Dr Amr Omar
Research Associate

Dr Amr Omar

School of Chemical Engineering

Amr Omar has completed his PhD at the University of New South Wales, where he focused on developing solar thermal systems and combining them with desalination processes to alleviate water scarcity in rural-arid regions. His thesis was an industry-funded project where its contributions are not only academic but also have real-life outcomes. 

Amr Omar is the winner of the prestigious 2022 Malcolm Chaikin Prize for Research Excellence in Engineering of the Year. He was also awarded first place in the Three Minutes Thesis (3MT) 2020 competition from the School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering. Due to his research contributions, he was awarded the "research student award" given by the UNSW postgraduate council.

Overall, Amr's main goal is to provide a more clean, efficient, and cost-effective integration of solar-desalination systems to meet the ever-increasing energy-water demands. 

Room 505, Level 5, Science & Engineering Building, Kensington campus
  • Book Chapters | 2021
    2021, 'Solar-driven water treatment: Generation III - Low technology readiness', in Mahian O; Wei J; Taylor RA; Wongwises S (ed.), Solar-Driven Water Treatment Re-engineering and Accelerating Nature’s Water Cycle, Academic Press, pp. 201 - 261
  • Journal articles | 2023
    Ellersdorfer P; Omar A; Taylor RA; Daiyan R; Leslie G, 2023, 'Multi-effect distillation: a sustainable option to large-scale green hydrogen production using solar energy', International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijhydene.2023.04.261
    Journal articles | 2023
    2023, 'Forecasting and Optimizing Dual Media Filter Performance via Machine Learning', Water Research, 235, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2023.119874
    Journal articles | 2023
    2023, 'Reclaiming water from a direct air capture plant using vacuum membrane distillation – A bench-scale study', Separation and Purification Technology, 305, pp. 1 - 30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2022.122418
    Journal articles | 2022
    2022, 'A novel concentrated solar membrane-distillation for water purification in a building integrated design', Desalination, 535, pp. 115828 - 115828, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2022.115828
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'Experimental and numerical evaluation of the energy requirement of multi-stage vacuum membrane distillation designs', Separation and Purification Technology, 257, pp. 117303 - 117303, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2020.117303
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'Experimental and numerical investigation of a new hollow fiber-based multi-effect vacuum membrane distillation design', Desalination, 501, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.desal.2020.114908
    Journal articles | 2021
    2021, 'Techno-economic optimization of coupling a cascaded MED system to a CSP-sCO2 power plant', Energy Conversion and Management, 247, pp. 1 - 38, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2021.114725
    Journal articles | 2020
    Li Q; Lian B; Zhong W; Omar A; Razmjou A; Dai P; Guan J; Leslie G; Taylor RA, 2020, 'Improving the performance of vacuum membrane distillation using a 3D-printed helical baffle and a superhydrophobic nanocomposite membrane', Separation and Purification Technology, 248, pp. 117072 - 117072, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.seppur.2020.117072
    Journal articles | 2020
    Omar A; Nashed A; Li Q; Leslie G; Taylor RA, 2020, 'Pathways for integrated concentrated solar power - Desalination: A critical review', Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 119, pp. 109609 - 109609, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.rser.2019.109609
    Journal articles | 2020
    2020, 'The potential of hollow fiber vacuum multi-effect membrane distillation for brine treatment', Applied Energy, 276, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2020.115437
    Journal articles | 2019
    Omar A; Saghafifar M; Mohammadi K; Alashkar A; Gadalla M, 2019, 'A review of unconventional bottoming cycles for waste heat recovery: Part II – Applications', Energy Conversion and Management, 180, pp. 559 - 583, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2018.10.088
    Journal articles | 2019
    Saghafifar M; Omar A; Mohammadi K; Alashkar A; Gadalla M, 2019, 'A review of unconventional bottoming cycles for waste heat recovery: Part I – Analysis, design, and optimization', Energy Conversion and Management, 198, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.enconman.2018.10.047
    Journal articles | 2017
    2017, 'Thermo-economic analysis of recuperated Maisotsenko bottoming cycle using triplex air saturator: Comparative analyses', Applied Thermal Engineering, 111, pp. 431 - 444, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2016.09.100
    Journal articles | 2016
    2016, 'Thermo-economic analysis of air saturator integration in conventional combined power cycles', Applied Thermal Engineering, 107, pp. 1104 - 1122, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.applthermaleng.2016.06.181
  • Conference Papers | 2022
    2022, 'Can Concentrated Solar Power Desalination Solve Rising Energy and Water Prices An Australian Site Feasibility Study', in Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference 2022, Australian PV Institute, Newcastle, Australia, presented at Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference 2022, Newcastle, Australia, 29 November 2022 - 01 December 2022, https://apvi.org.au/solar-research-conference/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Huang-Can-Concentrated-Solar-Power-Desalination-Solve-Rising-Energy-and-Water-Prices-An-Australian-Site-Feasibility-Study.pdf
    Conference Papers | 2022
    2022, 'Could Multi effect Distillation be the Key to Unlock Large scale Solar Driven Green Hydrogen Production', in Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference 2022, Australian PV Institute, Newcastle, Australia, presented at Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference 2022, Newcastle, Australia, 29 November 2022 - 01 December 2022, https://apvi.org.au/solar-research-conference/proceedings-apsrc-2022/
    Conference Papers | 2022
    2022, 'What Factors are Most Important in Determining Payback Period on Concentrated Solar Power + Desalination Plants: A Sensitivity Analysis', in Proceedings of the Asia Pacific Solar Research Conference 2022, Australian PV Institute, Newcastle, Australia, presented at Asia-Pacific Solar Research Conference 2022, Newcastle, Australia, 29 November 2022 - 01 December 2022, https://apvi.org.au/solar-research-conference/wp-content/uploads/2023/02/Huang-What-Factors-are-Most-Important-in-Determining-Payback-Period-on-Concentrated-Solar-Power-Desalination-Plants-A-Sensitivity-Analysis.pdf
    Reports | 2022
    2022, 1 Solar-Driven Multi-Effect Distillation Overview, Begellhouse Inc., http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/thermopedia.010205, https://thermopedia.com/content/10205/
    Reports | 2022
    2022, Solar-Driven Membrane Distillation Overview, Begell House, http://dx.doi.org/10.1615/thermopedia.010196, https://thermopedia.com/content/10196/
    Theses / Dissertations | 2021
    2021, Membrane Distillation Development for Concentrated Solar Thermal Systems, University of New South Wales
    Conference Papers | 2020
    2020, 'Can concentrated solar-driven supercritical CO2 power cycles help address the energy-water nexus?', Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, presented at SolarPACES Conference 20, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, 29 September 2020 - 02 October 2020
    Conference Papers | 2019
    2019, 'Techno-Economic Feasibility of Large-Scale, Concentrated Solar Power and Desalination (CSP-D) Cogeneration Plants: A Case Study in Abu Dhabi', Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, presented at Sixth International Conference on Water, Energy and Environment (ICWEE/6), Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, 26 March 2019
    Conference Papers | 2018
    Omar AH; Nashed A; Taylor R, 2018, 'Single vs Multi-Stage Vacuum Membrane Distillation: An Energetic Analysis', in Proceedings of the 11th Australasian Heat and Mass Transfer Conference, AHMTC11, Australian Heat and Mass Transfer Conference, AHMTC 11, Melbourne, Australia, presented at Australian Heat and Mass Transfer Conference, AHMTC 11, Melbourne, Australia, 09 July 2018 - 10 July 2018
    Preprints |
    A Novel Concentrated Solar Membrane-Distillation for Water Purification in a Building Integrated Design, , http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3972691
    Preprints |
    Reclaiming Water from a Direct Air Capture Plant Using Vacuum Membrane Distillation – a Bench-Scale Study, , http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4176064
  • Media | 2021
    2021, Contemplating The Solar-Desal Sunrise, Water Desalination Report,

  • Development of a hollow fiber vacuum membrane distillation module with CSIRO Energy (2020-2021). This prototype was asked by CSIRO Energy for their research project on a process that integrates membrane desalination with amine-based CO2 capture (>6000 AUD).

  • Awarded the Prestigious Malcolm Chaikin Prize for Research Excellence in Engineering, 2022.
  • Asian Union of Thermal Science and Engineering Young Scientist Award Nominee, 2022.
  • Research student award from UNSW's postgraduate council, University of New South Wales, 2020.
  • First place in the three-minute thesis (3MT) in the school of mechanical and manufacturing engineering, University of New South Wales, 2020.
  • Australian postgraduate award full scholarship, University of New South Wales, 2017.
  • Engineering top-up award, University of New South Wales, 2017.
  • Runner up to the best postgraduate thesis in the School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering, University of Sydney, 2017.
  • Research assistantship position, American University of Sharjah, 2014.
  • Merit and Dean's List Awardee, American University of Sharjah, 2010 - 2014.

Amr Omar has focused on mimicking the solar-driven, natural water cycle, in a controlled environment using either novel membrane distillation technology (for small-scale applications) or the more developed multi-effect distillation process (for large-scale applications). He has developed the first hollow fiber-based multi-effect vacuum membrane distillation design, which recycles the latent heat from the distillate to reduce specific energy consumption and increase production capacity. His design can be used in multiple applications, such as seawater desalination, hydrogen production, pre-treatment and post-treatment, biomedical applications (kidney dialysis), carbon capture technologies, and building integration clean water systems.

He has also explored seawater desalination through conventional means, such as seawater reverse osmosis or low-temperature multi-effect distillation, to produce sufficient water to run and actively cool down electrolyzers for efficient hydrogen production.

He has also studied the flocculant strength in the pre-treatment process for water filtration plants. His research focused on understanding how extreme weather conditions (i.e., flash flooding) could affect the flocculant strength and size due to the presence of high natural organic matter, which could reduce the plant's production rate by more than 40%.

Accordingly, Amr's research aims to bridge the forgoing gaps in water treatment processes and run them sustainable using renewable energy sources to straddle two pressing Sustainable Development Goals set out by the United Nations, SDG6 for 'clean water' and SDG7 for 'affordable and clean energy'.

My Research Supervision

  • The Potential of using Waste Heat Energy from Electrolyzers to run a low-temperature Multi-effect Distillation Process (PhD Project)
  • Development of the Solar-driven Membrane Distillation for Seawater Desalination (PhD Project)
  • Sun to H2O - Vertically Integrated Project (VIP)
  • Site Feasibility Study for a Concentrated Solar Thermal Power Plant coupled with Desalination (Thesis Project)
  • EcoMag Desalination Project (Industrial Thesis Group Project)