Saudi Arabia

Muhammad Wakil Shahzad

With the Project:
24/7 Solar Operated Innovative Desalination Cycle for Future Sustainability

The hybrid MEDAD desalination was proposed in 2013 and the first pilot was built at the National University of Singapore operated with auxiliary heat. The main objective of the project is to demonstrate 24 hours operation of desalination process operation with solar thermal energy. After successful demonstration, a second but more advanced solar driven pilot was built at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia.


In Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, thermally driven desalination processes are dominating due to challenges faced by the reverse osmosis processes in terms of water quality such as residuals of boron, chlorides and bromides and the severe fluctuations in the seawater intake quality. In addition, frequent occurrence of harmful algae blooms in the seawater also restricts the installation of reverse osmosis processes in the gulf region.


One of the solutions to overcome intermittent supply of water is the energy storage and there are mainly two methods: battery storage and thermal heat storage. In terms of battery storage, the efficiency is very low due to efficiencies involved from one form to other form conversions. On the other hand, direct thermal storage and utilization efficiency is significantly higher due to the same form of energy utilization without conversion into different forms.


The dry Magnesium Oxide reacts with water to become hydrated Magnesium Hydroxide using hydration. The hydration process at night and dehydration process at day with solar energy can produce sufficient heat energy to operate the desalination cycle. The generated vapours are condensed at the reservoir and the condensation heat of the vapour is used for the desalination cycle during day time.



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