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WELL-TRAVELLED WATER ENGINEER FINDS UNIQUE CHALLENGES AT EVERY SYSTEM
FluksAqua Community, FluksAqua insights, Wastewater Management, Water and wastewater community, Tagged
automation, challenge, innovation,
Hayat Raza brings experience from half-way around the world to his water career. He grew up in Al-Jubail, Saudi Arabia which has the world’s largest Independent Water and Power Project (IWPP) that produces 800,000 m3 of water daily. His early exposure to the largest desalination processing plants using Multi Flash Distillation (MFD) and reverse osmosis technology would lead him to a lifetime interest in water.
His first internship was at MyCelx Corporation after his sophomore year and it introduced him to technology related to hydrocarbon removal for water. In his senior year, he completed a project based on using ozone for treatment of colored textile water waste which is an Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP).
He completed his Master’s study by researching the third generation of bio-fuel technology called Hydrothermal Liquefaction but the basis of the process is to use algae wastewater and convert it in the presence of high temperature, pressure and water into biodiesel and other useful hydrocarbons such as methanol and benzene.
Hayat’s interest in water would bring him to the United States where he obtained his Masters and then worked for a sales and application engineer at Watts Water Technologies for two and a half years. While in this position, he enjoyed the challenges.
INDUSTRY CHALLENGES: CLIMATE CHANGE AND AUTOMATION
“Every day was a new day at work for me with new challenges,” says Raza.
“For example, every state in the US has its own water problems. The west side of Texas has very hard water – 120 grains per gallon in El Paso. But in Wisconsin, there is a major problem with arsenic while the east coast such as Rhode Island has uranium issues. Water chemistry is complex and the treatment scheme used for one project would not be the same somewhere else.”
Hayat sees two major challenges for the industry – climate change and automation.
“As global temperatures rise, it is directly affecting things like water vapor concentrations, clouds and precipitation patterns,” Raza says.
“Automation is bringing technology which has helped us in many ways and has made our lives simpler but over dependence is killing the labor market as the workforce has less practical hands-on skills.”
Being based in San Antonio, water conservation was a major concern in the area. Hayat says there was a lot of water wasted for recreational use. For example, Las Vegas consumes approximately two million gallons per day from various sources. This is the highest consumption of water in the US and most of it is used for recreation.
“Las Vegas is not the only city wasting water but it is an example of the issue,” he explains. “People need to be educated about rainwater harvesting and other water conservation techniques.”
LEARNING AND NETWORKING
To enhance his learning experience, Hayat relied on his colleagues and his own research. He encourages young water professionals to learn from their peers and network with veterans of the industry for guidance. The internet is also another useful tool to learn including forums like the one supported by FluksAqua.
“It gives me the opportunity to learn and share my ideas and experience,” he says. “It is also a great platform for networking with water professionals around the globe.”
Now pursuing a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), Hayat is focused on his eventual goal of being a technology leader or expert for water treatment technologies. He is especially interested in membrane separation technology (i.e. reverse osmosis, nano-filtration). Once his studies are complete, he is eager to start applying his knowledge in the water industry once again.
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