Khalifa University of Science and Technology and Sandooq Al Watan, the private sector initiative to boost the UAE’s social development, have signed a sponsored research agreement to collaborate on developing direct solar desalination devices.
The agreement was signed by Mohamed Al Qadi, Director General of Sandooq Al Watan and Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology. Officials and senior management representatives from both partners were present on the occasion.
Titled ‘Direct Solar Desalination Devices’, the project aims to bring unmatched scientific understandings and ‘know-how’ towards achieving a reliable desalination technology that offers high efficiency, large scalable capacity, and low energy consumption, in addition to being powered by solar energy.
Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “The research collaboration with Sandooq Al Watan validates our commitment to effectively address the water-energy nexus challenges through finding clean energy solutions. Additionally, this partnership will pave the way for our students to work on research in desalination technologies, which remains one of the most important avenues to access water – a scarce resource in our region.”
Mohamed Al Qadi from Sandooq Al Watan, said: “This is an extremely important project that will address two big priorities for the UAE. First, the use of renewable energy to desalinate water will significantly reduce the UAE’s carbon footprint and enable us to advance our climate change agenda. Second, the project will help advance our water security agenda by providing the nation with resilient fresh water supplies. We have full faith in Khalifa University and their Emirati researchers to develop this important and groundbreaking technology. We also would like to thank Aldar for their contribution towards funding Sandooq Al Watan’s research programs in the field of water and the environment.
The project will be led by Principal Investigators Dr Faisal Abdulla AlMarzooqi, Assistant Professor, Chemical Engineering, associated with Khalifa University’s Center for Membranes and Advanced Water Technology (CMAT) and Dr. Tiejun Zhang, Associate Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering. They will work together with a team of MSc students, research associates and postdoctoral fellows, while the research project will present three internship opportunities for UAE national students.
The project will be executed through CMAT’s state-of-the-art facilities, proceeding with fabrication, system testing and demonstration, and will conclude with scalability and market feasibility. The project gains relevance because of worldwide interest in the integration of solar energy harvesting devices with desalination. The desalination market, valued at US$16.4 billion in 2017, is estimated to grow with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.5% during the 2018-2026 period, according to market intelligence firm Research and Markets.