Page 1

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology


at Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

March 2012 / Rabi Al-Thani 1433 Volume 2, Issue No. 7



BEFORE 1932, the nomadic population of the land area that became the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia traditionally migrated in search of food and water. With an accuracy that seemed instinctive, they used birdsong and


animal tracks to lead them to water sources. Familiar with the wadis (ephemeral streams over an alluvial aquifer) they could find water by digging just a few feet below a seemingly dry surface. Bedouin would dig up cool stones just before sunrise, wait until the dew settled on them, and would then collect the water in an example of early condenser technology. When water was found, it KAUST research team with a world map indicating their home countries

was treasured. Saudi Arabia is one of the driest countries in the world described

THE KAUST Water Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC) not only

of Al Shoura (Saudi Parliament) that, "The

as “hyper-arid to semi-arid”,

pursues research in water desalination, recycling, and reuse, but also cru-

Water Security in the Kingdom is equal to the

with only 0.7% of the country’s

cially contributes to the other three globally significant research areas of the

National Security."

area representing inland water

University, encompassing energy, food, and the environment, each as funda-

bodies such as lakes, reservoirs,

mental to life as water.

An astonishing 90% of wastewater is not used in this desert land where the true cost of a cubic meter of desalinated seawater is US$1. Key organi-

wadis and rivers. The population

The production of potable water, using energy-intensive thermal seawater

has burgeoned from an estimated

desalination processes, is costly in both capital and environment terms, even

zations, both public and private are, however, working

1.5-2.5 million in 1932 to 27 mil-

in Saudi Arabia where fossil fuels are available locally; it consumes eight

in partnership to expand the application of reclaimed

lion today, of which over 95% of

times more energy than pumping groundwater.

water with the goal of treating and reusing all wastewater by 2025. Prof. Amy

the population is settled - 85% of

The groundwater aquifers, which currently provide 80% of the country’s

believes that wastewater should be managed locally in treatment plants in both

them in the major cities. The pop-

water supply, have been depleting rapidly as the population grows and urbani-

rural areas and smaller cities across multiple sectors including agriculture, indus-

ulation is projected to reach 40M

zation increases. This source is expected to last only another 15-20 years. In

try, landscaping, recreation, and aquifer recharge. When reused, potable water is

in 2025, rising to 60M in 2060.

tandem with the WDRC’s extensive research on lower-energy, cost-effective,

often employed when less processed water would be equally acceptable and the

The Kingdom’s reliance on

and environmentally friendly desalination processes, Center Director Gary Amy

tailoring of water quality and treatment to future use is another hot topic.

desalination is evidenced by

and his world-class research team are focusing on diverse water innovation

Currently, little rainwater is collected, but rather drains from the local wadis

its extraordinary 30% of the

technologies to support sustainable and integrated water resource management

(riverbeds) into the Red Sea or the Arabian Gulf. By anticipating where rainwa-

global capacity, and its energy-

in the Kingdom in line with the vision of the University.

ter is most likely to fall and using these same riverbeds to collect water rather

intensive thermal desalination processes account for over half of the Kingdom’s domestic oil consumption. Major transmission lines transport water hundreds of kilometers inland and, like many countries in the region,

“Abundance and scarcity both present opportunities. Energy, both fossil and solar, provides a vast research opportunity because of its abundance here in Saudi Arabia. Water – because of its scarcity – gives us an opportunity on just as big a scale.”

than channel it, it is possible to replenish the aquifers with the soil acting as a natural filter.

- President Choon Fong Shih

Saudi Arabia loses one third of

The Beacon has published several recent articles looking at water desalina-

its potable water to leakage in

tion, so in this special issue, we will be highlighting wastewater reclamation,

distribution pipe networks. On a

conservation, and reuse. Articles on membrane technology (integral to many

per capita basis at almost 1000m3

processes), desert agriculture, climate modeling, and geo-engineering reflect

per annum, the Kingdom con-

the transdisciplinary research model the University embraces.

sumes 91% more water than the

It is only by taking the holistic view, as Prof. Amy does, that effective tech-

global average - an unintended

nologies, policies, and strategies can be implemented to effectively meet the

consequence of the government’s

aggressive goals necessary to meet the future water needs of Saudi Arabia.

Continued on p. 2

King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud stated in a recent speech to the Council

Professor Gary Amy (right) with Mr. Nasir Moosa of Dow Water Security | Continued on p. 2


Water Research: In House Collaborations 3–5

Water Research: Partnering With Industry 6–7

Community 8


March 2012

The Beacon

“ Water, water, every where, And all the boards did shrink; Water, water every where, Nor any drop to drink. “

very essence of our lives – and yet we waste it and sully it with seeming impunity.

IN 1797, the English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote The Rime of the Ancient

and holistic approach in our Water Desalination and Reuse Center to Professor Ingo

Mariner, describing an ill-fated voyage in which the scarcity of water in the famous

Pinnau’s Advanced Membranes & Porous Materials Center – our people are apply-

lines above might serve as a prescient omen for our planet’s journey today. As this

ing all of their energies, intelligence and imagination to this most precious of our

special BEACON issue dedicated to H2O illustrates, with water covering some 70% of

natural resources.

KAUST is committed, by its Founder’s vision, and its scientists’ passion to solving the challenges of water sustainability. From Professor Gary Amy’s comprehensive

- THE BEACON Editorial

the planet and with our bodies containing up to 78% water, it is truly intrinsic to the



 ater, a Way of W Life: Sustainable Water Management in a Cultural Context by Lida Schelwald-van der Kley, Linda Reijerkerk Water, a Way of Life takes the reader on a watery journey through time and across the world’s continents. Along the

Write to us at The Beacon, Issue 7, March 2012. Published by The Communications Department, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Thuwal 23955-6900, Saudi Arabia. Contact Salah Sindi +966 (2) 808-3221, email, or Caroline Kingdon +966 (2) 808-2074, email © King Abdullah University, of Science and Technology. Printed on partially recycled paper.

way it explains the past and present ways in which different cultures, both traditional and modern, view and manage water in response to the distinct environments they inhabit.

Water Security | Continued from p. 1

Since its inception in July 2009, the WDRC has evolved and reached critical mass with an international research team of eight faculty members, seven

which will culminate in a discussion around the possible formation of a regional

Beliefs and values are at the heart of any

Water Reuse Think Tank (no pun intended!).

culture and this book also highlights the views of world religions on water and

research scientists, about 20 postdoctoral research associates, and some 30

Speaking about the Kingdom’s challenges and priorities, President Choon Fong

PhD students, all working in world-class resea rch facilities (over 1,000 m of

Shih observed: “Abundance and scarcity both present opportunities. Energy,

its use. Understanding cultures and their

laboratory space with $10M of equipment) and performing industry-driven

both fossil and solar, provides a vast research opportunity because of its abun-

beliefs and practices around water can

research with its 13 industrial affiliates.

dance here in Saudi Arabia. Water – because of its scarcity – gives us an

inform new concepts for future sustain-

opportunity on just as big a scale. Delivering science and technologies to secure

able water management – from flood

clean, sustainable water supplies is a key goal for our University.” 

management to water supply, sanitation


Conscious of its role in the region, KAUST will be co-hosting a workshop in Muscat, Oman on April 12 entitled, Moving Water Reuse Forward in the GCC Region,

and irrigation management. Kingdom's Constant Quest For Water | Continued from p. 1

generous subsidy of 92% of the total cost of pro- municipal wastewater has increased to 6.67M m3/day systems for reclaimed water that could be integrated ducing it. As the population increases, tariff reforms of which some 33% is treated and then discharged in wadis, in or close to urban settings. As well as guaranteeing potable water for poorer residents and as waste to tidal waters or wadis. Only 21% of the minimizing the evaporative losses that dams suffer, supporting economic growth will need consideration. treated water is reused, so the potential for future ARR can lead to the attenuation of pathogens and Yet surprisingly, desalinated water constitutes a water reuse is substantial. In 2008, the National Water trace organic chemicals. mere 6% of the total water consumed annually; 80% Company was created by Royal Decree to restructure

In Riyadh – meaning “Garden,” 450,000m 3 of

This book is available at the University Library.

Water Chemistry by Mark M. Benjamin Water Chemistry is a good

comes from most fossil (non-renewable) groundwater drinking and wastewater services in compliance with treated sewage is used daily in the Wadi Hanifa

starting point for understanding of the

reserves and 14% from renewable water sources such international standards through public-private part- Wetlands Project, which won an international award

chemistry of natural and polluted water

as surface water, so that water demand is seven times nerships globally. the natural renewable resources available. Almost all

for Islamic architecture. The green valley it has cre-

As most wastewater is generated in urban areas, ated is used for recreational purposes including fishing

and wastewater treatment. This textbook describes the principles of chemical

of the annual rains fall in the southern hills; when distributed (decentralized) infrastructure can facilitate and picnicking, attracting migratory birds as well as

kinetics, dilute solution equilibria, effects

rain falls elsewhere, it is rare and unevenly distrib- tailored water reuse locally thus avoiding the sig- increasing date palm production for local farmers.

of temperature and ionic strength, and

uted. Much non-renewable groundwater is linked to nificant cost of large water conveyance systems. By The water also helps to irrigate the public gardens and

thermodynamics in relation to water

food production; this water is being rapidly depleted using automated plants with hybrid membrane bio- parks recalling why Riyadh is so-named. 

chemistry. The book gives a strong em-

and will not sustain demand without water conser- reactors, effluent quality can be high with minimal

phasis to graphical interpretation of data.

vation measures in agricultural irrigation. While only load on centralized facilities. Air conditioning con-

General view of the Wadi, 2005. ©Agha Khan Architecture awards.

9% of total municipal wastewater in the Kingdom is densate is another water source being investigated;

In Water Chemistry concepts are not only developed mathematically, but also

currently reused, the amount of reused is projected in humid air, a domestic air conditioner can generate

explained in terms of molecular structure

to increase by 800% to make Saudi Arabia the third over 60 liters of condensate/day.

and interactions. Numerous analogies

largest reuse market after China and the US by 2016.

from non-chemical systems round out

Storage and alternative treatment processes

Along with growing population and water demand, include artificial recharge and recovery (ARR)

the presentation and facilitate the development of an understanding of the con-


cepts, while extensive example problems April 1. Examples of original art to be featured in the

At the closing ceremony, the scientific committee

exhibition include paintings, photography, fabric

made several recommendations for advancing seis-

art, jewelry, sculpture, and ceramics. The exhibition

mological research in Arab countries. These would

will open with a reception on April 23 and will run

address both fundamental scientific questions and

until May 4.

problems of large socio-economic impact that call

All KAUST ID holders are welcome to partici-

for open international cooperation and mutual

KAUST is hosting the European-Middle East School

pate. Submissions must be ready to display. A

data and knowledge exchange. They include

on Membrane Technology for Sustainable Water

committee made up of community members will

seismic and volcanic hazard studies; research

Desalination and Reuse from April 28 – May 3. The

review all exhibition material for suitability.

on the lithospheric structure of the Arabian

deadline for registration is March 10. “This will be a very good opportunity to host some of the top European names

and engineered aquatic systems. This book is available at the University Library.

Solving the World’s Water Problems by Colin Chartres, Samyuktha Varma

Peninsula; global archiving of regional seismic

Solving the World’s Water Problems is an

For further information, visit:

and GPS networks and, importantly, the found-

e-book, part of the University Library’s

artexhibit. 

ing of the Arabian Seismological Commission. It

growing electronic collection. It describes

is hoped that the next Gulf Seismic Forum (Spring

the looming water crisis facing the world.

2014 in Oman) will show some fruits from these

This crisis is a result of a growing world

ambitious recommendations. 

population, changing dietary habits, and

in membrane technology,” says symposium chair Dr. Suzana Nunes from

demonstrate their application to natural


Water Desalination and Reuse Center. Organized together with the European

OVER 300 participants from 29 countries dis-

the competition for water from many

Membrane Society, the symposium brings together

cussed seismicity, tectonics, and natural hazards

sectors of a society increasingly urban

students and researchers from KAUST and other

in the Arab region at the biennial Gulf Seismic

and industrial in nature. The agricultural

universities. Topics covered in the program include

Forum (GSF), held biennially in Jeddah in

sector receives particular attention

polymer and ceramic membranes, membrane charac-

January. The highly successful conference was

in this study.

terization, and membrane processes and engineering.

organized by the Saudi Geological Survey (SGS)

Lack of water for growing food will be

Dr. Nabil Nada from First National Operation and

under the scientific leadership of Dr. Martin Mai,

one of the most critical challenges in

Maintenance Company(NOMAC) will provide an

Professor of Earth Science & Engineering at

the 21st century. What is needed, the

overview of desalination in Saudi Arabia. 

KAUST. The Minister for Petroleum and Mineral

authors suggest, is a “Blue Revolution”

Resources, His Excellency A.I. Al-Naimi made the

that starts with effective water measure-

opening remarks. KAUST scientists made a strong

ment and monitoring systems and ends

contribution to the 65 presentations and 83 post-

by creating positive incentives to break

THE University Library will be accepting entries for the

ers on display, and were also able to showcase

the cycle of water poverty.

2012 annual Artists of KAUST Exhibit until Sunday,

the University’s research and education programs.


Water Research: In House Collaborations

March 2012


USING WADIS TO RECHARGE AQUIFERS HYDROGEOLOGIST and Visiting Professor Thomas Missimer has been “in water” for over 37 years and is passionate about the use of natural systems for its filtration, purification, and storage. He explains that Western Saudi Arabia consists primarily of Precambrian shield rocks of a crystalline nature, containing only a few aquifers within wadi systems. The wadis contain loose sediment, sand, and boulders and are the only locations where water can permeate the surface when rain falls. Storms are often violent and extreme causing flash floods, which shake the ground and are capable of moving half-meter diameter boulders in their wake. “Had Jeddah been able to store the water that passed through the city in the 2009 flood, it could have supplied the population

Thomas Missimer

Using aquifer water from a local well for agricultural irrigation

for between five and ten years,” he explains. “As it was, most ended up in the Red Sea with some standing in pools on the impenetrable surface for weeks.”

Water Evaluation and Management, will be published by Springer later this year.

Prof. Missimer deems two systems adept to address the country’s growing needs: Aquifer

Prof. Missimer considers that “Saudi Arabia is a natural laboratory that contains many

Recharge and Recovery (ARR) for the storage of treated wastewater and the more strategic Aquifer

unresolved issues of a technical nature and corresponding water policy issues. KAUST,

Storage and Recovery (ASR) for the storage of treated potable water. This water would only be

with its experienced faculty and resources, provides a great opportunity for research-

used during emergencies (desalination plant failure) or extreme droughts. Placement of treated

ers to make significant contributions to help resolve regional and global research

wastewater and stormwater into wadi aquifer (ARR) allows the natural system to filter out con-

management issues.” 

taminants so that the water can be used for unrestricted agricultural irrigation. Aquifers have the added advantage over dams of low evaporation. It is by using these wadis in a similar way to bank filtration (see diagrams) - that is, by taking advantage of the percolation of water through existing geologic formations to filter it, removing pathogens and other organic materials - that Prof. Missimer sees hope for a cost-effective way to recharge the aquifers. “The one water supply that is increasing with the population is wastewater,” Prof. Missimer points out, “Moreover it is produced at the very place where it is most needed and, if used locally, is more cost-effective than piping it long distances.” In Windhoek, Namibia, the driest country south of the Sahara, wastewater is treated to drinking water standards and goes back into the drinking water supply. There are no other viable options to produce drinking water. One of the reasons the aquifers of Saudi Arabia have been so depleted is the recent expansion of agriculture responding to demand, though wheat cultivation is no longer being government subsidized and is planned to end by 2016. However, the replacement of wheat crops with other crops has actually increased water use in many areas, thereby making the problem worse. Prof. Missimer is adamant that storage techniques must go hand in hand with measures to increase the water survey and reduce agricultural water wastage. Prof. Missimer looks forward to the information that will be provided by a new NASA satellite with a 1-2 km resolution that will help to locate underground water with greatly increased accuracy. He has a paper accepted in the journal, Ground Water entitled Wadi Aquifer Systems: Restoration and enhancement by aquifer recharge and recovery and his most recent of seven books, Arid Lands: Using wadi beds to treat wastewater


Precision “fertigation,” which combines subsurface drip irrigation with fertilizer application, is about making the most efficient use of both water and nutrients. Driving desalination with solar energy can be both cost-effective and environmentally acceptable. Minimizing freshwater use and nutrient pollution diminish agriculture’s ecological footprint.

IN an increasingly populous and resource-scarce world, food secu-

Secondly, crops can be developed that tolerate the saline water

rity is a major concern. In a country such as Saudi Arabia, with a

produced by partial desalination or obtained directly from the sea.

still-growing population, a paucity of arable land and shrinking

There are naturally salt-tolerant plants, such as Salicornia (sea

groundwater resources, it is becoming critical.

asparagus; a vegetable that can be eaten and whose seeds can

NEW CENTER DIRECTOR'S TOP TWEET “I am pleased to be a member of this forward-looking university focused on the big issues of the 21st century: water, food and energy for a world of 9 billion people."

Nina Fedoroff

Science, engineering, and technology must converge on the

be used for cooking oil or made into high-protein animal feed)

Provost Stefan Catsicas and Dean Pierre Magistretti

dual challenges of increasing agricultural output under steadily

and Distichlis (saltgrass), both of which are known technically

announced the appointment of Distinguished Professor Nina

deteriorating climatic conditions and developing much greater

as halophytes. Crop plants that do not normally tolerate salt can

Fedoroff as Acting Director of the Plant Stress Genomics Center.

water-efficiency in agriculture in the face of declining ground

be made more salt-tolerant through modern molecular modifica-

Professor Fedoroff is a 2006 National Medal of Science laureate.

water supplies. KAUST is poised to be a major contributor at this

tion. Researchers at KAUST are developing a suite of precise and

She recently completed her term as the President of the American

water-food nexus.

efficient molecular genome modification tools to accelerate the

Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and has

domestication of halophytes and the genetic modification of salt-

just returned from Vancouver, Canada where she presided over

sensitive crop plants.

the Association’s 2012 annual meeting. She currently serves

With substantial investments in alternative energy, membranes, desalination, computational biology, and plant stress physiology, the University is harnessing many disciplines to address the needs

Researchers at KAUST are looking at many other ideas.

as the Chair of the AAAS Board of Directors. According to the

of the Kingdom and of the global community in a world growing

Aquaponics, a system that involves the integration of aquaculture

Association’s media department, a quote from her Presidential

hotter and more crowded, as well as regionally more arid.

and hydroponic horticulture, is an effective system for maximiz-

address was a “top tweet” during the annual meeting.

There are several ways to tackle desert agriculture. Firstly, desert

ing the use of both water and minimizing the need for added plant

land, now considered unsuitable for farming, can be made pro-

nutrients. Such integrated systems can be based on either fresh

Professor Fedoroff is a world-renowned geneticist and

ductive using solar desalination technology combined with more

water or saline water, producing fish and shellfish, as well as fruits,

molecular biologist and has done fundamental research on

efficient irrigation methods to minimize evaporative loss. Newly

vegetables and herbs. 

the molecular biology of plant transposons and on the mecha-

greened desert coastlines can also help to sequester the carbon

nisms plants use to adapt to stressful environments.

dioxide that contributes to global warming. This is about tailoring

She told The Beacon, "I am pleased to be a member of this

the water to the needs of the plants, about minimizing the energy

forward-looking university focused on the big issues of the 21st

needed to generate the water and recycling water, as well as about

century: water, food and energy for a world of 9bn people." 

delivering the water directly to where it is needed, the plants’ roots.


March 2012

Water Research: In House Collaborations

The Beacon

CLIMATE MODEL SEES HAZARDS AHEAD 25-km resolution global simulations at KAUST

“IT’s very dangerous to play with the real world,” explained Professor Georgiy Stenchikov, Chair

storms; and are contributing to a

of the Earth Science program in the Division of Physical Science and Engineering when he spoke

UN project looking at the impact of cli-

to The Beacon, “that’s why we prefer to play with models!”

mate change on water resources in Arab countries.

What would the impact on the Kingdom be if we could refashion the mountains, encourage a

Quite apart from the computational capacity

volcano to erupt, or clear the air of dust? In fact, doubling the height of the Hejaz Mountains so

available to the researchers, the team’s access to

that the warm air coming from the Red Sea (which loses 2 meters of water depth annually through

a 25 km resolution global simulation is unique.

evaporation) was forced to rise would almost certainly induce rainfall. Unfortunately because of the

Combined with satellite images updated every

way the water would drain along the wadis, this would cause severe flooding in low lands including

15 minutes both in infrared and solar spectrum,

Jeddah and Thuwal. And if a volcano the size of Pinatubo erupted? The predicted outcome would

patterns of dust pollution can be detected and events recorded that will

be for temperatures in the region to fall some 2-3 degrees because the fine particulates developed

ultimately lead to more robust predictions of strong dust outbreaks. By looking back to 1979 when

in the stratosphere 25 km above the ground would reflect the sun’s rays as they did following its

satellite observations began, the group is hoping to be able to forecast to 2050. There is evidence of

eruption in 1991. The resulting bleaching of the corals was stark evidence of this particular envi-

30-year oscillations in local warming and cooling over the Arabian Peninsula, currently stable after

ronmental trigger. And if we were able to clear the air of sand and dust so that the sun’s rays were

a period of sharp increase since 1970s exacerbated by global warming.

undeflected, the models show the increased downward solar radiation could warm the Red Sea by

“KAUST facilitates transdisciplinary research and we combine climate science, meteorology, chemistry, material science, applied math and numerical methods in this work.”

several degrees with a significant effect on ecological systems. Prof. Stenchikov and his international group of postdocs, PhD and master’s students work closely with colleagues from the Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC), the Mathematical and Computer Sciences and Engineering Division, Shaheen Supercomputer Lab, KAUST IT Scientific Computing, and the

Prof. Stenchikov hopes that by more accurately predicting severe precipitation, water could be

University Library to examine the dynamic and physical reasons for the local climate and to help predict

contained and used. “But water resources in Kingdom are not just about precipitation,” he explained.

future climate change. With its particu-

“There are geological processes associated with groundwater depletion that could be irreversible. In

lar strengths, the group is working closely

some cases, the loss of pressure leads to aquifers being filled with saltwater; in others, the morphol-

with collaborators including the National

ogy is such that the aquifers could collapse and be lost forever.”

Surface Air Temperature Variability in the Central Arabian Peninsula (K)

Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s

And what of those dust storms? Anecdotally, they are increasing in frequency affecting visibility

(NOAA) Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

and human health; indeed there is dust in the atmosphere for up to five kilometers over the Kingdom.

Laboratory on high-resolution global cli-

However, that needn’t be all bad. In order to produce rain, much lower supersaturation is required in a

mate modeling, National Aeronautics and

dusty atmosphere than in a clean one as aerosol particles affect the microphysics of cloud formation.

Space Administration (NASA), and Imperial

“KAUST is an ideal place to be,” Prof. Stenchikov remarked. “It facilitates transdisciplinary

College London on aerosol observations;

research and we combine climate science, meteorology, chemistry, material science, applied math

University of Texas (UT) in Austin on dust

and numerical methods in this work.” 


WASTEWATER TREATMENT RESEARCH PEEKS UNDERGROUND Mazahirali Alidina Along with other researchers at the Water Desalination

MANY wastewater purification techniques have been around for decades but optimizing different approaches for maximum

In her research, Dr. Yoon uses columns of synthetic soil to

and Reuse Center, PhD candidate Mazahirali Alidina is try-

effectiveness and water quality is an ongoing task. In areas of

imitate the travel of water through soil. She compares the quali-

ing to maximize the removal of trace organic chemicals

water scarcity, recharging aquifers could prove to be a clever

ties of water when ARR is either used alone or before or after

from wastewater in Managed Aquifer Recharge (MAR) sys-

way of producing drinking water.

ozonation, using actual wastewater from Jeddah and KAUST.

tems at low cost using soil filtration. Facing the challenges

“Water to us is very complicated as it comes down to the molec-

of understanding conditions underground and the control

ular level,” she explains.

of natural systems, Alidina is particularly interested in the

Postdoctoral fellow Min Yoon, whose background is in analytical chemistry, is looking into the ways Aquifer Recharge and Recovery (ARR) and ozonation can work together to make water

Dr. Yoon is also interested in the characterization of wastewater

treatment more efficient, to remove contaminants from wastewa-

to find out which factor is responsible for removing a particu-

ter, and to provide bio-stable water.

lar pollutant. Organic micropollutants can be traced using liquid

ARR, used mainly in Germany and California, is also known as

chromatography and mass spectrometry.

role of biodegradable organic carbon, microbial adaptation and the role of temperature in the process. One of the KAUST’s founding class, Kenyan-born Alidina arrived here from the University of Toronto where

riverbank filtration, soil aquifer treatment or Aquifer Storage and

While education increases the acceptability of waste-

he earned his BASc. Motivated by the top-notch research-

Recovery (ASR). It is a natural process that can be either planned

water reuse, various contaminants such as medicines and

ers and facilities at WDRC, he hopes to continue his work

or unplanned. As water filters through a soil passage, microbes

personal hygiene products require removal from recycled water.

in the water sector.

attenuate organic contaminants. No chemicals are needed but the

Ozonation is one method for this but the process does have

method is relatively slow.

potential disadvantages.

“I am really passionate about this field and I see it becoming increasingly important. I hope research will

Ozonation, the infusion of ozone gas into water, is rapid

Dr. Yoon explains future challenges: “We may be able to

uncover many of the uncertainties associated with waste-

and effective but more expensive as it requires chemi-

remove ibuprofen, for example, from the water but the chemi-

water reuse and make the practice more acceptable in the

cals. The method is widely used in drinking water treatment

cal process may create a byproduct which is hard to identify and

eyes of the public.” 

instead of chlorination.

and may have unknown health effects.” 

Water Research: In House Collaborations

March 2012


MEMBRANES AT THE HEART OF WATER PROCESSING “THE heart of any membrane system is the membrane,” Professor Ingo Pinnau told The Beacon, “and like the chip in a computer, the

of optimized, high surface area hollow fibers. In over 90% of current desalination and wastewater treatments using reverse osmosis (RO), water under pressure is filtered through

smaller and faster it is, the better.” In fact water-related research is just one small part of the

a spiral-wound module made from layers of flat-sheet membrane.

Advanced Membranes and Porous Materials (AMPM) Center’s work

The challenge for Prof. Pinnau’s team is to produce an alterna-

in the fundamental science of membrane technology, but one that

tive membrane that can compete with the current technology,

encourages transdisciplinary collaboration and could contrib-

which has seen dramatic improvements in efficiency since 1980,

ute significantly to the Kingdom’s need for enhanced technology

to increase water flux and address the challenges of fouling by

around water.

scaling, natural organic matter and biofilm formation on the mem-

The inauguration of the Advanced Membranes and Porous

brane surface. “Fouling-resistant membranes have great commercial

Materials Center will take place on March 6–7, 2012 at KAUST. The

potential,” explained Prof. Pinnau, Director of the AMPM Center.

event, which is open to all KAUST staff and students, will include

“The problem is that any solute adhering to a membrane surface

a two-day technical symposium with invited world-class scientists

inevitably decreases the water flux.” The team is hoping to develop

presenting some of their cutting-edge research.

an advanced hollow fiber membrane aiming for a 5-10 fold increase

Membranes are integral to seawater desalination, the treatment of brackish water, and the removal of organic compounds as well

in permeate productivity in water desalination in a market which continues to expand significantly with increasing demand.

Above: a hollow fiber bundle produced by the AMPM center. Right: Professor Pinnau

as water reclamation and reuse. The semi-permeable filter allows

Large RO seawater desalination facilities have high-energy

only the passage of water while rejecting essentially all other

demands and are often situated close to power plants to make use

solutes from the feed water source. Groundbreaking advances in

of the waste heat produced, which in turn provides cooling for

membrane-based water treatment technology can be achieved in

the power plant. After completion of a two-stage reverse osmosis

two ways by: (1) allowing higher intrinsic water permeability of

process for production of potable water, the concentrated brine is

Similarly, diluting seawater with other low-salinity water sources

the membrane and minimizing the thickness of the membrane’s

pumped back into the sea. Prof. Pinnau explained that the brine

by FO can be used to generate green electricity. Capitalizing on the

selective barrier layer material by applying fundamental materials

so produced could be diluted before it is discharged into the sea

significant salinity gradient between river water and seawater, pres-

science or (2) improving the output of membranes by increasing

when used as a draw solution in a forward osmosis (FO) process

sure-retarded osmosis could be used to generate electricity without

the packing density in a membrane module by the development

by removal of water from a low-salinity wastewater water source.

any harmful emissions. 


biotechnology called bio-electrochemical systems. This treated

DR. Pascal Saikaly, Assistant Professor of Environmental Science

can be treated and reused where it is produced. The tailored uses of

and Engineering, has a background in microbial ecology and envi-

treated sewage could include the irrigation of parks and golf courses.

wastewater could be used for different purposes, for example in agriculture, irrigation, or cooling towers. Prof Saikaly envisages decentralized systems so that wastewater

ronmental biotechnology. His current research focuses on integrating

As well as working with colleagues in the Visualization Core Lab,

cutting-edge -omic tools (genomic, proteomic, and transcriptomic)

Prof Saikaly’s group works closely with colleagues at the Bioscience

with bioprocess engineering to optimize and create new biotechnol-

Core Lab by utilizing the next generation sequencing and proteomic

ogies for wastewater reclamation and reuse. Using microorganisms

facilities. “Genetic tools can help us think like microorganisms,” he

to treat wastewater and generate energy, these technologies aim to

explains, “so that we can better manage them to provide us with

be robust, scalable, and capable of providing tailored water quality

services to society such as treatment of wastewater and generation

while reducing both the current reliance on fossil fuels and the envi-

of energy.”

Professor Saikaly with his team.

large Saudi company. Prof. Saikaly feels that KAUST offers him an unparalleled oppor-

ronmental damage associated with the current processes. Wastewater

It is not just within the University that such collective activity is

tunity for fundamental and goal-oriented research and looks forward

is rich in organic substrate, which is a source of food for bacteria.

happening. Prof. Saikaly and his team have productive relationships

to success in future wastewater treatment and desalination endeavors

Bacteria clean the wastewater by converting organic matter directly

with other academic institutions in the United States and Europe and

that promise to minimize not only the use of finite resources but also

to electricity; electrodes capture the electrons generated in a novel

have a proposal under consideration for a new collaboration with a

the carbon footprint of such activities. 



JORDANIAN PhD Student Ahmed Alhamadat is looking at the concept

PHD student Craig Werner originally started at KAUST work-

WHEN Master’s student David Mantilla

of “Constructed Wetlands” technology for his thesis in Environmental

ing as a center administrator for Professor Gary Amy in

decided to study science he broke the mold.

Science and Engineering under the supervision of Professor Gary Amy.

August 2009, having deferred his enrolment as a PhD stu-

Coming from a family with four genera-

Constructed wetlands (CWs) offer a simple, natural, cost-effective

dent to the following semester. He officially transitioned into

tions of architects, they were delighted

and efficient way to treat wastewater. These systems of artificially cre-

the PhD program to begin his studies in the spring of 2010.

when he became a microbiology major

ated shallow lined basins (< 1m deep) filled with plants, are designed

Building on his background in microbiology and biochemis-

at Los Andes University in Colombia. But

to treat wastewater - both primary and secondary effluents. The basin

try, as well as industry experience in the water sector, Werner

later, working in a molecular biology lab

size would be determined by the need, which could be as small as just

is focusing on the use of microbial fuel cells for energy recov-

as a graduate, Mantilla felt there was something missing is his

one household.


ery as well as wastewater treatment and water reuse. The

chosen field; there seemed to be little room for creativity and he

CWs use only natural biological processes; performance assessments

technology has been shown to be exceptionally versatile as

was frustrated that much of the pure science was never trans-

indicate that these integrated treatment systems have the potential to

it is possible to desalinate water, produce hydrogen and even

lated into anything practical. Seeking to “bridge his two passions:

remove nutrients and organic matter, as well as bacteria and viruses.

useful products such as caustic solutions by integrating dif-

biology and architecture”, he saw an opportunity in sustainable

A growing problem is the number of emerging organic micropol-

ferent technologies. The integration of forward osmosis with a

urban development and applied to KAUST to study Environmental

lutants (OMPs) including pharmaceutically active compounds (PhACs)

microbial fuel cell is a recent application that he is investigat-

Science. He is realizing his dream as he works with Professor Gary

released into wastewater that are eventually found in surface and

ing and though still at the lab-scale, the technology has great

Amy to develop a modular system of photo-bioreactors to treat

ground water; the increased, widespread use of drugs is exacerbating

promise. “I am excited for the future prospects of MFC tech-

wastewater in large buildings so that it can be reused. Dedicated

this environmental problem. Initial work suggests that CWs can effi-

nology and am optimistic that we will see some form of real

glass panels in a building’s façade housing populations of algae

ciently reduce concentrations of OMPs. Alhamadat is looking closely

application in the coming years,” Werner told The Beacon. 

would be fed “grey” water; these simple photosynthetic organ-

at the potential of one particular plant, the reed phragmites australis,

isms would use the nutrients in the water combined with the light

to remove PhACs.

and warmth to grow removing the microbiological pollutants and

Alhamadat is delighted to have been chosen to present a paper

in the process, cleaning the water. An added bonus would be the

discussing the removal of PhACs using constructed wetlands

capacity of the algae to create different natural pigments so that

at the 9th International Conference on Constructed Wetlands

the color of the panels would never be static!. 

(INTECOL 9) in the USA in June. 

Ahmed Alhamadat

Water Research: Partnering With Industry

March 2012



Dr. Adil Bushnak and Professor Walid Abdurrahman speak of their organizations’ collaboration with the Water Desalination Research Center.


technologies and agriculture, to facilitate open communication, collective enterprises, creativity and remote learning. Dr. Bushnak shared his concerns that there is much focus on increasing water desalination using conventional fuel sources rather

DR. Adil Bushnak, President of the Bushnak Group and the

than on managing the demand for water, promoting water reuse and

Bushnak Academy, former President of the International Desalination

recovery, and minimizing agricultural water use.

Dr. Adil Bushnak

Association and founder and Chairman of the Saudi Water & Power

Dr. Bushnak believes that specific national policies defining objec-

with the necessary local expertise to ensure their smooth imple-

Forum (SWPF), sees KAUST as a catalyst for change that will facili-

tives and encouraging pragmatic programs are required both for the

mentation, as well as by contributing to student development with

tate sustainable, equitable and balanced economic development and

welfare of the Saudi people and for water security in the region. He

high-caliber hands-on training.

encourage economic diversity through the growth of the knowledge

lauds the plans of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology

Professor Walid is confident that the research undertaken by the

economy in the Kingdom.

(KACST) to build a solar powered advanced membrane desalination

WDRC will have a significant impact on confronting the challenges

Dr. Bushnak addressed the three-year collaboration between the

plant in Al-Khafji jointly with the Saline Water Conversion Corporation

involved in water treatment problems in the Kingdom, the Gulf

Bushnak Group and KAUST in an interview with The Beacon, a part-

(SWCC), as well as its efforts to increase local capacity nationally for

region and other arid areas internationally. He has no doubt that

nership based on mutual interests moving in three parallel streams.

the production of cells and membranes. He is hopeful that by assuming

such research will be instrumental in reducing water treatment costs

Firstly, the group is helping KAUST to cooperate with the concerned

leadership, SWCC can build further complementary programs in col-

and boosting efficiency, both factors in helping to mitigate the water

agencies to facilitate and expedite reclaimed water reuse mechanisms

laboration with other government and private organizations. 

deficit in the Kingdom and meeting the drinking, industrial and agri-

and programs following the recommendations made by KAUST in

cultural demands for water. He highlighted KAUST’s involvement in

lective work with both businesses and research centers around water


technologies, renewable energy and desert farming.

PROFESSOR Walid Abderrahman, Chairman of the Miahona

work alonside local companies and research centers to seek

2011; secondly it is helping KAUST to establish a water and food security institute in collaboration with Professor Walid Abdurrahman, CEO of Miahona Co., to serve as a global hub; thirdly there is col-

one particular project on the treatment and reuse of sanitary drainage water in Jeddah. Professor Walid is heartened by the positive spirit he sees among the KAUST research community and its willingness to

Initiatives in progress include the construction of a demonstration

Company, is delighted to be in a relationship with KAUST’s

solutions together. He has visited the WDRC several times and

experimental farm using salt water and wind and solar energy in col-

WDRC and sees its role as both pioneering and global. He told

recently gave a talk about water security in the Kingdom and

laboration with water engineer and inventor Nassar El Madhoun (see

The Beacon that the company, engineering consultants in

there have already been meetings to discuss future work in desert

following article), and joint programs with the annual SWPF and the

water and wastewater, welcomes the opportunity to work with


Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) Initiative to consolidate

the WDRC and its “outstanding research capabilities including

Professor Walid comments that KAUST promises to serve as a

the desalination research efforts in KSA.

eminent researchers and state-of-the-art facilities conducive to

focal point for scientific and policy communication around the

development of sanitary drainage water treatment and process-

growing challenges of water scarcity in the 21st century. “With the

ing and reuse of desalinated water.”

projected population increase, such scientific programs must be

Dr. Bushnak hopes that KAUST, with its robust links to both local and international research centers, will play a pioneering role in the establishment of electronic portals. These aim to enhance knowl-

Miahona contributes as a member of the KAUST Industrial

edge and creativity in specialized fields, including water desalination

Collaboration Program (KICP) by providing water-related projects

established to seek vital practical solutions for water and food security for future generations,” he remarked. 

DOW AND KAUST ALIGN TO SEEK SUSTAINABLE SOLUTIONS The Beacon asked Dr. Ilham Kadri, Commercial Director, Dow Water and Process Solutions (DW&PS) Europe, Middle East and Africa, about the company’s relationship with KAUST around water.

KAUST currently working together to address the needs of the Middle East? A: Having research facilities that are dedicated to water

Q: What do you hope Dow offers the University, and what does the University offer Dow as they move forward in partnership? A: Dow has a long and proud history of innovation. It is in our

based right here in the region is critical to addressing the

DNA. More than 100 years ago, our founder, Herbert H. Dow, said:

Q: Can you tell us a little more about Dow as a company and its role in the Middle East? A: The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) is one of the world’s

future needs of the Middle East. There are unique condi-

“If you can’t do it better, why do it at all?” That is a philosophy

tions in our region that are unlike any in the world. Being

that our talented employees and scientists apply daily.

on the ground and understanding the conditions that impact

Dow has one of the largest R&D investment programs in the

leading chemical companies, present in 36 countries, employing

the quality of life in the region is essential. Our ultrafiltra-

industry with combined spending of nearly USD 2 billion. But it’s

52,000 people worldwide. We are committed to developing solu-

tion and reverse osmosis (RO) pilot plant at KAUST is a great

not just about how much you commit to financially. You need

tions that address the world’s most pressing challenges including

example that ties together both our R&D and commercial

the right people. Dow R&D has an elite, global team of research-

the need for clean water, renewable energy generation and con-

ambitions in the region, in support of regional needs. There

ers concentrating on over 500 major projects at any given time,

servation, and increasing agricultural productivity.

is no one-size-fits-all solution in our business. The plant will

projects that are aimed at addressing human needs. I believe that KAUST can gain from Dow’s vast global R&D resources.

The Middle East is experiencing tremendous social and eco-

be used for application development on the waters of the Red

nomic growth, and we are particularly active in the building and

Sea and Arabian Sea, which are the source of desalinated

construction sector, as well as infrastructure, including water. We

water for most of the Kingdom.

For Dow, when we look at Saudi Arabia and, more broadly the Middle East, we see a wealth of opportunities ahead. One of Dow’s

are committed to offering products with the best sustainability

With KAUST, we are proud to have agreed to three chal-

best practices is to locate industrial R&D facilities at the heart of

profile, even if the related legislation remains in its infancy in the

lenging areas of research collaboration, namely ultrafiltration

each application. Dow’s partnership with KAUST is a commitment

region. Innovation is a cornerstone of Dow’s success anywhere

pre-treatment, RO system integration and wastewater reuse.

to support the Kingdom’s scientific and economic aspirations for

in the world, which is why we’re especially proud to partner with

Each of these projects is aligned with Dow’s commitment to

generations to come. We can benefit not only from having our

KAUST to open Dow’s first Research and Development (R&D)

reduce its own water footprint. We are also aiming to drive

state-of-the-art R&D facilities located at KAUST, but the univer-

Center in the region, starting with water.

a 35% reduction in the cost of water reuse and desalina-

sity’s regional focus, and its educated and passionate talent pool

tion through component technology advances, an objective

as well.

Q: Apart from the work in desalination and the commissioning of the pilot desalination plant, how are Dow and

that we believe is aligned with regional governments’ own infrastructure plans.

Ultimately, KAUST was the first significant Dow footprint in the Kingdom. KAUST helped put Saudi Arabia on the Dow map, and

Water Research: Partnering With Industry

KAUST is now a part of Dow’s global R&D footprint. Instead of intro-

in Saudi Arabia. As I mentioned earlier, we just opened an office

ducing technologies from Europe and US into the Middle East, now

in Saudi Arabia. And we recently announced a joint venture with

we will innovate together according to real local market needs and

Saudi Aramco to form the Sadara Chemical Company. It is set to be

future unmet needs.

the largest petrochemical facility ever built in one single phase. The performance products will serve multiple industries, including the

Q: How are Dow employees settling in to the working environment and the community at KAUST? A: Dow and KAUST have been partners for three years now, and

building blocks of the building and construction sector.

our growing team feels right at home, thanks to the welcoming

only is it first Dow RO membrane manufacturing facility planned

community environment fostered by the university. Dow was one

outside the United States, it is also the first ever such facility in the

of the first industrial partners to place people at KAUST, and ensur-

entire Middle East region. It is a testament to our confidence in Saudi

ing that current and future Dow people feel welcome on campus

Arabia’s growth plans, in particular the Kingdom’s move to shift

is essential for success. The university’s values of diversity and

towards sustainable downstream applications. The facility will serve

inclusion are also aligned with Dow’s. It’s wonderful to see a mix

the local market, as well as export markets worldwide. We will also

of Saudi and international students, male and female, fresh gradu-

offer Saudi nationals access to specialized manufacturing jobs, as

ates and experienced professors, on campus.

well as the latest training offerings.

We also announced our intention to invest in an RO facility in Saudi Arabia. The site is expected to be operational by 2015. Not

March 2012



We are committed to identifying and connecting with young

joined the Dow family, both in the Kingdom and abroad. We also

Q: If you could look ahead to 2025, how do you hope that KAUST and Dow together will successfully increase the provision of water in the Kingdom? A: Success should be measured in what we have accomplished

firmly believe that Dow’s success in Saudi Arabia is tied to the

together, in line with the aspirations of the Kingdom. One key

development of the young people of Saudi Arabia, and that’s part

measure will be to deliver commercial success through innovation

Condensation was Jeddah’s first technology for purify-

of the reason that we decided to invest in KAUST. Developing local

in the sustainability arena in the Kingdom by shifting to cleaner

ing saltwater. Two British-built condensers provided drinking

talent in cooperation with academia is not just about being good

energy and water treatment technologies. We envision that in the

water for the residents of the city during the first half of the

citizens, but it is about maximizing our success over the long-term,

future, resources like water will be readily available to anyone in a

20th century. The roar of the ‘Lancashire boilers’ was con-

and educating future regional leaders.

sustainable manner. Waterborne coatings will become a standard

siderable as is evident in a local poet’s wish: “Save us from

in the building and construction industry, and solar will become a

the clamour of the kindasah.” The technique was

real source of energy for the Kingdom.

eventually replaced by a pipeline from the wells

men and women who are equally committed to supporting the Kingdom’s scientific and economic aspirations. Since we partnered with KAUST, we’ve identified talented new employees who’ve

THE city of Jeddah is known for the sculptures along its roads, especially on the roundabouts. But did you know that some of them reveal actual history, like the rusty metal condensers on Al-Tahlia Street?

Q: What are Dow’s hopes and aspirations for economic development in the Kingdom? A: From our perspective, Saudi Arabia is a significant market for

set ourselves a stringent set of 2015 sustainability goals. Sustainability

The condenser sculptures are constructed

Sustainability is at the heart of Dow’s mission and vision. We have

of Wadi Fatimah.

Dow solutions. From desalination to construction to home and per-

is not an abstract concept, but derives real meaning from a complex

from scrap metal from the original units. They

sonal care, we see tremendous business opportunity in the Kingdom.

combination of breakthroughs and incremental improvements with

are the creation of the Spanish artist Julio

In terms of the business opportunities for DW&PS, Saudi Arabia is

the contribution of many different disciplines. The approaches we

Lafuente who is also the person behind the

the largest desalination market in the world. We see an attractive

have taken, combining collaborative innovation and a challenge-

Mameluke Mosque Lanterns, the Verse Boat,

market for our complete solutions portfolio, be it seawater desali-

based approach, in concert with the outstanding combination of

the Illuminated Globe, and various other art-

nation or water reuse.

interdisciplinary skills coming together at KAUST provide ideal con-

works throughout Jeddah.

In the past year, Dow has made several strategic investments

ditions for long-term sustainable growth. 

Other features associated with water technology include the Desalination Pipes by Mustafa


Prof. Nunes develops new polymeric materials using self-

Senbel. The form of Desalination Pipes I is

assembly in solution to tune nanoporous structures. Her work is

inspired by the minarets of the great mosque

accelerated by the core laboratory support, which distinguishes

of Samarra in Iraq. Today, there are more than

the University. New membranes are imaged in the Imaging and

thirty desalination plants in the Kingdom. 

PROFESSOR Suzana Nunes’ enthusiasm for her research area was

Characterization Lab while in the Visualization Core Lab, new

evident when she spoke to The Beacon last month. The Associate

materials can be seen layer by layer in three dimensions in differ-

Professor of Chemical and Life Science and Engineering is work-

ent scales allowing, for example, their porosity to be quantified.

ing on new polymers and organic-inorganic hybrid materials for

Membranes feature large in work with water where they

membranes aiming at applications such as high performance

have been used for the filtration of organic pollutants and

and high stability polymeric membranes for membrane distilla-

Prof. Nunes is particularly interested in the growing need to

tion and catalysis, nanofiltration and desalination.

filter out endocrine disruptors. These are synthetic chemicals

At the University since 2009, Prof. Nunes is typical of the

that can potentially interfere with the hormone system, rang-

“world citizen” attracted to KAUST. Of Portuguese/Spanish fam-

ing from those used in fertilizers and in the plastics industry to

ily, she was born and raised in Brazil, completing her studies

the growth hormones common in beef and dairy farming and

there before going to Germany as a Humboldt fellow, where she

the oral contraceptive pill-taken by over 100 million women

spent many years working. She combines an active teaching

worldwide. Current membranes are unable to separate such sub-

role with her research, is co-editor of several books, and cur-

stances and Prof. Nunes looks to nanofiltration technology as

rently has a dozen patent applications.

a future solution. Prof. Nunes has another fast-moving desa-

KAUST-IBM APPROVED PROJECTS (2012-2013) TITLE Earthquake Rupture Dynamics using SeisSol and SORD: A Comparative Study Parallel Multiscale Simulation of Multicomponent Multiphase Flow: From Darcy Scale to Molecular Scale Smart Heterogeneous Cloud (SHCloud): The case of Graph Mining as a Service (GMaaS) LIQUIDx-An Elasticity Framework for High Performance Computing Clouds TTI RTM on Shaheen



linization project with colleagues of the WDRC

Martin Mai

Kirk Jordan

to produce a hydrophobic membrane to cover

Professor Nunes’ is one of ten new KAUST research projects (see

large areas of very concentrated saltwater. The

table on left) that were launched in January 2012 jointly with IBM

Shuyu Sun

Kirk Jordan

membrane is similar to the Gore-Tex coats worn

under the Office of Competitive Research Funds (OCRF). The oppor-

by walkers, which is waterproof, but allows

tunity aims to support KAUST faculty to engage with counterparts

sweat to evaporate through its pores. As the sun

from one of the University’s key industrial partners while building

heats the brine, water would evaporate through

on KAUST’s three-year partnership with IBM.

Panos Kalnis Xiangliang Zhang Gerard Schuster

Hani Jamjoom Hani Jamjoom

the membrane, to be condensed and collected

These projects facilitate the sharing of resources toward a common

Michael Perrone

using minimal energy. Prof. Nunes sees this as

research goal, fostering the exchange of knowledge and expertise

an adjunct process to reverse osmosis.

between IBM and KAUST faculty, research scientists, students and post-

Real-Time Visualization of Interfacial Reactions in Electrochemical Energy Storage Devices Using Liquid Cell

“It is very special to live and teach at a multicultural university like KAUST. Particularly attractive is to be able to explore interdisciplinarity of research and to develop materials, which could contribute to solving issues related to water scarcity and reuse,” Prof. Nunes told The Beacon.

Prof. Nunes is delighted to have begun work

doctoral fellows. The opportunity will help build sustained engagement

Husam Alshareef

Frances Ross

on a new KAUST research project funded jointly

through critical access to complementary research resources, including

Simulation of Pore Formation in Membranes by Self-Assembly

Suzana Nunes

Jed Pitera

by IBM, which focuses on fundamental research

laboratory facilities and training programs, fostering growth in spe-

Advanced Spintronics Nanomaterials and Devices

Aurelien Manchon

Stuart Parkin

around molecular modeling where they have

cific fields, to support and strengthen ongoing industrial-university

particular expertise. This is just one of several

partnerships in computational and non-computational applications.


Novel Silicon-based SoP Incorporating RFICs with Integrated Antennas for mmWave and THz Applications Sensing and modeling complex surfaces and subsurfaces of nanoscale systems

Atif Shamim Udo Schwingenschlogl

Duixian Liu Barbara Jones

ongoing external collaborations; others include Cornell University and Texas A&M.

The projects are made possible through a combination of funding from KAUST OCRF, KAUST faculty and IBM PIs. 


March 2012

The Beacon




STUDENTS at The KAUST School celebrated the diversity of the community for a whole week in February. With over 90 nationalities represented in the school, the children enjoyed traditional dances, food and music, studied each other’s cultural background, and wore their national dress and colors. The week culminated with a parade where the young KAUSTians along with other community members waved their flags under

MASTER’S student Luis Luján took this photo at Discovery

except for the golf course that is irri-

Square, awed by the early morning rays of sunlight calling

gated by treated wastewater.

attention to the sometimes unseen work that keeps our campus as beautiful as it is.

Would you like to see your photo


published in The Beacon? Every month we

About 75 percent of the production of KAUST’s desalination

carefully review submissions and choose the one that best

plant is used for irrigation while the rest goes to domestic use.

captures our attention. Keep them coming! Email your photos to

The plants “drink” the same water as we community members, 

the Saudi sun. The children’s natural attitude towards international mindedness was put into words by student speaker Abril Rivera, age 11: “I was born in the USA. My mom is Mexican. And my dad is Indonesian. My friends are from Egypt, Indonesia, Bangladesh, France, Pakistan, and on and on. I appreciate food from all parts of the world and I like to try new things. I respect all cultures, traditions and beliefs, because I am open-minded.” 

of years to biodegrade with some end-

The sea water reverse osmosis allows 40

states Professor Gary Amy, Director of

ing up in the sea where they kill marine

percent of the water to be used while the

the Water Desalination and Reuse Center.

animals and sea birds. The group stresses

remaining 60 percent is returned to the

According to him, there is no need for

the importance of regular and detailed

sea. With the less salty brackish water the

people at KAUST to purchase water bot-

public water reports of KAUST tap water.

recovery percentage is as high as 90.

tles from the store as the quality of the

“People want to be reassured of the qual-

The average domestic water use in the

tap water is the same. In fact, he thinks

ity of the water,” says Rachel Weitzman

KAUST community is about 190 liters (50

water bottles should be surcharged or

Yeh, the founder and president of the group.

gallons) per person per day. That includes

even banned as they already are in the

Some have noticed an occasional hint of

water used for bathing, washing, cook-

city of San Francisco and on numer-

chlorine in the water and others wonder if

ing, and drinking. It is a little less than the

ous university campuses, particularly in

the water quality is the same in all parts of

municipal water withdrawal per capita in

North America.

the distribution system.

Saudi Arabia in general.

“I drink the water right out of the faucet” - Professor Gary Amy The Green Group at KAUST, a selfdirected group promoting eco-friendly

“The six parameters monitored in the

Saudi Arabia is among the top consum-

potable water network are quite close to

ing countries of bottled water, with 95 liters

the plant’s output product,” states chem-

per person per year used in 2010. The Green

ical engineer Paterno Victorino from

Group encourages people to use their own

KAUST Utilities. “Chlorine is checked

reusable bottles and mugs. 

every two hours and adjusted if needed.”

living, feels the same way. According

The tap water comes from KAUST’s very

to them, 60,000 single-use disposable

own desalination plant situated in the

drinking bottles are used monthly at the

Central Utility Plants area. Piped in from

Campus Diner alone. In addition to the

about 1.5 km offshore, the raw sea water

bottle manufacturing process requiring a

goes through two purification stages before

lot of oil, the plastic items take thousands

being desalinated using reverse osmosis.

See the documentary film Tapped on Monday, March 26 at 7 p.m. at the Student Center. Free admission! Check out the latest Health and Safety bulletin about drinking water quality:

ISLAM AND THE BLESSINGS OF WATER THE importance of water and its sources has held a special place in

Recycled wastewater fulfills all the requirements of tahoor water as

Islam since the faith’s founding over 14 centuries ago, and there are

confirned by religious scholars over 30 years ago. It is not accept-

a number of references to it in the Holy Quran as well in the tradi-

able for a Muslim to misuse water in any way. The Prophet exhorts

tions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.

Muslims “Don’t waste water even if you are standing on the bank

Water is regarded as a basic element in Islamic Shari’ah, especially

of a running river”. This call not to squander this resource, crucial

where it relates to purity, cleanliness and ablution; water is tanta-

for nourishing all living things, is part of the Islamic teaching aimed

mount to a life-giving artery, which must therefore be conserved.

at sustainability. 



“I drink the water right out of the faucet,”

‫املنارة‬ ‫‪King Abdullah University of Science and Technology‬‬

‫‪at Thuwal, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia‬‬

‫‪March 2012 / Rabi Al-Thani 1433‬‬ ‫‪Volume 2, Issue No.7‬‬


‫تاريخ تطور إنتاج‬ ‫املياه يف اململكة‬

‫أمن املياه‪:‬‬

‫جامعة امللك عبداهلل للعلوم‬ ‫والتقنية تدعم املسعى‬ ‫باحللول املستدامة‬

‫فريق األحباث يف جامعة امللك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية مع خارطة العامل موضح ًة البلد األم لكل منهم‪.‬‬

‫مبا أن املاء ضرورة من ضرورات‬ ‫احلياة‪ ،‬فان مركز حتلية املياه وإعادة‬ ‫إستخدامها التابع للجامعة ال يكمن‬ ‫نشاطه فقط يف حتلية املياه وإعادة‬ ‫استخدامها ولكن يسهم أيضا يف املجاالت‬ ‫احليوية الثالثة األخرى وهي الطاقة والغذاء‬ ‫والبيئة‪.‬‬ ‫إن إنتاج املياه بإستخدام أساليب التحلية اليت تستهلك الطاقة بشراهة هي‬ ‫عملية باهظة التكاليف إذ تصل تكلفة حتلية املرت املكعب من مياه البحر‬ ‫إىل دوالر أمريكي واحد وتستهلك طاقة تتجاوز تكلفة اإلنتاج من مشاريع‬ ‫املياه اجلوفية بأكثر من مثانية أضعاف‪.‬‬ ‫والطبقات احلاملة للمياه اجلوفية اليت توفر حاليا ‪ 80٪‬من إمدادات املياه‬ ‫يف اململكة مت إستهالكها بسرعة جراء النمو املضطرد يف عدد السكان‬ ‫والتوسع احلضري‪ .‬ويتوقع أن تستمر ملدة ‪ 20-15‬عاما‪ .‬وبالتزامن مع أحباث‬ ‫املركز الشاملة حول عمليات التحلية منخفضة التكاليف واملقبولة بيئيا‪،‬‬ ‫يركز مدير املركز قاري آمي على تقنيات املياه املبتكرة املتنوعة ملساندة‬ ‫اإلدارة املتكاملة واملستدامة للثروات املائية يف اململكة باسلوب يتناغم‬ ‫مع رؤية اجلامعة‪.‬‬ ‫وقد نشرت مطبوعة “املنارة” مؤخرا العديد من املقاالت اليت تطرقت إىل‬

‫موضوع حتلية املياه وستربز يف هذا العدد اخلاص كيفية املحافظة على املياه‪.‬‬ ‫واملواضيع املنشورة حول تقنية األغشية (اليت تعترب جزءا جوهريا يف العديد من‬ ‫العمليات) والزراعة الصحراوية وعمل النماذج املناخية واهلندسة اجليولوجية‬ ‫تعكس األسلوب متعدد التخصصات الذي تنتهجه اجلامعة يف أحباثها‪.‬‬ ‫ويؤكد الربوفسور آمي بأنه يتعذر تطبيق التقنيات والسياسات واإلسرتاتيجيات‬ ‫الفعالة من أجل حتقيق األهداف املطلوبة لسد الطلب املستقبلي على املياه‬ ‫يف اململكة بدون تبين نظرة شاملة‪.‬‬ ‫والآلفت لإلنتباه أن ‪ 90٪‬من مياه الصرف الصحي ال تستخدم يف هذه األرض‬ ‫الصحراوية على الرغم من أن كثري من اجلهات تسعى اىل التوسع يف إعادة‬ ‫إستخدام املياه حبلول العام ‪.2025‬‬ ‫ويرى الربوفسور آمي ضرورة إدارة مياه الصرف الصحي حمليا يف منشآت‬ ‫وحمطات املعاجلة يف املناطق القروية واملدن الصغرية واستخدامها لتلبية‬ ‫إحتياجات خمتلف القطاعات‪.‬‬ ‫ومع إدراكها التام ملسؤليتها جتاه منطقة الشرق األوسط‪ ،‬ستشارك اجلامعة‬ ‫يف ورشة عمل يف مدينة مسقط‪ ،‬سلطنة عمان‪ ،‬بتاريخ ‪ 12‬أبريل حتت عنوان‬ ‫“دفع إستخدام املاء يف منطقة دول جملس التعاون اخلليجي إىل األمام”‪.‬‬ ‫وستتوج ورشة العمل بنقاش حول التشكيل املحتمل‍لفريق يتوىل البحث يف‬ ‫إعادة إستخدام املياه‪o .‬‬

‫دراسات املناخ تساعد على‬ ‫التنبؤ بالكوارث الطبيعية‬ ‫يرى الربوفسور جيورجي ستينجيكوف‪ ،‬أستاذ كرسي برنامج علوم األرض يف قسم علوم‬ ‫الفيزياء واهلندسة يف جامعة امللك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية ‪ ،‬يف حديث لصحيفة “املنارة” أن‬ ‫العمل مع العامل احلقيقي يف غاية الصعوبة ولذلك يتم تفضيل العمل مع النماذج‪.‬‬ ‫وقال بأن إرتفاع جبال احلجاز تسمح للتيارات اهلوائية الدافئة واليت تأيت من البحر األمحر سيؤدي‬ ‫بصورة شبه مؤكدة إىل سقوط األمطار غري أن ذلك الوضع سيؤدي لألسف‪ ،‬وبسبب طريقة تصريف املياه‬ ‫عرب الوديان‪ ،‬إىل حدوث فيضانات وسيول جارفة يف األراضي املنخفضة أما يف حالة إنفجار بركان حبجم‬ ‫بركان بيناتوبو فهو يتوقع أن درجات احلرارة يف املنطقة ستنخفض بنحو درجتني إىل ثالث درجات ألن‬ ‫اجلزيئيات الدقيقة الناجتة يف الغالف اجلوي على إرتفاع ‪ 25‬كيلومرتا فوق سطح األرض ستعكس أشعة الشمس كما‬ ‫حدث عند إنفجار الربكان يف عام ‪ .1991‬ويرى الربوفيسور ستينجيكوف ان النماذج توضح أن اإلشعاع الشمسي اهلابط قد يؤدي إىل رفع دفء‬ ‫البحر األمحر بعدة درجات مع التأثري اهلائل الناتج على األنظمة البيئية‪.‬‬

‫قبل العام ‪ ،1932‬كان السكان البدو يف رقعة األرض‬ ‫اليت أصبحت فيما بعد اململكة العربية السعودية‬ ‫يتنقلون حبثا عن الطعام واملاء‪.‬‬ ‫تظل اململكة واحدة من أكثر دول العامل جفافا‬ ‫فيما تضاعف عدد سكانها ومن يتوقع ان يصل إىل ‪40‬‬ ‫مليون يف العام ‪ 2025‬وإىل ‪ 60‬مليون يف العام ‪.2060‬‬ ‫واعتماد اململكة على حتلية املياه يظهر بوضوح‬ ‫تام يف طاقة إنتاجها اإلستثنائية البالغة ‪ 30٪‬من‬ ‫اإلنتاج العاملي علما أنها باهضة التكاليف ‪.‬‬ ‫والالفت للنظر أن املياه غري املحالة تشكل ‪6٪‬‬ ‫فقط من إمجاىل إستهالك املياه السنوي و‪80٪‬‬ ‫منها يأيت من مكامن جوفية و‪ 14٪‬من موارد مائية‬ ‫متجددة مثل املياه السطحية ‪.‬ومعظم األمطار‬ ‫السنوية تقريبا تهطل يف جبال املنطقة اجلنوبية وتقل‬ ‫يف باقي املناطق ‪ .‬ويف الوقت احلاضر ال يتم إعادة‬ ‫إستخدام سوى ‪ 9٪‬من مياه الصرف الصحي البلدية‬ ‫ومن املتوقع أن يرتفع هذا املعدل بنحو ‪800٪‬‬ ‫عندم تصبح اململكة ثالث أكرب دولة يف سوق إعادة‬ ‫إستخدام املياه بعد الصني والواليات املتحدة حبلول‬ ‫العام ‪.2016‬‬ ‫وبسبب النمو املضطرد يف عدد السكان إرتفعت‬ ‫مياه الصرف الصحي إىل ‪ 6.67‬مليون مرت مكعب‪ ،‬يف‬ ‫اليوم يتم معاجلة ‪ 33٪‬منها ويتم إعادة إستخدام‬ ‫‪ 21٪‬من تلك املياه املعاجلة مما جيعل فرصة إعادة‬ ‫اإلستخدام يف املستقبل هائلة‪ .‬ويف العام ‪،2008‬‬ ‫أنشئت شركة املياه الوطنية مبوجب مرسوم ملكي‬ ‫بهدف إعادة هيكلة خدمات مياه الشرب والصرف‬ ‫الصحي وفقا للمقاييس العاملية من خالل شراكات مع‬ ‫القطاع اخلاص على مستوى العامل‪.‬‬ ‫ومن خالل استخدام املنشآت اليت تعمل آليا مع‬ ‫املفاعالت احليوية اليت تستخدم األنسجة اهلجني‪،‬‬ ‫ميكن حتسني ورفع جودة املاء املنتج‪.‬‬ ‫وتشمل مرافق التخزين وعمليات املعاجلة البديلة‬ ‫نظم إعادة تعبئة املياه املعاجلة واستخالصها اليت‬ ‫ميكن دجمها يف األودية يف أو بالقرب من املدن‪ ،‬ففي‬ ‫مدينة الرياض جيرى إستخدام ‪ 450000‬مرت مكعب‬ ‫من مياه الصرف الصحي املعاجلة يوميا يف مشروع‬ ‫األرض الرطبة يف وادي حنيفة الذي حصل على اجلائزة‬ ‫الدولية للعمارة اإلسالمية‪ .‬ويستخدم الوادي األخضر‬ ‫الناتج عن إستخدام املياه املعاجلة ألغراض الرتفيه‪،‬‬ ‫مبا يف ذلك صيد األمساك والرحالت‪ ،‬كما جيتذب‬ ‫املشروع الطيور املهاجرة وزيادة إنتاج املزارعني‬ ‫املحليني من إنتاج التمور‪ .‬وإضافة إىل ذلك تساعد‬ ‫تلك املياه يف ري احلدائق العامة‪o .‬‬

‫ويتعاون الربوفسور ستينجيكوف وفريقه الدوىل مع بقية األقسام باجلامعة وأقسام‬ ‫دولية ذات عالقة لتقصي األسباب العضوية للمناخ املحلي واملساعدة يف التنبؤ‬ ‫بالتغيريات املناخية املستقبلية من أجل إنتاج مناذج عالية الوضوح للمناخ حيث‬ ‫يأمل الفريق يف أن يتمكن من التنبؤ باألوضاع املناخية حىت العام ‪.2050‬‬ ‫والربوفسور ستينجيكوف يتمىن يف حتقيق إمكانية إحتواء املياه وإستخدامها من‬ ‫خالل التنبؤ األكثر دقة مبعدالت هطول األمطار األكثر شدة‪ ،‬ويرى أن مشاكل موارد‬ ‫املياه يف اململكة ال تتعلق فقط مبعدالت سقوط األمطار ولكن أيضا بوجود ظواهر‬ ‫جيولوجية تتصل بنضوب املياه اجلوفية‪.‬‬ ‫ويقول أن معدالت العواصف الرملية يف إرتفاع متواصل مما يؤثر على الرؤية وصحة‬ ‫البشر حيث يوجد الغبار يف الغالف اجلوي على إرتفاع يصل إىل ‪ 5‬كيلومرتات فوق‬ ‫اململكة وذلك ال يعد سيئا بالضرورة إذ أنه من أجل سقوط األمطار يلزم كمية أقل‬ ‫بكثري من التشبع يف اجلو املغرب مما هو يف اجلو النظيف ليساعد على تشكل السحب‪.‬‬ ‫ويؤكد الربوفسور ستينجيكوف أن جامعة امللك عبداهلل هي املكان األمثل للعمل‬ ‫بتشجيعها وتسهيلها لألحباث متعددة التخصصات وميكن فيها اجلمع بني عدة علوم‬ ‫إلجناح هذا املجهود‪o .‬‬

‫عادل بشناق ووليد عبدالرمحن يتحدثان عن تعاون شركتيهما مع‬ ‫مركز أحباث حتلية املياه‬

‫جامعة امللك عبداهلل‬ ‫جسر جمتمع اململكة‬ ‫إلنتاج املعرفة بدل‬ ‫استهالكها‬ ‫أبدى الدكتور عادل بشناق‪ ،‬رئيس جمموعة وأكادميية‬ ‫البشناق‪ ،‬سعادته الغامرة بربامج جامعة امللك عبداهلل‬ ‫للعلوم والتقنية ومبادراتها الرائدة داعيا اهلل أن يوفق‬ ‫خرجييها والعاملني فيها والقائمني عليها لتظل اجلسر‬ ‫العريض لعبور جمتمع اململكة إىل اقتصاد املعرفة‬ ‫واملساهمة الفاعلة ىف إعمار االرض وحتقيق االزدهار‬ ‫والتنمية املستدامة‪ .‬جاء ذلك يف لقاء أجرته معه‬ ‫“املنارة” وحتدث فيه عن التعاون بني جمموعة البشناق‬ ‫وبني اجلامعة‬

‫اإلبداع املفتوح‬ ‫وقال بشناق إن التعاون القائم حاليًا بني الطرفني يركز‬ ‫ال الربط بني اجلامعة واجلهات‬ ‫على ثالثة حماور هي‪ :‬أو ً‬ ‫املعنية لتيسسر وتسريع آليات وبرامج إعادة استخدام‬ ‫املياه املعاجلة حسب توصيات الدراسة الىت قامت‬ ‫بها اجلامعة ىف عام ‪ 2011‬ىف هذا الصدد‪ ،‬مث مساعدة‬ ‫اجلامعة لتأسيس معهد أمن املاء والغذاء ليكون مركزا‬ ‫عامليا للدراسات االسرتاتيجية بشان استدامة املصادر‬ ‫الطبيعية للمياه وإنتاج الغذاء الالزم حمليا بالتعاون‬ ‫مع د‪ .‬وليد عبدالرمحن‪ ،‬والبدء ببناء مزرعة جتارب‬ ‫منوذجية ىف اجلامعة باستخدام املياه املاحلة وطاقة‬ ‫الرياح والشمس بالتعاون مع املهندس نصار مدهون‪،‬‬ ‫وثالث هذه املحاور هو تيسري التواصل والعمل اجلماعى‬ ‫مع رجال األعمال ومراكز البحوث املهتمني بتقنيات‬ ‫املياه والطاقة املتجددة والزراعة الصحراوية من خالل‬ ‫برامج مشرتكة عرب املنتدى السعودى للمياه والطاقة‬ ‫الذى يعقد سنويا ومبادرة مؤسسة التحلية لتوحيد‬ ‫اجلهود البحثية وغري ذلك‪.‬‬ ‫وأكد د‪.‬بشناق أن هناك أيضا اهتمامًا مشرتكًا بإنشاء‬ ‫بوابات الكرتونية للمعرفة واإلبداع ىف جماالت متخصصة‬ ‫مثل حتلية املياه وتقنيات املاء والغذاء لتيسري التعاون‬ ‫واإلبداع وطلب العلم عن بعد وهذا اليزال ىف مرحلة‬ ‫التاسيس‪.‬‬ ‫ووصف بشناق جتربة مركز أحباث حتلية املياه يف‬ ‫جامعة امللك عبداهلل بأنها جتربة جيدة وجهود حثيثة‬ ‫لربط املركز مع مراكز البحوث العاملية املماثلة‬ ‫ومراكز البحوث السعودية والتواجد الفعال ىف املحافل‬ ‫العاملية‪.‬‬

‫السياسات الصحيحة‬ ‫ويرى بشناق بأن وضع املياه يف العامل من أصعب‬ ‫األوضاع اليت متس حياة البشر ألن احللول والسياسات‬ ‫احلالية غري مستدامة وتركز على زيادة اإلنتاج باستخدام‬ ‫مصادر الوقود التقليدية ىف حمطات التحلية وليس على‬ ‫ماجيب أن يكون من إدارة الطلب على املياه‪.‬‬ ‫ويصف بأن احباث حتديات التحلية باالهداف الوطنية‬ ‫لتنقل اململكة إىل الريادة العاملية ىف إنتاج املعرفة ىف‬ ‫هذا املجال االسرتاتيجى ألمن ورفاهية املجتمع وليس‬ ‫فقط ىف اإلستهالك وأرجو أن حتمل مؤسسة التحلية‬ ‫الريادة الوطنية ىف هذا الصدد‪.‬‬

‫الدكتور عادل بشناق‬

‫حل املشاكل الصناعية‬ ‫من جهته أشاد الربوفيسور وليد عبدالرمحن رئيس‬ ‫جملس إدارة شركة (مياهنا) بالتعاون القائم بني جامعة‬ ‫امللك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية والقطاع اخلاص بصورة‬ ‫عامة والذي يتمثل يف برنامج التعاون الصناعي الذي يعىن‬ ‫باألنشطة الصناعية العلمية يف اجلامعة‪.‬‬ ‫وقال الربوفيسور وليد إن شركته تستفيد من اإلمكانيات‬ ‫البحثية الكبرية للجامعة واليت تساعد يف تطوير معاجلة‬ ‫الصرف الصحي وصناعة مياه التحلية وإعادة استخدامها‬ ‫من خالل (مركز أحباث التحلية وإعادة استخدام املياه )‬ ‫الذي يضم كفاءات بشرية متميزة وعلماء دوليني يتمتعون‬ ‫خبربات عالية وهلم مكانتهم فضال عن املعدات التقنية‬ ‫احلديثة املستخدمة يف معامل املركز‪.‬‬ ‫وأوضح أن العضوية اليت تتمتع بها شركة (مياهنا)‬ ‫يف برنامج التعاون الصناعي مع جامعة امللك عبداهلل‬ ‫تساعد إىل جانب اخلربات املتوفرة يف حل املشاكل‬ ‫الصناعية اليت قد تعيق إجناز مشاريع املياه‪ ،‬وكذلك‬ ‫اإلسهام يف تدريب الطالب عمليا كي يكون هناك‬ ‫خمرجات ذات كفاءات عالية ومتمكنة من الباحثني‪.‬‬ ‫وشدد الربوفيسور وليد عبدالرمحن على الدور الريادي‬ ‫والقيادي جلامعة امللك عبداهلل على مستوى العامل‬ ‫ملا تقوم به من أحباث ودراسات بتقنيات متطورة جدًا‬ ‫يف جمال معاجلة املياه يف جو أكادميي مثايل وفريد من‬ ‫اطلع على عدد من األحباث‪ ،‬ومتفائل‬ ‫نوعه‪ ،‬مؤكدًا أنه ّ‬ ‫بنتائجها األولية املطمئنة واليت سوف يكون هلا األثر‬ ‫الكبري ملواجهة حتديات معاجلة مشكالت املياه يف‬ ‫اململكة واخلليج ويف مجيع املناطق اجلافة يف العامل‬ ‫كذلك‪ ،‬مبا سيساعد بفعالية على خفض نفقات معاجلة‬ ‫مياه الصرف الصحي وزيادة كفاءة االستخدام‪.‬‬

‫مشكلة األمن الغذائي يف األراضي اجلافة‬ ‫يشكل األمن الغذائي يف العامل الذي يعاين من زيادة يف عدد السكان وندرة متنامية يف املوارد مصدرا‬ ‫رئيسيا للقلق‪.‬‬ ‫وتتضافر جهود العلوم املختلفة لصد التحدي الثنائي املتمثل يف زيادة االنتاج الزراعي والتطوير‬ ‫املزدوج يف البيئات الصحراوية‪ .‬وجتد جامعة امللك عبداهلل للعلوم والتقنية نفسها يف وضع يتيح هلا أن‬ ‫تكون العبا رئيسيا يف جمال أحباث املاء والغذاء‪.‬‬ ‫وبفضل إستثماراتها الضخمة يف تقنيات الطاقة البديلة واألغشية والتحلية والبيولوجيا احلاسوبية‬ ‫وفيزيولوجية إجهاد النبات‪ ،‬تقوم اجلامعة بتسخري مواردها متعددة التخصصات لتلبية ليس فقط حاجة‬ ‫اململكة بل إحتياجات املجتمع العاملي ككل يف عامل تأخذ فيه درجات احلرارة واجلفاف باإلرتفاع‬ ‫مقرونة باإلزدحام بالسكان‪.‬‬ ‫وهناك عدة طرق ملعاجلة صعوبات الزراعة الصحراوية‪ ،‬أحدها األرض اليت ال تعترب صاحلة للزراعة‬ ‫ميكن إستصالحها لتصبح منتجة من خالل نشر أساليب التحلية منخفضة التكاليف ونظم الري احلكيمة‪،‬‬ ‫والطريقة األخرى هي إن املحاصيل اليت تنمو يف تلك األرض ميكن تهيئتها حبيث تتحمل املياه املاحلة‬ ‫الناجتة عن عملية التحلية اجلزئية‪.‬‬ ‫وسعيا وراء اإلستفادة من تهيئة بعض النباتات يقوم الباحثون يف جامعة امللك عبد اهلل بتطوير سلسلة‬ ‫من األدوات الدقيقة والفعالة لتحوير اجلينات اجلزيئية تناسب كال من املحاصيل احلالية واملحاصيل‬ ‫أليفة امللح باإلضافة إىل البحث يف العديد من األفكار األخرى لدعم النباتات اليت تتحمل امللوحة من أجل‬ ‫احلصول على اإلنتاج األمثل واملستدام للغذاء‪o .‬‬

‫األراضي الرطبة املشيدة وإعادة شحن تعبيئة‬ ‫األحواض اجلوفية للطالب محادات‬ ‫يتناول طالب الدكتوراه األردين أمحد محادات يف أحباثه مفهومي “األرض الرطبة املشيدة” و”إعادة‬ ‫شحن وتعبئة األحواض اجلوفية”‪.‬‬ ‫واألراضي املشيدة هي يف الواقع نظام بيئي صغري يتألف من أحواض ضحلة (عمقها مرت واحد) ويتم‬ ‫حتديد حجمها تبعا إلحتياجات األشخاص الذين ختدمهم‪ .‬وميكن تعبئة هذه األحواض باحلصى والرتبة‬ ‫لزيادة مساحتها السطحية بهدف املساعدة يف منو الكائنات الدقيقة الضرورية إلزالة خمتلف امللوثات‬ ‫وتزرع حواف األحواض بالنباتات املناسبة أونباتات طافية بهدف التحسني األمثل لعملية املعاجلة‪.‬‬ ‫وتسمح األحواض بتسرب املياه وتغلغلها إىل داخل الرتبة املحيطة‪ .‬وهذه النظم اليت تتميز باخنفاض‬ ‫حاجتها من الطاقة وخلوها من املواد الكيميائية ملعاجلة مياه الصرف الصحي إضافة إىل قدرتها التنافسية‬ ‫وطبيعتها املستدامة‪ .‬وفضال عن ذلك تسهل إدارتها كما أنها حتد من املخاطر البيئية الناجتة عن‬ ‫التسرب يف الطرق األكثر تقليدية‪.‬‬ ‫ويشعر محادات بالفخر الشديد الختياره لتقدمي ورقة تتناول أحباثه يف املؤمتر الدويل التاسع لألراضي‬ ‫الرطبة املشيدة الذي سيعقد يف الواليات املتحدة يف شهر يونيو القادم‪o .‬‬

‫األعمال الفنية يف‬ ‫جدة تسرد تاريخ إنتاج‬ ‫املياه يف اململكة‬

‫األمن املائي والغذائي‬ ‫وأثىن الربوفيسور وليد عبدالرمحن على إدارة اجلامعة‬ ‫وتعاونها املرن حيث سبق وأن زار جامعة امللك عبداهلل‬ ‫عدة مرات والتقى خالل تلك الزيارات باملسؤولني‬ ‫والباحثني يف مركز أحباث حتلية وإعادة إستخدام املياه‪،‬‬ ‫وألقى حماضرة علمية عن األمن املائي يف اململكة وتناول‬ ‫فيها حتديات املياه من النواحي التقنية والعلمية وما الذي‬ ‫ممكن أن يواجهنا يف اململكة ومنطقة اخلليج‪.‬‬ ‫كما تطرق إىل التعاون القائم مع جامعة امللك عبداهلل‬ ‫بشأن معاجلة مياه الصرف الصحي وإعادة استخدامها يف‬ ‫حمافظة جدة إضافة إىل اإلجتماعات اليت متت من أجل‬ ‫اإلسهام يف الدور الذي يقوم به مركز ( الزراعة امللحية )‬ ‫باجلامعة على أساس أن تتم مساعدتهم يف التعرف على ما‬ ‫هو موجود من حبوث ودراسات يف خمتلف مناطق اململكة‬ ‫يف هذا اخلصوص ‪.‬‬ ‫ولفت الربوفيسور وليد النظر إىل أن جامعة امللك‬ ‫عبداهلل أسست جللب اخلربات العاملية والتواصل مع‬ ‫العلماء يف خمتلف دول العامل لتكون نقطة انطالق‬ ‫وتواصل مع العامل‪ ،‬والعمل على وضع احللول للتحدي‬ ‫املائي والغذائي وأن التحدي الذي يواجهنا يزداد مع‬ ‫ازدياد عدد السكان خالل السنوات القادمة‪ ،‬ولذلك ال‬ ‫بد من وضع الربامج العلمية ذات احللول الفاعلة لتحقيق‬ ‫األمن املائي والغذائي لألجيال القادمة‪o .‬‬

‫تشتهر مدينة جدة بوفرة املجسمات واملنحوتات على إمتداد طرقها وشوارعها‬ ‫وال سيما يف امليادين املنظمة حلركة السيارات‪ .‬ولكن هل كنت تعرف أن بعض هذه‬ ‫املجسمات‪ ،‬مثل مكثفات املاء املعدنية الصدئة يف شارع التحلية‪ ،‬تعكس التاريخ‬ ‫الفعلي لتطور حتلية املياه يف اململكة؟‬ ‫تعترب عملية التكثيف هذه أول تقنية يف جدة ملعاجلة املياه املاحلة‪ .‬ومت تأمني‬ ‫جهاز تكثيف مياه الشرب لسكان املدينة من بريطانيا خالل النصف األول من‬ ‫القرن العشرين‪ .‬وكان صوت هذه املراجل املصنوعة يف النكشري مصدر إزعاج للناس‬ ‫حيث مت إستبدال تلك التقنية خبط أنابيب وادي فاطمة‪.‬‬ ‫وقد مت تصنيع املجسمات من احلديد اخلردة املأخوذ من الوحدات األصلية وقام‬ ‫بعملها الفنان األسباين خوليو الفوينت وهو أيضا الفنان وراء جمسمات” فوانيس‬ ‫املسجد اململوكي” و” قارب اآلية القرآنية” و” الكرة األرضية املضاءة” وغريها‬ ‫من األعمال الفنية يف مجيع أحناء مدينة جدة‪.‬‬ ‫واملظاهر األخرى املتعلقة بتقنية املياه تشمل جمسم خطوط أنابيب التحلية‬ ‫من عمل الفنان مصطفى سنبل الذي إستوحاه من املسجد الكبري يف مسارا يف‬ ‫العراق‪ .‬وتوجد اليوم أكثر من ثالثني منشأة لتحلية املياه يف اململكة‪o .‬‬

March 2012  

The Beacon Newspaper