Addressing Water Scarcity
Substantial Breakthroughs in Desalination Technologies
Mitigating Environmental Footprint
Cost-effective Desalination and Treatment
Enhancing Water Management Efficiency

Challenge

The availability of thermal desalination by multistage flash distillation technologies has provided the population of Kuwait with unrestricted access to safe, clean potable water for more than half a century. Continuing this standard of living will depend very much on how well the water sector in Kuwait can improve the technical and economic competitiveness of thermal desalination. The program will work with Kuwait’s water sector to determine which development strategies improve the sustainability and competitiveness of Kuwait’s freshwater supply while radically improving the efficiency, economy, and flexibility of desalination technologies.

Goal

The program conducts research in close cooperation with the Innovative Desalination Technologies Program to develop and implement innovative process intensification to improve energy utilization and product water recovery in seawater thermal desalination plants, besides using renewable energy for thermal desalination. Furthermore, the program aims to promote the innovative development of emerging and advanced new technologies to substantially expand Kuwait’s capabilities to resolve oil field water challenges and to achieve zero liquid discharge solutions.

Program Thrusts

  • Innovative Process Intensification: Increase the recovery rate and improve the efficiency and economics while taking into consideration the conditions pertaining to water/power cogeneration under Kuwait’s environment. Developments on this level will provide the needed ground to examine technical and scientific merits of a range of possible process intensification schemes, to identify the operating limits of these intensified processes, and to produce practical and detailed energetic and economic bases, which together form a platform for new generations of thermal distillation systems.
  • Desalination Using Alternative Energies: Ensure the overall sustainability of energy for desalination, done collaboratively with the Innovative Desalination Technologies and Innovative Renewable Energy Programs by developing, modeling, and testing innovative thermal and integrated thermal/membrane desalination schemes adapted to be powered by low-temperature heat sourced directly from renewable energies, such as solar energy, or indirectly from waste heat in a cogeneration solar-driven power generation plant.
  • Corrosion and Scale Control Solutions: Develop cost-effective methods that can help improve plant/equipment reliability, and availability, minimize operating costs, and prolong plant life. Use smart membranes, including membrane contactors and nanofiltration, as pretreatment for the removal of oxygen and scaling ions from feedwaters, which offer cost-effective solutions to corrosion and scale control at elevated temperatures and concentrations in desalination systems. Apply nanotechnology coating as a viable alternative solution to scale control in multiple effect distillation systems.
  • Unconventional Thermal Technologies for Special applications: Focus on thermal technologies such as freeze crystallization (FC), low temperature flash evaporation (LTFE), adsorption desalination (AD), air humidification/dehumidification (AHD), which are significant for the treatment of high-concentration brine waste streams, and conduct research to determine the viability of unconventional thermal technologies and verify their usefulness at providing retrofitting solutions for existing desalination plants.