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.
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'.
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