Sustainable Water Production

Professor Peng Wang, an environmental scientist and engineer from China, has an impressive track record of producing clean water. In 2022, he won the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award ‘Innovative Individual Award’ for his research that produces clean water using renewable energy.

For the Award, Professor Wang presented three technologies to produce inexpensive, clean drinking water to meet the needs of small and medium-sized communities. The first innovation is a photovoltaic (PV) membrane distillation technology that uses waste heat from standard PV panels to desalinate seawater through several stages of membrane distillation. The second technology involves collecting atmospheric water vapor to produce clean water, a process that is both cost and energy efficient. This technology extends to cooling PV panels, with field tests revealing that it increases the panels’ electricity generation by up to 19%. His third technology comprises a new process for desalinating brackish seawater that uses solar energy and has zero liquid discharge.

Professor Wang is adamant about the importance of renewable energy: “Renewable energy is unlimited in its amount and duration. The amount of solar energy the Earth receives in one hour is already more than what is needed to power the world for an entire year. I am, therefore, confident that sustainable technologies can lead us out of the crisis of global warming and freshwater scarcity altogether.”

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, organised by the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), aims to support innovative projects that spread hope and play a vital role in addressing water-related crises by using renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, to find sustainable solutions and produce large quantities of clean drinking water.