The NATO Science for Peace Program and the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) recently awarded grants to researchers at Ben Gurion University of the Negev to continue working on a novel desalination method. In a region where potable water sources are so scarce, these methods are crucial to water independence and reducing reliance upon imported water sources (which require a lot of fossil fuels).
The team, lead by Dr. Jack Gilron (Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research) and Professor Eli Korin (Department of Chemical Engineering), has developed a desalination method by reverse osmosis that exploits “the finite kinetics of membrane fouling processes by periodically changing the conditions leading to membrane fouling before it can occur.”
The Ben Gurion team will be working in collaboration with colleagues at the Hashemite University of Jordan and the University of Colorady in order to further develop the technology and set up pilot desalination sites in Israel and Jordan.
Dr. Gilron has explained that “the process will be tuned to reduce brine volumes to 50%-33% of those generated in conventional RO [reverse osmosis]. This greatly reduces the environmental burden and improves the economics of the inland desalination process… Water scarcity and the need to develop new water resources for populations not on the seacoasts are driving efforts to desalinate brackish water and municipal wastewater with ever-increasing efficiencies.”
In light of the ways in which water issues and environmental problems unbiasedly effect all Middle East inhabitants, it is wonderful to hear of such border-crossing collaborative efforts.
Read more about other collaborative environmental projects::