1. Challenge Background:
As modern methods for desalination become more efficient, cost effective, and commonly utilised, there is an increasing demand to find alternative solutions for the brine discharge created because of the desalination process, which can cause negative effects on the environment if not disposed of properly.
Zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technologies are of considerable interest because they are an environmentally acceptable means for disposal of brine discharge at many desalination sites, particularly those located in inland areas. Traditional brine evaporation steps tend to be very energy intensive and are associated with large carbon footprints.
Currently there are no viable solutions to brine discharge and some commercial solutions are either not feasible or not tested. Discharging into an area that is unaffected by the saline water is one option. Another is finding an offsetting economic value for the dry residue such as using the brine discharge to create construction material. According to the annual economic report 2018, the construction and building activities in the UAE contributed to 8.7 % of the GDP in 2017. The UAE is a fast-growing country taking major tech leaps into the future and this challenge will aim to provide a viable input to the construction sector while protecting the environment.
2. Challenge Objective:
The primary objective of this challenge is to:
- develop technologies that produce commercially viable construction material at scale from brine discharge, or;
- medical products, such as disinfectants, which can help in combating COVID-19 and other pandemics.