Innovations in IDA Congress technical program

Round-table sessions and touch-screen availability of poster presentations will be used for the first time in the International Desalination Association’s World Congress in Dubai on 7-12 November 2009, IDA announced on 19 October 2009.

The technical program will include more content that ever before with a total of 25 sessions and 241 papers assigned to either oral or poster presentations.

Held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice-president and prime minister of UAE and ruler of Dubai, the 2009 congress is expected to gather over 1,800 industry professionals and leaders from the global desalination and water reuse industry. It is being hosted by TechnoPark and supported by Economic Zones World.

According to Dr Corrado Sommariva, co-chair of the technical program, IDA received nearly 400 abstracts, a record number. “The selected papers reflect the dynamism of desalination and water technologies, in general, at this exciting moment in time,” he said

“The World Congress theme, Desalination for a Better World, is most appropriate and timely as the desalination industry continues to advance technologies that reduce energy requirements, enhance sustainability and address environmental responsibility. Developments in these and other related topics will be examined in depth during the technical program, the most robust in World Congress history,” Sommariva added.

Innovation is a recurrent theme in the program, as desalination and wastewater reuse are subject to rapid technological changes, and the industry is continuously pushed to overcome evolving technological challenges.

One of the first sessions is dedicated to an exploration of alternative ideas, innovative solutions and nuclear technologies for desalination. This session explores some of the future techniques that may expand the existing portfolio of processes for water production.

The focus on innovation returns in virtually each session of the conference, from corrosion and new materials selection to advances in energy recovery solutions that have been introduced to reduce the energy footprint in desalination systems.

“The industry’s progress has greatly contributed to improvement in sustainability of water solutions, decreased energy consumption and reduced carbon-footprint of desalination systems, as well as decreased water cost,” Sommariva commented.

Other keywords in the program are sustainability and environment. The session on Environmental Sustainability points to the critical importance of the subject and deals with subjects ranging from monitoring to best practices on minimizing the impact of desalination on the environment.

Effective environmental management techniques are interwoven in sessions throughout the congress: for example, sessions on solar and renewable energy, resource management, and alternative intake/outfall designs, all reflecting ways to minimize potential environmental impacts. The wastewater reuse sessions will also emphasize the role that these technologies will play in achieving the theme of the congress.

The subject of increased efficiency and optimization returns in the session dedicated to the hybridization of power and desalination dual-purpose plants. This session will present advances made in this field that are leading to the acceptance and growth of hybrid installations worldwide.

Separate sessions will explore future directions in research and development for thermal and reverse-osmosis technologies. There will be a session on membrane bioreactors (MBRs), a technological breakthrough in water-reuse. The Middle East has seen the development of some of the most ambitious wastewater reuse projects through MBR. As a result, the application of MBR technology to treat domestic and industrial wastewaters is growing rapidly

Other sessions will cover strategies for Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) and Financing, Privatization, Economics and Project Delivery.

Information about the IDA World Congress and a complete listing of sessions for the technical program is available at