Solar desalination: Award winning project from Khalifa University undergraduate students

I had the pleasure of attending the group project presentations of Dr. Victor's (yes, my partner in research!) Introduction to Management class at Khalifa University. Their group project is of great interest to us and concerned the who, what and where of management research in the Middle East. For sure when we get all the results there is a blog post in there... but I will leave that for another day!

Khalifa University is an engineering school - and it is gender mixed (although the there seems to be self-selected sides in the lecture hall) - and there are a mix of expatriates and locals. I had visited once before with my brother-in-law to speak about how to go about getting Master's and PhD scholarships in Canada (and since they are all SUPER bright I hope many come and that many become Canadians and invent wonderful things in our universities).

After class one of the students (who is still looking for a Master's by the way) asked if we would like to see his team's award winning solar desalination project. Of course, Dr. V knew that 40 degree heat wouldn't keep me away from checking out something like this - so we gladly went.

The award the team won was the 4th Engineering Students Renewable Energy Competition 2013 (ESREC’2013) and they won from among 30 teams from GCC universities. Mohammed Humood gave us the tour and his other team mates are Ammar Alsheghri, Abdullah Al Hammadi, Abdul Rahman Farraj and they are being supervised by Dr. Mohammad Abutayeh.

The winning team, their prototype and trophy! (l-r Mohammed, Ammar, Dr. Mohammed, Abdul Rahman and Abdullah)
They have a prototype set up outside in the campus yard - I love how students and student projects are supported at KUSTAR by the way!

Mohammed kindly showing two nerdy professors his project!

The pump that creates the vacuum to make the sea water boil at a lower temperature 

The solar panel - actually not that big

The prototype in all its glory!

Sea water straight from the Arabian Gulf! (btw, Gulf sea water is very salty and has lots of other chemicals in it - the Gulf can almost be considered an enclosed body of water)

The brine after the desalination process - wonder if it is good for a detox bath?
The winning concept involves creating a vacuum within the water tank (where the salty water boils) to reduce the temperature at which the water boils - so that it requires less energy to separate the salty brine from the "pure" water. Now, how much fresh water do you think this prototype could produce? Well, they produced 11 liters of freshwater in 3 hours and half. In a prototype - that is actually super cool. This has so many potential applications - including for remote villages where water needs to be trucked in...

You will really need to contact them to find out more - and seriously, if you are looking to award a Master's scholarship, any of these four would be PERFECT candidates! (Masdar Institute I am looking at you!)

I am grateful that Mohammed offered to show us the project - and I look forward to hearing about his teams academic adventures in the future. Until then, Bravo gentlemen on an awesome project and deserving win!

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