Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum honoured 10 winners from eight countries at the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, which is worth USD 1 million. The Award was launched by Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to encourage research centres, individuals and innovators from around the world to find innovative and sustainable solutions for clean-water scarcity around the world, using solar power. The award is overseen by the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives. The challenge is set, with companies, research institutes and young innovators invited to compete with their innovative solar-powered solutions.
The award is comprised of three categories: Innovative Projects Award, Innovative Research & Development Award, and Innovative Youth Award.
In particular, Dr. Vivar received the first prize in the category “Innovative youth award 2016”, which awarded innovative technological solutions provided by researchers under the age of 40 that address water scarcity exclusively using solar energy to produce safe drinking water in line with World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The project presented must be a practical, proven solution with measurable results in operation for at least 3 months prior to the date of submission of the application.
Dr. Marta Vivar from Spain won the Innovative Youth Award for a hybrid solar photovoltaic-photochemical system for water disinfection and electricity generation. Conventional natural UV disinfection systems only use 5% of the total available solar energy. They also need an extra source of energy to feed the system pumps to recirculate the water, so their use is very limited. IMDEA Water is working in a new concept for a hybrid system that integrates photovoltaic solar cells in conventional natural UV disinfection systems, using natural UV light for water disinfection and visible and near-infrared light for simultaneous electricity generation, utilizing the solar spectrum more efficiently. The main objective of the new system is to increase the total solar spectrum conversion efficiency by using each part of the spectrum for the mechanism that is more efficient on it, so jointly improving the total efficiency.
Eloy García, director of the IMDEA Water Institute, accepted the award on her behalf. Dr. Vivar was linked to the Institute until November 2016. She is currently a researcher at the University of Cadiz.
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