Sunday, June 29, 2008

Breakthrough in desalination?

The pseudonymous Mr Dryer sent me this nice link (thanks Willie). A Jordanian student, sponsored by Oman's Middle Eastern Desalination Research center to study in Canada, may have develeoped a really great membrane for desalination.

If it holds up, and doesn't clog easily, that would be a great boon for Oman.

I hope they secured some decent IP rights... But well done, H.E. Sayyid Badr bin Hamad Albu Saidi, MEDRC Chairman.

What's nice about the Centre is that is essentially funded by the Americans, plus the Europeans, Japanese, Israelis and Koreans, mainly for the purpose of helping the Palestinians and Israelis have 1 less thing to fight over - water.

Ottawa student may hold secret to Water For All
Special to
June 5, 2008 at 4:06 PM EDT

Mohammed Rasool Qtaisha knows what it's like to be thirsty. The 29-year-old chemical engineering PhD student at the University Ottawa grew up in Jordan, where water shortages were a way of life. And his experience is shared by millions of others around the world.

""The government gives us warning, of course. But the water would be off for days, sometimes two, three days per week, so people would have to prepare by storing water," he said.

But as populations increase and shortages become more frequent, lack of water isn't just a poor nation's problem any more. At least 36 U.S. states are expected to face shortages within the next five years, according to U.S. government estimates, and by 2025, nearly 50 per cent of the world's population will live in water-stressed areas, according to the UN.

Mohammed Rasool Qtaishat (right), standing here with his mentor David Mann at the 2008 Ottawa Technology Venture Challenge, won top prize for developing a technology that turns seawater into clean, drinking water much more efficiently than is available today. In recent years, nations have started privatizing or exporting fresh water, placing a value on the life staple like any other precious commodity.

But some people aren't waiting for disaster to strike before taking action.

Inspired by his circumstances, Mr. Qtaishat founded Water For All with the aim of developing a new water technology to turn seawater into clean, drinking water on a large scale.Current desalination technology extracts drinking water from seawater through several filtering steps and something called reverse osmosis, in which salt water is passed through a polymer membrane, separating solute from solvent. The main problem is that because sodium chloride is such a small particle, the process is slow and very energy intensive.

In 2004, Mr. Qtaishat approached the Middle East Desalination Research Centre in Oman to fund his startup, called Water for All, and presented his method for developing a far more efficient way of turning seawater into drinking water. The centre was so impressed, they offered him a scholarship to come to Canada and develop his technology.
Although Mr. Qtaishat's solution is top secret while the patent is still pending, he says refining the process is all about the type of material used in the membrane. With this new material, his prototype is able to run on solar panels and produce 50 kilograms of water per metre square of the membrane per hour. That is 600 to 700 per cent more efficient than current technology, which produces about seven to eight kilograms per metre per hour.


  1. Wow, that's so great. I never thought that the Sultanate would actually be interested but it seems that they are starting to look at these things differently.
    That's good.

  2. This is a very positive news. Oman has also invested in Biocon to develop oral insulin. Let us all give a big hand for being the first to bring this news out. This should be the front page news for Omani newspapers in Oman rather putting "view point" and even publishing the crap as a book.

  3. If true as stated this is a fantastic development that will be a great help to the region and the world as water and energy become more and more scarce.

    Such technology needs to be used wisely, and this means not trying to turn the desert into a garden. Jordan is suffering from this I understand.

    Curiously it is the UAE that has the highest per capita water consumption and carbon footprint in the world. A case for removing subsidies if ever there was one.

  4. His mentors are Profs. Takeshi Matsuura (Ottawa University) and Mohamed Khayet (Department of Applied Physics I, Faculty of Physics, University Complutense of Madrid). Both supervised his thesis. The technology started in 2002. Some papers were published in Desalintion and Journal of Membrane Science.

  5. Hi there everybody?
    It is now the end 2011 and still no new information about this technology!!!
    Was it only a kind of a jok!
    Do anyone know about what is going on?


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