Welcome to the site of the Membranes and Sustainable Desalination Research group (MSDR) at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates). We are a vibrant research group of researchers (research scientists and graduate students), led by Prof. Hassan Arafat, from the Water and Environmental Engineering Program at Masdar Institute. Here is the story of why we are here and what we do: Water security is becoming, more than ever, a pressing issue for many countries around the world, particularly in the Middle East and the Arabian Gulf region. With an all-time record population growth in the Gulf countries, accompanied by a depletion of groundwater resources, escalating standards of living and the world’s highest per-capita water consumption rates, securing safe drinking water for the population in the Gulf region is no trivial task. It is no surprise then that all six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are highly dependent on desalinated water. Seawater desalination is a major industry in this part of the world. But this increased dependency on desalination is not unique to the GCC countries. In fact, the United States has the second largest desalination capacity in the world, after Saudi Arabia. Many European countries are also desalinating seawater at escalating rates to meet their potable water needs. But desalination is not a low energy process nor is it cheap. The global desalination market is expected to reach about US$52 billion by 2020, up by more than 300% from the current market value. The reverse osmosis (RO) membrane technology segment will see the lion share of that growth, reaching about US$39 billion by 2020. Desalinating one cubic meter of seawater using RO now costs an average of one US dollar, a cost that is often largely subsidized by governments in the GCC countries. Additionally, desalination, like most industrial processes, has a negative impact on the environment. Not only can desalination plants upset marine life, consume non-renewable resources and contribute to global warming, but their impacts can also lead to added costs, through mitigation efforts and lost-opportunity costs (e.g., in fishing and ecotourism). On the long haul, this is not a sustainable situation! To improve the sustainability of desalination process, at MSDR, we believe four things should happen: 1) the energy efficiency of desalination processes and their reliance on renewable energy sources should increase, 2) the water production cost through these processes should decrease, 3) the environmental impacts of desalination should be minimized, and 4) the robustness and maturity of emerging promising technologies, such as membrane distillation (MD) and forward osmosis, should be advanced. Research projects that bring us closer to achieving some or all of these goals are the main focus of our group. We currently have a spectrum of research projects in this area. We are working on developing new membrane materials for membrane distillation (MD), a promising desalination process. The aim here is that these new membranes should have improved properties, including higher flux, less fouling potential, lower ecological footprint, and improved mechanical integrity. We are also working on modeling and optimizing the MD process, from a thermodynamic, system, and cost viewpoints. This allows us a better understanding of this technology and how to increase its efficiency. Moreover, we are working on developing Life Cycle Analysis tools for a better understanding of the environmental impacts of desalination process, leading to better mitigation plans for these impacts through design and operational choices. We hope we managed to capture your attention! We invite you to browse our site and learn more about us, our research, and our achievements. Welcome to MSDR!