TBY talks to, Ciarán Ó Cuinn, Director of Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), on desalination.

Pollution from desalination can be harmful. How do you focus on that area in particular?

We have funded significant regional research into this area. We have also partnered with SQU in Oman and Masdar in the UAE, to carry out research in on harmful algae blooms. This research includes funding from USAID. These algae blooms can block intake pipes and actually shut down some of the plants. The strategic effects can be critical, as they have the potential to shut down plants across an entire region. It is a big issue for the government here not only in terms of water and desalination, but also in terms of fisheries and tourism.

Do you see desalination as a potential investment opportunity for Oman?

There is absolute market certainty that this region needs more desalination. The only question is what form of the technology is available and needed. In this part of the world, modern society as we know it cannot survive without desalination. Dubai, for example, is over 95% reliant on desalination. Investors can be confident that that this form of desalination technology will be around for a long time, new technologies will only be commercialized on a large scale on the basis of being added to existing reverse osmosis plants.


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