Two Students from Masdar Institute Showcase Research Projects at US Embassy President’s Day Reception in Abu Dhabi

September 21, 2018

Projects of American Kenan Jijakli and UAE National Tariq Al Sarkal on Desalination Are Interlinked

Abu Dhabi-UAE 6 March, 2012 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced two of its students – one from the United States. and the other a UAE National – presented their research projects during the American Embassy President’s Day Reception in Abu Dhabi.

The American student Kenan Jijakli and the UAE National Tariq Al Sarkal, both from the Water and Environmental Engineering program, participated at the reception that was held on 15 February at Emirates Palace. They offered insightful presentations on their research to an audience that comprised dignitaries, ministers, government officials and leading business leaders from the UAE and the U.S.

Jijakli presented details and progress on his research titled ‘An Environmental Assessment into Renewable Energy Powered Desalination’, while Al Sarkal spoke about ‘LCA comparison between Dual Media Filter vs. Ultrafiltration Pretreatment methods in Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plants’. The research of Al Sarkal builds on that of Jijakli, although they are not directly working together.

The two students were selected based on their highly focused research subjects that are interlinked. Masdar Institute was invited to send two students because of its status as an institution that leads research activities in specialized areas such as advanced energy and sustainable technologies.

Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: “It was a privilege for our students to showcase their research projects at the U.S. Embassy President’s Day Reception. The two students’ projects signify the extent of specialized research activities that are being conducted at Masdar Institute. The President’s Day Reception offered us an opportunity to adequately highlight our research activities in desalination to an august audience and we thank the UAE’s wise leadership for their guidance in making Masdar Institute a pioneer in sustainability and clean technology.”

Jijakli’s thesis work investigates renewable energy-powered desalination systems, particularly solar-powered, and compares them with ‘Reverse Osmosis’ desalination. The basis of this assessment is environmental and it adopts a ‘Life Cycle Assessment’ (LCA) approach. However, it also includes a technical and economic analysis. Jijakli has already completed his research project.

Al Sarkal’s work involves life cycle assessment, which is a technique to find out the environmental impacts that are associated with a certain activity or process. His studies focused on life cycle assessments that are connected to desalination technologies. Desalination has assumed enormous significance across the world due to the scarcity of safe drinking water. In some countries, including the GCC region, desalinated water is sometimes the only source of safe water.

Desalination and its associated technologies have expanded considerably over the recent years and currently the focus remains more on their environmental impacts. Al Sarkal’s research project attempts to gain a better understanding of the environmental impacts associated with some of the technologies and processes for desalination.

Masdar Institute’s research platform explicitly recognizes the need for a multidisciplinary approach by promoting work in and across the domains of technology, systems and policy. In 2011, a total of 110 research projects were awarded, covering areas including water, environment and health, future energy systems, micro-systems and advanced materials, and other ancillary fields.

Established in 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.