Red Sea Development Company teams up with university on sustainability challenge

Brains for Brine challenges scientists and engineers to find new solutions to manage the disposal of brine from water desalination plants

TRSDC has partnered with KAUST to launch the Brains for Brine challenge
TRSDC has partnered with KAUST to launch the Brains for Brine challenge

The Red Sea Development Company (TRSDC) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have launched an international competition that challenges academics, scientists, engineers and the water industry to come up with new solutions to manage the disposal of brine as a waste product of water desalination.

Applicants have until August 1, 2019 to submit their proposals. Five winners of the competition will present their solutions at Amsterdam International Water Week, where up to three prize winners will be eligible for a first prize of US$ 10,000 each.

As a longer term plan, there is the potential for the winners to be supported through angel-investment and other mentoring opportunities, to ensure the solutions have as much chance as possible of success.

TRSDC CEO John Pagano commented: "Desalination is an extraordinary technology that has brought potable water to millions and helped advance regions that were previously dry. However, the waste product of desalination is brine, and there is no adequate solution available to minimize its impact on the environment. TRSDC has pledged to help create technological solutions to environmental problems. The launch of the Brains for Brine Challenge is an example of our determination to set a new standard in sustainable development.”

The competition will be supported by the Water Desalination and Re-use Centre experts at KAUST, who will also be responsible for judging the entries. A microsite, where applicants can learn more about the initiative and submit their proposals, has also been created.

Dr Carlos Duarte, Professor of Marine Science at KAUST and member of the TRSDC Global Advisory Board said: “I have no doubt that the lessons we learn from the application of technology to sustainable development on the Red Sea Project will be used in the future to benefit fragile ecosystems around the world.”

TRSDC has set itself a number of sustainability targets, including a 100% reliance on renewable energy, a total ban on single-use plastics and complete carbon neutrality in the destination’s operations. The Brains for Brine initiative seeks to minimise brine discharge, achieving 100% waste water re-use and identifying opportunities for brine reuse.

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