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Masdar Institute Faculty Leading Knowledge Exchange at Desalination Conference in Spain

Reverse Osmosis to Dominate US$40-billion Membrane Desalination Sector, Say Industry Estimates

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 08 April, 2013 – The reverse osmosis segment of membrane technology will dominate the desalination sector in the coming years with the global market expected to exceed US$50 billion by 2020, according to Professor Nidal Hilal, Acting Provost and Professor in Nano-membranology and Water Technologies, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and Editor-in-Chief of the International journal Desalination, an international expert in membrane technology and desalination.

The global desalination market is expected to reach US$52.4 billion by 2020, up over 320% from US$12.5 billion in 2010, according to a recent report from SBI Energy. The same report further predicts that the reverse osmosis segment of membrane technology will see the largest growth, reaching US$40 billion by 2020.

Professor Hilal is chairing the 1st International Conference on Desalination using Membrane Technology (MEMDES 2013) that is being held from 7-10 April 2013, at Sitges, 35km south of Barcelona in the Catalan region of Spain. Dr. Raed Hashaikeh, Associate Professor – Materials Science and Engineering, are set to deliver a keynote address on ‘Membrane Fabrication for Application in Desalination’. Dr. Hassan Arafat, Associate Professor – Water and Environmental Engineering, will sit on the Scientific Committee and share his insights as a panelist.

Other industry professionals and leading academicians are scheduled to be highlighting, analyzing and discussing global industry trends and other major scientific breakthroughs at the conference that is organized by leading publishers Elsevier. The event will also allow the dissemination and discussion of cutting edge research and will include theoretical and applied research, as well as technological and industrial development.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “This is a major forum entirely dedicated to recent developments in membrane desalination and related technologies. Such promising technologies will hold sway in the coming generation. We are pleased to actively participate in this conference with the support of the country’s leadership and highlight our recent breakthroughs in this arena. We believe such thought-provoking forums will serve as the drivers of research and innovation.”

Professor Hilal said: “As finite and valuable resources, Energy and Water are closely inter-related. Seven per cent of all energy consumed globally is used to produce water while 50 per cent of the water supply is used to generate power, and both might increase in the future. As ‘desalinators’ and ‘membranologists’, we must keep on seeking new ways for the efficient and sustainable production of water, using less energy. We hope the conference will provide the necessary impetus by offering a platform to showcase new inventions and leading current technologies.”

Professor Hilal is an international expert in membrane technology and desalination. He is globally recognized as leading expert in Membrane technology and Desalination and a world-leader in developing and applying the force measurement capability of AFM to the study of membrane separation and engineering processes at the nano-scale level. Dr Hashaikeh is internationally recognized for his contributions in material engineering. He is also on the editorial board of the international journal Desalination. He was instrumental in leading a team of scientists that developed a new battery technology for which Masdar Institute has filed a patent application in the US.

Dr. Arafat and Dr Hashaikeh are currently conducting research on ‘Engineering eco-friendly membranes to treat seawater’. The project aims to make desalination more environmentally friendly by developing more eco-friendly membranes to treat and clean the seawater. Engineering purpose-specific biodegradable membranes can help reduce the need for treatment chemicals normally used in desalination.

The conference committee has scheduled a program that aims to address the cutting-edge in desalination and water treatment and related techniques. A series of state-of-the-art plenary presentations will also be presented by internationally-renowned experts. These will be accompanied by breakout sessions of oral presentations. Poster presentations will also be organized for easy viewing during sessions, coffee breaks and lunch. An associated exhibition will provide up-to-date information on commercially available support for the delegates’ line of work.

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.
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