Looking for new solutions for desalination challenges

The company «Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) which is creating a luxury resort in Saudi Arabia, has launched» Brains for Brine Challenge» with the University of Science and Technology of King Abdullah (Kaust).

It launched to find new ways to protect marine habitats from the brine that occurs because of desalination.

The project aims to reuse 100% of the wastewater and not discharge the brine into the Red Sea.

«Desalination is an extraordinary technology that has brought drinking water to millions of people and helped improve the regions that were dry,»

«However, the residual product of desalination is brine, and there is no adequate solution available to minimize its impact on the environment. Red Sea Development Company is committed to helping create technological solutions for environmental problems. The launch of the Brains for Brine Challenge is an example of our determination to set a new standard in sustainable development» said John Pagano, Executive Director of Red Sea Development Company.

The competition is challenging academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to find new solutions to manage brine removal. Kaust and TRSDC describe the problem as one of the great environmental challenges of the world.

Applicants have until August 1, 2019 to submit their proposals. The five winners of the contest will present their solutions at «Amsterdam International Water Week», where up to three winners of the prizes will be eligible for a prize of US $ 10,000 each.

As a long-term plan, there is a possibility that winners will receive support through angel investment and other mentoring opportunities to ensure that solutions have the greatest chance of success.

«I have no doubt that the lessons we learn from the application of technology to sustainable development in the Red Sea Project will be used in the future to benefit fragile ecosystems around the world,» said Dr. Carlos Duarte, professor of Sciences Marinas in KAUST and member of the global advisory board of TRSDC.

Population growth, economic development and rapid urbanization in areas with few freshwater resources have led to an increasing discharge of brine into the world’s seas, competition organizers said.

Salty effluent is a by-product of efforts to extract fresh water from the sea. Existing methods for getting rid of brine include pumping the solution into the sea or in the catchment areas where the salt is extracted.

Salt water can pose a significant threat to marine life. The lack of natural fresh water in the Middle East means that the region has the highest concentration of desalination plants and produces more than half of the global brine effluent.

«The effective management of the brine discharge not only has a direct positive impact on our seas, but also allows us to recover valuable minerals,» «This reduces the costs of brine treatment, as well as reducing the environmental impact of traditional harvesting of these minerals,» said Professor Hans Vrouwenvelder, director of the Kaust Water Desalination and Reuse Center.


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