Saudi Arabia Honors Winners Of Global Prize For Innovation In Desalination American Syed Shah wins grand prize as 105 innovators from 27 countries compete to win prizes worth US$10 million

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The Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture, H.E. Eng. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, honored on Saturday the winners of the Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination, who were awarded a total of US$10 million in prizes.

The Minister presented the grand prize to Syed Shah from Aqua Membranes, USA, for the project titled "Changing Reverse Osmosis Through 3D Printed Spacers." Besides Shah, five other projects were also awarded prizes- these included Arian Edalat (Active Membranes, USA) for the project titled "Next Generation of Desalination Membranes," Quantum Wei (Harmony Desalting, USA) for the project titled "Batch Reverse Osmosis," Hany Said (Mega Vessels Water Inc., USA) for the "Mega Vessel" initiative, Nick Heineman (Desolenator, the Netherlands) for the project "Desolenator: Transforming the Industry through a World-First Solar-Thermal Desalination Solution that works at Scale," and Mohamed Anwar (Schneider Electric, France) for the "Desalination Plant Digital Twin Powered by Dynamic Process Simulation" project.

The award ceremony was held in the presence of the Governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), H.E. Eng. Abdullah bin Ibrahim Al-Abdul Karim, and a number of senior officials and other distinguished dignitaries. It was held on the sidelines of the second edition of the Innovation in the Desalination Industry Conference, which is taking place at the Jeddah Ritz-Carlton Hotel until October 3, 2023. All six winners made their presentations before the announcement of the grand prize; special prizes were also distributed on the occasion.

The winners were chosen from among a total of 105 competitors, who represented 27 countries. They included innovators from research centers and universities, as well as entrepreneurs and employees of companies operating in the water desalination industry from around the world.

At the event, Al-Fadhli expressed gratitude to Saudi leadership's unwavering support for the Kingdom's water sector. He also congratulated the winners for submitting projects that were recognized for their innovation, quality, and excellence. With the number of submissions and the international reach of the competition, Al-Fadhli declared the first edition of the global prize a resounding success.

Related: Three Current Trends To Watch In Saudi Arabia's Startup Ecosystem

Image courtesy the Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination.

In addition, the Minister said that the desalination awards was initiated by Saudi Arabia as part of its comprehensive water strategy that seeks to foster innovation, enhance policies and legislation, as well as adopt international best practices in the water sector. Al-Fadhli also stressed the pioneering role of Saudi Arabia in addressing water issues regionally and internationally. In this regard, he praised the announcement of Saudi Arabia Crown Prince and Prime Minister HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman to establish a global water organization, to be based in Riyadh, which will contribute to strengthening cooperation among countries and stimulating a collective response to global water challenges.

For his part, SWCC Governor Eng. Al-Abdul Karim congratulated the participants and winners of the awards and expressed support for the work of the Ministry of Environment, Agriculture and Water to enhance and stimulate innovation in the desalination industry. As the world's largest producer of desalinated water generating 11.5 million cubic meters per day, Al-Abdul Karim emphasized the significant role Saudi Arabia plays in helping address global water challenges, in collaboration with other countries, as well as in contributing to the overall growth and development of the global water sector.

According to Al-Abdul Karim, this can be done through exchanging and enhancing technical experiences, innovation, as well as research and development. In addition, this can be facilitated by enabling and financing priority quality projects in an effort to ensure the sustainability of water resources and ensure equitable access to all. As such, Al-Abdul Karim praised the award-winning innovations at this event as an achievement that benefits humanity and represents the vision of SWCC to be part of the Kingdom's ambitious move to leverage technology of the highest international standards to develop the water sector.

The Global Prize for Innovation in Desalination received project submissions that focused on topics related to environmental aspects of the desalination industry, opportunities for reducing energy consumption, reducing capital and operational costs, using new technology, opportunities for transformation in business models, and future analytical studies related to innovation.

Related: A Transformational Leap: Looking Back On The Last Decade Of Saudi Arabia's Startup Ecosystem

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