Chairs’ Letter of Invitation
As Co-Chairs and on behalf of the organising and scientific committees, we are delighted to welcome delegates from all over the world to the fourth International Conference on Desalination using Membrane Technology, MEMDES 2019. This exciting forum is entirely dedicated to recent developments in membrane desalination and related technologies. The international journal Desalination is supporting this conference. It is amazing to think of all that we have achieved in Desalination so far. The publication speed for our journal is still considered one of the best of Elsevier’s journals and the number of downloads in 2015 was around 2 million. The 2017 ISI web of science reported an increase in our impact factor to 6.603. This increase in impact factor is due to the improvement in the quality of papers published through strict refereeing and examination of the papers submitted resulting in a current rejection rate of 82%. We are delighted to say that this is in no small part due to the hard work the editorial board and reviewers, in not only refereeing the papers submitted but raising the standard of the quality of papers that we publish. We ask that we do not stop here but carry on with this work and further improve the papers published, and hence the Journal’s standing in the scientific community. To all of the editorial board and reviewers we give our personal thanks and congratulations. The editorial team welcomes your suggestions to help improve the journal. Therefore, please do not hesitate to contact us with your ideas.
According to the IDA, growth in the utility market in the Gulf was mostly responsible for the largest increase in seawater desalination since 2014. The region still contributes to the largest share of contracted seawater desalination capacity. More recently, awards for desalination plants were also made in China, Singapore and Morocco. In 2017 the total number of desalination plants globally was 19,372. In the same year, membrane technology accounted for over 95% of the annual contracted capacity with the remaining mostly being thermal processes, highlighting the importance in membrane technology towards future desalination development.
As finite and valuable resources, Energy and Water are closely inter-related. Production of fresh water from saline sources by desalination will always depend on energy. Therefore as the technology continues to grow, as desalinators and membranologists, we must keep on seeking new ways for the efficient and sustainable production of water, using less energy.
Our planet surface is covered 70% by water, but as this water is essentially oceans and only about 1% of all water is available for human consumption, it is clear tapping into the vast resource of salty water to produce fresh by desalination will assist in avoiding utilizing the more limited fresh water proportion. According to the WWF, over 1 billion people, many in developing countries, currently lack access to clean drinking water, whilst another 2.7 billion find water scarce for at least one month of the year. About 2.4 billion people experience problems with inadequate sanitation which are intimately linked to water quality. Agriculture, which produces our food, consumes the largest proportion of water supplied, where much is wasted through inefficiencies. This is compounded by climate change, which is causing droughts in some areas and floods in others. The situation is getting worse, where by 2025 two-thirds of the world’s population may face water shortages, which also has a negative impact on our ecosystems.
How can we secure enough fresh water – and food – for the future? Which is why, as the world’s population explodes, we have to ask ourselves, do we fight for fresh water now or sit back and wait for a global food crisis? What can engineers do to access more fresh water and prevent a global food crisis? The most viable alternative, as it stands now, is to tap into the almost unlimited amounts of seawater and other impaired saline water sources, such as wastewater, that are readily available across the world, through desalination and water purification processes.
We invite you to participate in the conference and consider submitting an abstract to present your latest work and expert views in the field. We also invite you to consider attending to hear from experts selected to present. The conference committee has already commenced putting together a truly unique programme that addresses the cutting edge in desalination, water reuse and water treatment and related techniques. A series of state-of-the-art plenary and invited presentations will be presented by internationally renowned experts. This will be accompanied by breakout sessions of oral presentations. Posters have been organised to be easily accessible for viewing during sessions, coffee breaks and lunches. The associated exhibition will provide you with up to date information on commercially available support for your line of work.
This conference is now in its fourth round, and has gathered popularity in the community as a leading platform for sharing and discussing your own research with key opinion leaders across the membrane desalination and water treatment industries.
Last but not least, we would like to thank Elsevier and all the organising and scientific committee members for their contribution to the organisation of this conference. We hope MEMDES 2019 will prove to be an inspiring and truly transformative experience for you.
Nidal Hilal, DSc, PhD, CEng, Euro Ing, FIChemE
Centre for Water Advanced technologies and Environmental Research (CWATER) University of Swansea, United Kingdom
Mikel Duke, BE, PhD
Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities, Victoria University, Australia Co-Editor, Desalination
Organising Committee Co-Chair