KAUST Professor Kim Choon Ng and research team win prestigious water desalination award

KAUST Professor Kim Choon Ng (pictured here) and KAUST research team members Drs. Muhammad Shahzad, Muhammad Burhan and Doskhan Ybyraiymkul recently received a best paper award at the International Desalination Association World Congress in Dubai. File photo.

​-By Muhammad Wakil Shahzad and Caitlin Clark, KAUST News

Kim Choon Ng, KAUST professor of environmental science and engineering, and a team consisting of KAUST researchers Drs. Muhammad ShahzadMuhammad Burhan and Doskhan Ybyraiymkul received a best paper award in the "Environment & Sustainability" category at the recent International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress 2019. The winning paper was selected from over 200 scientific paper entries.

IDA, a non-profit association with more than 2,600 members from 60 countries around the world, links its important work with the United Nations as part of a network of non-governmental organizations. Members of IDA include scientific researchers, engineers and other individuals from academia, corporations and governments.

The World Congress event, which took place in Dubai, UAE, from October 20 to 24, is considered the world's most prestigious desalination and advanced water treatment meeting.

Hosted by the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority, the event brought together leaders in the water industry to share ideas and knowledge and work together on business opportunities for a sustainable water-related future. The event included panel discussions, workshops, an industry exhibition and a technical program.

KAUST Professor Kim Choon Ng (third from left) receives a best paper award on behalf of his KAUST research team at the International Desalination Association (IDA) World Congress in Dubai. The award was presented by HE Saeed Mohammad Al Thayer from the Dubai Electricity & Water Authority (second from left). Also pictured at the award ceremony: IDA President Miguel Angel Sanz (third from right); IDA Secretary General Shannon McCarthy (second from right); and Director of IDA’s board Dr. N. Fujiwara (first on right). Photo courtesy of Paulus Buijs from the KAUST Water Desalination and Reuse Center.

During the event, Ng presented an innovative desalination cycle outlined in the award-winning paper. The paper describes mimicking a tropical cyclone over the seas where an intense liquid flashing phenomenon occurred due to the enthalpy difference between the warm seawater and the low pressure in the rotating vortex core. The desalination phenomenon was re-created in a lab-scale pilot project.

"The team award—received together with fellow researchers Dr. Shahzad, Dr. Burhan and Dr. Ybyraiymkul—is an acceptance of our innovative solar-powered cyclone-enhanced seawater desalination that can be a game changer for future desalination industry," Ng stated. "It improves the energy efficiency of desalination significantly, achieving 22 percent of thermodynamic limit as compared to less than 13 percent of the conventional desalination methods."

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