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GORD Institute’s project highlighted to tackle brine waste from desalination plants

Workshop on tackling brine waste

The Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (GORD) was among the leading organizations that took part in ‘Treatment and Management of Rejected Brine and Salts from Desalination Plants Workshop’ held on Monday, January 23, at Hilton Doha, Qatar. Organized under the patronage and attendance of His Excellency Sheikh Dr. Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed Al-Thani, Qatar’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the event focused on sustainable ways to address the issue of salt and brine extracted from seawater during desalination process.

In the context of Gulf region’s arid climate, GCC countries heavily depend on desalination of seawater to make it fit for human consumption and use. An inevitable byproduct of this process comes in the form of salt, metals and impurities which after extraction from seawater pose a climate challenge if not disposed responsibly. To avoid reinjecting the brine into the environment, the recent workshop gathered researchers and experts who shared solutions to make sustainable use of salt and brine from desalination plants.

Among key speakers at the workshop was GORD’s Founding Chairman, Dr. Yousef Alhorr, who highlighted the research outcomes of a project by GORD Institute – the research wing of GORD that engages in multidisciplinary long-term research projects in areas of eco materials, energy efficiency, HVAC solutions, environmental sciences, renewable energy, and carbon & climate change.

During his presentation titled ‘Utilization of Desalination Reject Brines and CO2 in Carbon-Negative Construction products’, Dr. Alhorr highlighted that the magnesium-rich chemical nature of brine makes it a promising candidate to be incorporated in carbonate minerals for the purpose of Carbon Capture and Utilization (CCU). The process is known as mineral carbonation, whereby CO2 trapped in solid precipitates, and has demonstrated a potential to be used in the development of low-carbon construction materials. Not only does it offer a monetary advantage over the more common Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) solutions, but also it conveniently circumvents the most common issues related to CO2 storage, such as a large capital investment and long-term safety monitoring. Providing a practical application of the concept, Dr. Alhorr highlighted GORD Institute’s research project that uses desalination waste brine for the production of a gypsum plaster alternative. Carbonate Based Plaster is GORD’s patented sustainable gypsum plaster board alternative of comparable/superior performance, produced from carbon capture and mineralization processes using more than 30% of CO2 by weight.

At the ‘Treatment and Management of Rejected Brine and Salts from Desalination Plants Workshop’, sustainability experts sharing the floor with Dr. Alhorr represented leading organizations including the Ministry of Environment & Climate Change, Kuwait University, Qatar University, ExxonMobil and Qatar Shell Research & Technology Center.