assessment of waste management policies, policy instruments and techniques, for different waste fl ows such as municipal solid waste, slags, waste of electric and electronic equipment (WEEE), batteries, end of life vehicles (ELVs), construction and demolition waste (C&DW), waste oils, and organic waste. Our researchers include economists, sociologists and engineers with specifi c environmental expertise – a multi-disciplinary team that can approach waste policy challenges in an open-minded way, and drive innovative solutions. It also enables VITO to offer a range of services, including: waste management, waste prevention, resource effi ciency and materials, sectoral integration and green economy, production & consumption systems, and chemical waste.