The Future of Desalination International Conference in Riyadh hosted, during its first day of events on Monday, an opening plenary session on innovation and entrepreneurship to discuss the ever-growing development of desalination technologies and the future aspects of innovation in this thriving industry.
The session was chaired by Peter Terium, the CEO of ENOWA, Neom, Saudi Arabia, who led the discussion among some world-class professors and innovation leaders in the desalination industry.
During the session, Terium and the other distinguished speakers emphasized on the need to see a disruptive change on how to accelerate the pace of innovation in desalination in order to further advance the rapid development of the industry.
Considering the city of Neom as a clean start and a fertile environment for desalination innovations, Terium mentioned that "Neom is the land of the future that is powered by ideas and is there to exceed boundaries. It is also where great minds and best talents exist in an inspirational world".
Describing the Neom environment as quite a challenge, Terium emphasized on the delicacy of the environment nature of the red sea and the need to mitigate and adapt to the impact of climate change. He also mentioned the importance of promoting new ways of preventing environmental degradation, which are solutions that can be offered later to the world once achieved in Neom.
As for the desalination impact in Neom, Terium explained how they aim to absolutely zero brine discharge and that the only way forward is solving the brine puzzle and how to profit from it to further contribute to lowering the costs of desalination.
The session included some invaluable discussions about how to harness innovations to make profits through entrepreneurship.
Dr. Kevin Cullen, VP for Innovation at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), explained that more brilliant ideas always come from deeper search for more valuable resources.
Confirming the value of ideas, Dr. Kamal Youcef-Toumi, Engineering Professor at MIT, mentioned that “ideas are the perfect way to make a new ecosystem and that is why we need to nurture, support and develop ideas".
Experts made clear that collaboration is the only way to bring fresh ideas to the table. "We trained thousands of people and collaborated with several companies to develop an economic system of desalination," said Dr. Cullen.
Nicolaas Pannekeet, the Managing Partner at Pureterra Ventures, emphasized the importance of collaboration between the private sector and universities, which, according to him, contributed in boosting investment and producing innovations in desalination.
On the other side, Prof. Yoram Cohen, Distinguished Professor at the University of California, mentioned that past experiences are the key factor in making future plans and creating new solutions for desalination.
The discussion also included the importance of a healthy system to manage the whole process.
"The regulations of desalination needs to be updated around the world to be an enabler and a stimuli of the companies development and achievement of positive results for desalination," Pannekeet noted.
Prof. Cohen also mentioned: “The emerging technology developments have a positive effect on innovation. If we think about it; we all have mobile phones and cars, and the system defines everything around us. Why don't we do the same for desalination?"
Last Modified Date: 13/09/2022 - 1:57 PM Saudi Arabia Time