Latifa Al-Zahrani

Latifa Al-Zahrani


Saudi women shine at Geneva’s International Exhibition of Inventions

At the 2018 International Inventions Exhibitions Geneva, held in the Swiss capital from April 11 to April 15, Saudi inventor Maha Taleb Al Saadoun walked away with a Gold medal under the energy Environmental Protection category for her hydraulic and counterweight compressor innovation.

The exhibition saw the participation of 822 inventions across 40 global countries, making it the largest showcase and recognition of global scientific innovations. Inventions exhibited are rewarded against a stringent set of criteria; they must prove innovative, scientifically backed, practically tried and tested, and strongly marketable. They must also be officially patented.

Year on year, the exhibition continues to draw in some of the world’s most extraordinary and remarkable inventions, and more prominent presence by Saudi’s science power women, with a strong track record and history across its editions. In 2016, the Kingdom picked up four medals – three Golds and a Silver – for inventions submitted by King Abdulaziz University female students. Earlier in 2014, King Saud University also took home 17 medals – 8 of which were Gold – and in 2009, Saudi Arabia brought home 13 medals, among which three went to Saudi female inventors.

Al Saadoun’s recognition comes on the heels of the USPTO’s (United States Patent and Trademark Office) recently released figures, highlighting Saudi Arabia’s leadership among Arab countries in the number of patented inventions by the country’s scientists in 2017. The latter reached 664 patents in 2017, exceeding multiples of the combined number of patents produced by 10 Arab countries, according to the office.

Energy-efficient solutions

Al Saadoun’s hydraulic and counterweight compressor works via a remote or censor control system that works in semi-automated fashion with little need for human labor – and therefore, that greatly reduces operational costs.

Upon receiving her medal, Al Saadoun explained that her invention can be utilized into pumping liquids and gases at any compression rates required for use, and consumes minimal – and nearly zero-cost – levels of energy, operating mostly on dynamics of gravity.

Talking about the different uses of the invention, Al Saadoun said that the first of them would be to pump salt water to desalination plants – whereby the device can pump large quantities of water to their stations at nearly zero-cost energy efficiency levels. Working by any compression rate, as opposed to current energy-consuming large compressors, her invention holds the potential of saving millions of kilowatts of electricity per day for desalination plans as an alternative to high-pressure pumps. Compressed air, Al Saadoun notes, also holds great electricity regeneration opportunities and uses.

Natural-born inventor

While currently working at the Saudi Ministry of Economy and Planning, Al Saadoun’s full-time profession has not hindered her from pursuing her scientific passion. She was able to secure a number of patents for her inventions, among which was the high-pressure pump alternative invention, which came in fourth at the King Saudi University’s sixth scientific conference. Another was for a mechanical unit for electricity generation out of a Pelton Wheel.

Among Al Saadoun’s most notable inventions was the bedsores protection shield, which ranked first at the university’s seventh scientific conference. The shield was designed for people suffering from acute conditions of bedsores, whereby their medical condition prevented their wounds and injuries from any fraction with bedding or fabric.

In the form of a pad that is fitted to patients, the shield is covered with cavities with different geometric shapes, so that the cavities form special airbags. When pulled, it leaves hollow spaces opposite to ulcer or wound locations, preventing their contact with bedding or fabric.

Women in this article

Saudi innovator and current Ministry of Economy and Planning professional with a number of patents under her belt

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