Mr. Courfia Diawara is Full Professor of Outstanding Class Universities and Knight of the National Order of the Lion in Senegal and Honorary President and Founding Member of the African Membrane Society.
Chairman of the Organizing Committee for the 1st International Conference in West Africa on “Membranes, water and health” and Chairman of the 3rd International Congress of the African Membrane Society.
Winner of the SEDAR 2010 award for Innovation in Desalination and Defluoridation by developing a new fluorine removal and desalination process coupled to solar energy for drinking water.
Question (Q): What exactly does the participation of the UASZ in the E5DES project consist of?
Answer (A): UASZ participates, among others, in the implementation of Activity 2.3.1 in the form of actions to increase visibility, improve the technological and scientific research capabilities of DESAL+ LIVING LAB Platform, and attracting new projects.
Q: Please, give me some examples.
A: Firstly, on December 2021, UASZ was provided by the E5DES project with a pilot desalination plant by reverse osmosis for teaching, training and research purposes, as well as with support for the development of a training and research programme. This pilot desalination plant is now part of a unique training project co-developed by UASZ and designed to meet an urgent need expressed by the public authorities, the general public, industry and academics, such as the training of future technicians and professionals in the field of water and membranes.
Q: What benefits are associated with this initiative?
A: This pilot desalination plant and the associated training and research are a continuation of UASZ collaborative projects, but also of Macaronesian projects supported in sub-Saharan Africa. The E5DES consortium works with and for countries in West Africa, developing decentralized projects that serve the needs expressed by populations, in general, and rural communities in particular. Thanks to this project, UASZ is currently one of the few institutions in Senegal that provide both theoretical and practical training to young Senegalese students, so that any desalination technology put in place can be maintained and operated in a sustainable manner.
Q: What is planned for the near future in the framework of the E5DES project?
A: We are working now with Air Centre and Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias on the organization of a Workshop in Dakar, that will take place on 10 and 11 November 2022,which aims to bring together the main water players in Senegal in order to generate innovative solutions for intelligent and sustainable management of desalination systems. The expected results of this Workshop will influence the multidisciplinary and priority areas of training and research such as: the intrinsic use of renewable energies and the promotion of the circular economy in desalination, the improvement of the quality of desalinated water, the treatment of brine discharges, the intelligent control of desalination plants, emerging technologies of desalination and the energy efficiency of processes, among others.
Q: Is the UASZ planning to continue cooperating on new projects with the E5DES consortium?
A: The UASZ and the E5DES consortium would be very pleased to keep the actual dynamic by means of the next Interreg-MAC project call. Particularly, an area of high interest is the drinking water and energy access to the populations of the Casamance Islands or the rural communities in central Senegal, which are forced to use hazardous water for human consumption, with fluorine levels between 5 and 15 mg/L (WHO guideline: 0.5 – 1.5 mg/L) and more than 3 g/L of total dissolved solids (TDS).
E5DES project is 85 % co-funded by the European Union program INTERREG MAC 2014-2020 (MAC2/1.1a/309), by means of the European Regional Development Fund – ERDF.