Posted on March 28, 2019

A workshop on UN World Water Day was recently hosted by Qatar University College of Engineering (QU-CENG) aimed to provide information on the recent research achievements on water by CENG and QU’s Gas Processing Center (GPC) faculty members.

The World Water Day is a yearly United Nations (UN) consideration day that occurs every 22nd of March. It highlights the prominence of fresh water, and was established to support freshwater resources and sustainable management. World Water Day is celebrated around the world during this day with a diverse range of events.

During the workshop, Department of Mechanical Engineering Professor Dr Ahmad Sleiti, presented on ‘Solar-Hybrid Supercritical-CO2 Power and Water Production’ a novel technology. He said, “This technology is focused on the utilization of Qatar’s abundant natural resources to combine renewable energy and waste heat reduction to seamlessly complement electric energy generated by burning of inexpensive natural gas through a clean oxy-combustion process, using super-critical carbon dioxide as working fluid in a semi-closed Brayton cycle. When the sun is not shining and natural gas is burnt with oxygen, clean water and additional carbon dioxide is produced in the combustion process. This carbon dioxide is then naturally captured, at zero cost. The water produced can be used for human consumption. MIT Technology Review, in its May 2018 issue, called the sCO2 power generation technology to be “Zero-Carbon Natural Gas” technology, and ranked it as one of 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018.”

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In his comment, Research & Graduate Studies Office Senior Research Assistant Dr Saeid Abolghasem Shafieiyoun said, “Nearly 97% of the total water on the earth is saline and ocean-based and only 2.5% of all water is fresh. Even then, nearly 70% of the total freshwater is frozen and not accessible. Groundwater constitutes ~95% of the accessible unfrozen freshwater that if managed properly can be considered as a permanent water supply. This is more significant in Qatar because the only natural freshwater resources are groundwater and rainfall. Hence, water management and remediation of contaminated groundwater should be given a high priority for research purposes. The first and foremost requirement to improve research quality in this area is to attract enthusiastic researchers and provide water-based research institutes equipped by analytical instruments and professional lab technicians.”

In his speech, Gas Processing Center, Research Associate Professor Dr Abdelbaki Benamor said, “Water is a valuable and scarce commodity in Qatar as the country depends heavily on desalination water as the prime source for water for all purposes. Given the importance of this topic especially with the expected rise of water consumption due to the population growth and increased water demand for agricultural activities as part of food security program, the Gas Processing Center has developed a white paper to serve as an internal guide for future research activities in this area with emphasis on water produced by the oil and gas industry. The report shows the current strategies for managing existing water and wastewater streams in Qatar which are unsustainable. Dr Abdelbaki Benamor from the Gas Processing Center highlighted the importance of implementing new strategies to enhance the reuse of recovered municipal and industrial wastewater as well as desalination reject brine and extend its current use to address the national challenges related to agriculture and food security.”

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Department of Chemical Engineering Professor Dr Hazim Qiblawey presented on water research at the department, with emphasis on the membrane technology in treatment of waste water and desalination applications. The department has a wide range of activities utilizing all modern types of membranes including reverse osmosis, forward osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration, microfiltration and membrane distillation. The department labs have good number of bench scale and pilot scale equipment for water treatment and desalination in addition to a lab provided with modern water analysis equipment to characterize all types of wastewater. The department has succeeded to synthesize novel types of membranes and have published their findings in top tier international journals. Prof Qiblawey added that without the collaboration of three QU research centers: The Gas Processing Center, Center for Advanced Materials and Central Lab Unit, this achievement would not be possible.