Securing freshwater resources is one of the formidable challenges of our time. Water security if one of the major security concerns for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Lack of renewable freshwater resources, declining groundwater table, rising cost of energy-intensive desalination processes, climate change impact, and infrastructural challenges pose a significant threat to the social and economic wellbeing of the country. Securing water for current and future generations are of paramount importance. Addressing these challenges through research and development helps to develop clean and efficient technologies, identify new pollutants and methods to deal with them and conserve dwindling groundwater resources.
Desalination Research Group (DRG) is a new launched group under Research Institute of Science and Engineering (RISE) at University of Sharjah that is focusing on enhancing the sustainability of water resources in UAE by providing scientific and technological solutions for energy-efficient water desalination.
The mission of DRG is to develop water technologies and materials that have positive environmental and economic impacts on UAE particularly and worldwide globally. To achieve this mission, a research infrastructure will be developed to conduct basic, applied and advanced research in the areas of water desalination.
To mission of DRG will be interpreted through the four strategical objectives:
- Characterize and assess water resources in UAE, mainly, groundwater and seawater. This work will be conducted with help of Water Research Group under RISE. In this regard, seawater samples will be collected from different locations of costal sites in UAE. The collected seawater samples will be analyzed using different techniques to assess the level of dissolved and undissolved matters in seawater. After this analysis, the materials and process development researchers will work to identify the best cost effective materials and technologies to remove the identified pollutants and contamination.
- Design and fabricate novel efficient cost effective materials with improved properties and performance for water desalination. Three types of materials will be developed; a) polymeric and ceramic membranes for pre- and post-seawater treatment applications; b) adsorbents for pre- and post-treatment applications; and c) metal coatings to enhance the top boiling temperature (TBT), possessing higher corrosion resistance and enhanced anti-scaling property for thermal desalination.
- Design and develop processes for saline water desalination by optimizing the current thermal and RO processes to reduce the energy consumption. In addition, hybrid desalination systems such as solar and nuclear thermal energy systems will be used to desalinate seawater.
- Develop disruptive technologies for water desalination. New technologies will be developed for seawater desalination by taking into consideration three factors namely; energy consumption, production rate of distilled water, and cost.
Priority lines of research
The DRG research group members are engaged in interdisciplinary research focused on the following three the priority lines of research:
The research work under this group will be divided into four pillars:
Pillar 1: Membrane Desalination
Pillar 2: Thermal Desalination
Pillar 3: Electrochemical Desalination
Pillar 4: Materials
Pillar 5: Energy