Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli honored on Saturday the winners of the Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination. The minister presented the award to Syed Shah from Aqua Membranes, USA for the project “Changing reverse osmosis through 3D printed spacers.”
The Saudi water desalination prize recognized five other winners. All winning entries presented their projects on stage before the announcement of the grand prize. Other special awards prizes were also distributed on the occasion.
The award ceremony was held in the presence of the Governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) Eng. Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Abdul Karim. A number of senior officials and other distinguished dignitaries were also present. The event was held on the sidelines of the second edition of the Innovation in the Desalination Industry Conference that is taking place at the Jeddah Ritz-Carlton Hotel until October 3, 2023.
Award-winning water desalination projects
Other winners of the Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination include Arian Edalat (Active Membranes, USA) for the project titled “Next Generation of Desalination Membranes;” Quantum Wei (Harmony Desalting, USA) for the entry “Batch Reverse Osmosis;” and Hany Said (Mega Vessels Water Inc., USA) for the “Mega Vessel” initiative.
Winning entries from other countries include Nick Heineman (Desolenator, the Netherlands) for the project “Desolenator: Transforming the Industry through a World-First Solar-Thermal Desalination Solution that works at Scale;” and Mohamed Anwar (Schneider Electric, France) for the “Desalination Plant Digital Twin Powered by Dynamic Process Simulation” project.
The winners were chosen from among a total of 105 competitors, who represented 27 countries. They included innovators from research centers and universities. Entrepreneurs and employees of companies operating in the global water desalination industry also participated.
Saudi water desalination leadership
At the event, Al-Fadhli expressed gratitude to Saudi leadership’s unwavering support for the kingdom’s water sector. He then congratulated the winners for submitting projects that were recognized for innovation, quality and excellence. The international entries highlighted the global reach and significance of the awards. On that note, Al-Fadhli declared the first edition of the global prize a resounding success.
In addition, the minister said Saudi initiated the desalination awards as part of its comprehensive water strategy. The Kingdom seeks to foster innovation and enhance policies and legislation. It also aims to adopt international best practices in the water sector.
Furthermore, Al-Fadhli stressed Saudi’s pioneering role in addressing water issues regionally and internationally. In this regard, he praised the announcement of Crown Prince and Prime Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman to establish a global water organization, to be based in Riyadh, which will contribute to strengthening cooperation among countries and stimulating a collective response to global water challenges.
For his part, SWCC Governor Eng. Al-Abdul Karim congratulated the participants and winners of the awards. He also expressed support for the work of the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water to enhance and encourage innovation in the desalination industry.
As the world’s largest producer of desalinated water, generating 11.5 million cubic meters per day, Al-Abdul Karim emphasized the significant role Saudi Arabia plays in helping address global water challenges, in collaboration with other countries. In addition, he also highlighted the Kingdom’s contribution to the overall growth and development of the global water sector.
International water collaboration
Al-Abdul Karim underscored the importance of international collaboration to exchange technical experiences as well as research and development. In addition, the global water industry should enable and finance priority quality projects. This will ensure the sustainability of water resources and ensure equitable access to all.
Al-Abdul Karim praised the award-winning innovations as an achievement that benefits humanity. These accomplishments represent the vision of SWCC to be part of the Kingdom’s ambitious move to leverage technology of the highest international standards to develop the water sector.
SWCC urged other national and international organizations to support the awards program with more large-scale desalination plants getting built to address the world’s water demands,
The Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination received project submissions that focused on topics related to environmental aspects of the desalination industry, opportunities for reducing energy consumption, reducing capital and operational costs, using new technology, opportunities for transformation in business models, and future analytical studies related to innovation.
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