JEDDAH: The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has completed its innovative mobile plant project for wastewater treatment, after five years of research at the university’s water desalination and reuse research center.
The project is a result of the efforts and partnerships between KAUST and the National Water Company.
The technology is the first of its kind in the Kingdom, as it treats wastewater and converts it efficiently into reusable water for areas that are not connected to the central sewage network.
It can reduce energy demand by 50 percent, and produce treated water of similar or even better quality than that produced by conventional biological treatment processes.
It is expected that this technology will have a significant impact on underserved areas of the Kingdom by creating new job opportunities that support Saudi youth and offer them the chance to make use of their talents.
• The mobile plant treats wastewater and converts it efficiently into reusable water for areas that are not connected to the central sewage network.
• It can reduce energy demand by 50 percent, and produce treated water of similar or even better quality than that produced by conventional biological treatment processes.
Kevin Cullen, vice president of innovation at KAUST said: “Developing a reliable wastewater treatment service is one of the biggest challenges we face today.”
Cullen also pointed out that the ecosystem of deep tech startups at KAUST has become so developed that it has enabled the university to build strong partnerships with the government and established companies, which work together to bring these startups closer to the market.
In September last year, KAUST and the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, or MODON, teamed up to tackle wastewater treatment.
Cullen said: “The relationship between KAUST and MODON is an excellent example of how universities and industrial partners can work together to solve real challenges in our society and in a city like Jeddah where we need to increase wastewater treatment capacity.”
MODON has been piloting a new wastewater bioreactor technology at scale at their industrial city in Jeddah.
During this partnership, Peiying Hong, an associate professor at KAUST, developed a new, zero-energy technology that may hold the key to transforming wastewater sustainability and recycling.
MODON, which operates significant infrastructure throughout the Kingdom for environmental services including wastewater treatment plants, has selected Hong’s technology to pilot on-site at its first industrial city in Jeddah.
Cullen explained: “This technology not only processes wastewater more efficiently using a decentralized treatment model, it can be done in an energy-neutral way providing sustainability for the future.”