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01
Societal Educational Impact
KU students present an innovative solution to meet the challenges of seawater desalination

Sustainable mechanical pressure converter for water desalination that has been designed and fabricated in KU was presented as a promising sustainable desalination system at 2018 Global Grad Show in Dubai Design Week.

Eighty percent of the water consumed in the UAE is generated by water desalination facilities. The current seawater desalination technologies are both expensive and energy intensive. The sustainable mechanical pressure converter developed by the KU students provides an innovative and sustainable alternative for seawater desalination. The mechanical pressure converter reduces the need for power or fossil fuels by utilizing a hydraulic device that transforms wind energy into the pressure required by membrane desalination to generate fresh water. The project was well-aligned with UAE’s long term goals related to water scarcity, energy consumption and sustainability in the country.

Getting the word out – CMAT faculties organized international workshops and seminars to disseminate research findings and inculcate knowledge sharing

A one-day international workshop titled “Advances in Membrane Science and Water Technologies Supporting Sustainable Water Supply” was conducted on March 18, 2019 and included lectures by the advisory board members of CMAT. The workshop was attended by KU faculty and students, members of UAE industry and public utilities sectors and visitors from other countries.

Dr. Giovanni Palmisano organized a seminar titled “Design of Titania Supported Systems for Photocatalytic Air and Water Cleaning”, by Dr. Natasa Novak Tusar, Group Leader for Catalysis – Design and Development of Porous Catalysts for Environmental and Energy Technologies, Department for Inorganic Chemistry and Technology, National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana (11 Apr 2019). Furthermore, he also organized a workshop titled “Photocatalysis – Advances in Water and Environmental Remediation” and two seminars on Photocatalysis by Dr. Albin Pintar and Dr. Gregor Zerjav, Researchers at the National Institute of Chemistry, Ljubljana, Slovenia. Dr. Hector H. Hernandez hosted a visit from Dr. Ulugbek Azimov and Dr. Jose Munoz along with two students from Northumbria University (3-10 March 2019).

Dr. Hector H. Hernandez organized an afternoon research workshop on the potential for collaboration between Northumbria University and Khalifa University on next generation biobased fuels. Faculty from both Northumbria University and Khalifa University presented their research with the day ending in a round table discussion on opportunities for collaboration efforts (5 March 2019).

Prof. Ngai Yip, from Columbia Univ. (USA), was hosted for a 7-day research visit by CMAT under a US National Academy of Science Arab American Frontiers Research Fellowship. During his visit, he conducted a workshop titled “Fundamentals and Recent Advances in Membrane distillation” (Apr 2019).

CMAT researchers cultivate learning opportunities: A visiting student, Ms. Hanaa Baniowda, hosted by CMAT participated in exciting membrane research

Ms. Hanaa Baniowda, from An-Najah National University, Palestine spent the summer assisting CMAT Research Scientist, Dr. Mahendra Kumar for a three-month internship. The collaboration and internship opportunity has produced high-quality research that is currently being considered in a high-impact factor journal. During the internship, she was trained on membrane fabrication, nanomaterial synthesis and material characterization.

The world constantly confronts an intensified problem of water scarcity, partly due to contamination of many existing freshwater sources. Membrane-based separation processes such as ultrafiltration (UF) are instrumental in handling polluted surface water from different sources, and producing good quality drinking water.

Nonetheless, membrane processes used in such applications suffer from fouling issues, caused by compounds such as natural organic matter (NOM) in water. In this research, high performance hybrid UF membranes with charge tunable channels were fabricated. The hybrid membranes were synthesized with functionalized polymer chains grafted on graphene oxide nanosheets. These membranes were observed to exhibit superior flux, fouling resistance and NOM retention performance. This research would potentially pave way for the development of other types of functionalized polymer chains grafted nanofillers for membrane fabrication.