More than 25 members of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program, an outreach initiative by Masdar Institute of Science of Technology, gained insights into new advancements in water resources and desalination, one of the strategic sectors for the UAE, during a specially organized two-day course led by faculty and staff members.
Held at the Masdar Institute campus, the Water Science and Technology Course was led by two Masdar Institute faculty members – Dr. Taha Ouarda, Head of Institute Center for Water and Environment (iWater), and Professor - Water & Environmental Engineering, and Dr. Shadi Wajih Hasan, Assistant Professor, Chemical and Environmental Engineering. The three-module course offered insights into areas including ‘Water Science’, ‘Membrane and Thermal Desalination Processes in Water Treatment’, and ‘Physical, Chemical and Biological Characterization of Wastewater’. It also included a lab safety introduction by Ahmed Basheer, Lab Health and Safety Specialist, a laboratory tour led by PhD student Faisal Al Marzooqi, and a site visit to Masdar City wastewater treatment plant . PhD students Shaik Basha, Celia Lopez and Faisal Al Marzooqi spoke about their water-related research works.
The first module conducted by Dr. Ouarda offered YFEL members an overview of the water situation in the UAE and technical issues associated with water resources estimation, analysis, planning and management. This module prepared participants for more advanced activities related to specific issues such as statistical hydrology, deterministic hydrology, or risk analysis in water resources.
During the second module Dr. Hasan introduced desalination technologies and its integration with energy resources. The last module offered participants a hands-on experimental experience on wastewater characterization, as well as an introduction on wastewater lab and facility.
The theoretical and hands-on aspects of the Water Science and Technology Course offered participants complete understanding of the emerging industry trends and the widely used technologies in desalination. The course was part of YFEL’s year-long activities that build capabilities and contribute to overall professional development.
According to market research firm Visiongain, the global desalination market is expected to be worth US$3.9 billion by the end of this 2014. The UAE has already announced it would establish the world's largest solar-powered desalination plant that will process more than 22 million gallons of potable water per day. It will also generate 20 MW of electricity.
YFEL member Fatima Al Hameli, a professional from Borouge, said: “Attending the ‘Water Science and Technology’ course was an eye opener. I was amazed to learn that the UAE is one of the countries with highest consumption of water per person in the world, yet it does not have easily accessible sources of water such as rivers and lakes and is highly dependent on thermal desalination. This means that we do not just need technological solutions, but we need to raise the awareness in the society on the importance of conserving water.”
Ibrahim Salim Bin Madhi, student from Abu Dhabi University and YFEL member, said: “Through the course, we learnt about the types of water available on our planet, and how we can tackle the world’s water problems and reduce water consumption. Moreover, we covered the methodologies of desalinization and recycling of water, and the widely used methods.