Energy security, water scarcity, and environmental sustainability are the most pressing global challenges facing mankind in the 21st century. In fact, the availability of freshwater resources is crucial to those countries that look for sustainable economic development, particularly in aired regions. In the UAE, water desalination facilities provide about 80% of water consumed in the country. Indeed, massive efforts should be invested in research for finding new water treatment and desalination technology and to decrease the overall cost of the available technologies.
This project will contribute directly to the efforts of achieving one of the goals of the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan as it targets the issues related to water scarcity and lack of water resources and reducing energy consumption in the UAE by providing full water management guidelines toward the utilization of oil- and gas-produced water. Oil- and gas-produced water is water trapped in underground formations that is brought to the surface along with oil or gas in extraction operations. The management of produced water is a propriety for the UAE and the oil and gas industry. Indeed, the amount of produced water makes it the largest waste stream by volume associated with the oil and gas industry and makes the disposal of it a grave problem and burdens the operations of oil and gas industry.
This project will open the way to benefiting from the huge amount of waste produced water during the production of oil and gas, through providing: 1) a new innovative way of harvesting energy from the huge salinity gradient of the oil and gas produced water; 2) full sustainable treatment plan based on utilizing the harvested energy to power the required treatment processes; and 3) full feasibility study addressing the cost and environmental impact issues related to current procedure of disposing the oil and gas produced water.