QAFCO and Texas A&M University at Qatar, along with the Environmental Studies Center at Qatar University, have launched a one-year research project to study the environmental impact of cooling water discharge at Mesaieed Industrial City (MIC).
QAFCO will provide primary funding for the $880,000 project. QAPCO and QP-Gas Operations are also financing this project.
The project will be led by Dr Ahmed Abdel-Wahab and Dr Patrick Linke from Texas A&M at Qatar and by Dr Mohsin Al Ansi from the Environmental Studies Center of Qatar University.
A steering committee will advise the project; its members include Maryam Mattar (QAFCO), Jassim Almalki (QAPCO), Sajjan Khan (QP-NGL), and Yousef Al Hamar and Dr Mohamed Abdelmoati (Ministry of Environment).
Khalifa Abdulla Al Sowaidi, managing director of QAFCO, said environmental sustainability was of high priority to QAFCO.
“We are working hard to minimise the environmental impact of our operations,” he said. “Also, we are keen to support research activities and work closely with academic institutions in Qatar such as Texas A&M and Qatar University. This project is the best example of mutual collaboration among industry, academic institutions, and the government. It will not only address an environmental issue but it also includes human capacity building through training and technology transfer.”
“Industrial leaders in Qatar such as our partners here from QAFCO, QAPCO and QP-NGL take seriously their obligation of sound environmental stewardship, and Texas A&M at Qatar has invested the energy and resources necessary to conduct research to that end,” said Dr Mark Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar.
The Ministry of Environment has issued new environmental standards that are aimed at reducing the environmental impact of industrial cooling water discharge. The new regulations specify that the maximum concentration of free residual chlorine is 0.05 mg/l for discharge of cooling water. The problem of residual chlorine is the formation of chlorination by-products that are harmful to aquatic life.
“The impetus for this research is local and the project’s goals are simple, but the results could be profound — and global,” Weichold said. As members of this research team seek to understand the nature of chlorine by-products from industrial processes at Mesaieed Industrial City, they will compile a data set for this problem and develop a model to explain it, he said.
“This project will answer research questions of vital interest to Qatar — and this resource will be the first of its kind that will be publicly available anywhere in the world,” Weichold added. “And we anticipate that it will bring recognition to Qatar because of the regional and global significance of this research.”
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