More than 1,700 delegates from 63 countries attended the International Desalination Association’s (IDA’s) 2015 World Congress held in San Diego recently according to the association’s key metrics published this week. Awards for papers and presentations topped US$ 30,000.

The technical programme comprised 301 presentations which included 144 digital posters and with 157 conventional podium presentations at 24 sessions, each with two or three co-chairs. And Nine interactive panel discussions added a popular new dimension to the technical programme.

Awards presented at the World Congress totalled US$ 31,500. Six awards at US$ 5,000 each were presented in the categories of State of the Art, Innovation, Research and Development, Environment and Sustainability, Young Leaders Programme, and Emerging Leader. Three awards at US$ 500 each, chosen by delegates, went to Most Appreciated Presenter, Most Appreciated Poster and Most Appreciated Moderator. Three Presidential Awards were also conferred.

State of the Art was awarded to presenter Dr Glenn Byrne, Rolled Alloys (UK), for Stray Current Corrosion in SWRO Systems.

The award recognized the paper that presents the application of an established desalination or water reuse technology in a way that reflects the best engineering practices in all aspects of the project or topic presented.

Innovation went to Bart Nelemans, Aquastil (Netherlands), for New Module Design Development for Membrane Distillation.

The award recognized the paper that presents an innovative desalination or water reuse technology that has reached the commercial stage but is not yet considered to be widely adopted. However, the data presented suggested that the technology was likely to become a game-changer that could be the next state-of-the-art advancement.

Research and development was awarded to James C Lozier, CH2M Hill (USA), for the paper, Innovative Membrane-Based Treatment Method for Brines from Coal Seam Gas Production.

This award recognized the paper that presented fundamental or applied research of a technology or concept in desalination or water reuse that was pre-commercialization but showed signs that it could lead to significant discoveries or technologies.

Environment and sustainability went to presenter Troy Walker, Hazen and Sawyer (USA), for Safety and Reliability of Direct Potable Reuse: Using the Critical Control Point of Methodology.

The prize recognized the paper that presented a desalination or water reuse research topic, case study, technology or project in a way that demonstrated how desalination could be applied while respecting the environment and applying best sustainability principles.

Young Leaders Programme was handed to Johanna Ludwig, akvolution Germany), for Ceramic Membrane Treatment for Saline Water Reuse in a Large Marine Aquarium.

The award was for the paper that demonstrated scientific originality in a field that was important to the fields of desalination and/or water reuse.

The Emerging Leader award was sponsored by “Arwadex – Water Desalination Conference in the Arab Countries” and presented to Prakash Narayan Govindan, Gradiant Corporation (USA).

The Awards Committee comprised: Guillaume Clairet, H2O Innovation; Tom Pankratz, WDR; Lisa Henthorne, Water Standard; Mike Dixon, Alberta Water Smart; Ronan McGovern, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Alejandro Sturniolo, RWL; John Tonner, Consolidated; Ties Venema, Fluytec; Fahad Al Muhaizie, Advanced Water Technology; Fayyaz Mubeen, international consultant and IDA director; Veronica Garcia Molina, Dow; Jochen Kalemberg, OMYA; and Eng Zamzam Alrakaf, Kuwait ministry of electricity and Water and IDA director.

IDA presented US$ 500 awards in three new categories with the winners selected directly by conference delegates using the official World Congress mobile app. The awards and recipients were:

Most appreciated presenter: Jaichander Swaminathan MIT (USA), for Experimental Investigation of High Efficiency Single-Stage Membrane Distillation Configurations;

Most appreciated poster: David Martin Warsinger, MIT (USA), for Effect of Filtration and Particulate Fouling in Membrane Distillation; and

Most appreciated moderator: Dr Heike Glade, University of Bremen (Germany) in Session 24, Thermal Desalination: Membrane Distillation.

Presidential awards were presented to Doug Eisberg and Dr. Richard Stover for their outstanding performance as the Technical Programme co-chairs of the 2015 IDA World Congress, and to Mohammad Abunayyan, chairman of Abunayyan Holding and ACWA Power International for his vision, leadership and creativity that have established ACWA Power International as a leader in providing clean and sustainable water and energy, and for ACWA Power’s support of IDA’s programmes including sponsorship of several World Congresses.

IDA also presented an Industry Contribution Award to Faith Leitner in memory of her father, desalination pioneer, Gordon Leitner.

More than 850 delegates attended “A Celebration of California” at the Birch Aquarium, the public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego.

Four hundred middle school students from the San Diego area were invited to participate in a special education day at the World Congress.

More than 50 civic leaders attended an invitation-only session featuring speakers from the USA, Australia and Singapore.

The World Congress featured sold-out plant tours to two of the most high-profile facilities in the USA: the soon-to-be commissioned Carlsbad desalination plant, and the Orange County Groundwater Replenishment System, the world’s largest water purification system for potable reuse.