TNO Membrane Technology wins MBR Global Water Award in Dubai

Drinking water and electricity from seawater with new TNO MemPower® technology • 01 May 2017

TNO’s MemPower® uses renewable sources of energy like solar and residual heat to produce very pure water by membrane distillation. With this new technology no electricity is consumed but instead it can be produced. For instance one can obtain both clean drinking water and electricity from seawater desalination. TNO’s proposition ‘Next Generation Memstill® for affordable Clean Water and Electricity using Solar Energy’ (MemPower®) won the MBR Global Water Award in the category ‘Innovative Research & Development – International Institutes’.

On Thursday 27 April, Paul de Krom, CEO of TNO, was present in Dubai to receive the award from His Highness Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. TNO will use this prize money to work with Kahramaa and other parties in the Middle East to further develop the MemPower® technology and to demonstrate it in this region. This is already the third successive year that TNO has received an international award for the application of its membrane distillation technology.

There is an acute shortage of drinking water in many areas of the world. “TNO has developed a method, the Memstill® technology, to desalinate seawater using membranes and extract pure drinking water from it. This method has now been taken a step further in its development towards MemPower®, where by only using only solar heat or residual heat, it is possible to produce electricity besides high quality water,” according to researcher Norbert Kuipers and business developer Khalil El Bakari.


Existing techniques to desalinate seawater tend to be complex, expensive and consume a lot of energy. TNO’s MemPower® makes use of renewable energy sources like solar heat or residual heat to produce very pure water and electricity by producing this water under pressure.

Net, MemPower® consumes no electricity – on the contrary, it produces electricity! Paul de Krom: “There is significant interest in this MemPower® technology, from around the world and particularly in the Middle East. Having previously developed Memstill® in a European consortium, TNO will now be collaborating with parties in the Middle East including the Water and Electricity company Kahramaa from Qatar. The prize money from the MBR Global Water Award will be used to further develop and demonstrate our innovative membrane technology in this region. Together with its partners, TNO will be working on perfecting the MemPower® prototype in the coming period in order to bring large-scale global application nearer.”

International acknowledgement

The MBR Global Water Award is the third international award TNO has won for its membrane technology in a short time. In 2015 TNO has received an innovation award in Saudi Arabia for MemPower@ after its principle has been proven. In 2016 a European consortium coordinated by TNO was rewarded by the EIT Innovation Award 2016 for the WE4CC-II project. The MBR Global Water Award is organised by ‘Suqia’ in Dubai. Suqia is the Water Aid Foundation of the United Arab Emirates, founded by law in 2014 as a non-profit organisation to support solutions for the acute water shortage worldwide. This institution is the initiator of the MBR Global Water Award, an annual international prize of 1 million dollars for innovative water technologies.


Stay up to date with our latest news, activities and vacancies

We use anonymous cookies to enhance the use of our site. Our privacy statement has been updated to reflect the new EU privacy policy.