Sandooq Al Watan, a community initiative to support research into the post-oil era backed by Emirati businesspeople has launched the Centurium Prize Challenge, informs the Emirates News Agency. Under the name ‘Rethink Brine’, it aims to decrease the amount of brine that is discharged into de environment by desalination plants. The Prize is part of researcher.ae, a platform created to diversify the UAE’s economy and promote innovation.
The Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi (EAD) sponsors the challenge, together with UAE-based Aldar Properties, with the Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC) as a partner. The objectives of the challenge are protecting the ecosystem of the Arabian Gulf, encouraging environmentally friendly practices in the construction and real state sector, solving water scarcity issues in the UAE, and advancing the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036.
The Secretary-General of the EAD, Dr. Shaikha Salem Al Dhaheri, has said: ‘Brine discharge increases the salinity of the surrounding sea water, causing a reduction in oxygen levels that, in turn, impacts marine life. As the environmental regulator of Abu Dhabi, conserving nature and biodiversity is one of our fundamental responsibilities, and addressing brine discharge is one of EAD’s top priorities.’
Moreover, CEO of Aldar Properties Talal Al Dhiyebi has highlighted the importance of finding a use for brine discharge: ‘If the discharge can be turned into construction material, this will further Aldar’s goals of reducing its impact on our planet and supporting R&D efforts into more sustainable building methods.’
A committee of experts from sponsors, partners and other organisations will evaluate the entries to the competition. A total of AED3.4 million (over $900,000) will be awarded for entries, and the final winning team will receive a AED2.5 million (about $680,000) prize.