Noreddine Ghaffour, Ph.D.



Research Interests

​The current desalination technologies are very energy-intensive compared to the thermodynamic limits, despite recent technical improvements. Furthermore, membrane technology development is hampered by relatively low flux performances and membrane fouling. My research work focuses on reducing the cost of desalination for water supply sustainability by improving the performance of the existing desalination technologies and developing innovative low-energy desalination processes, which could be driven by renewable energy in an integrated system.

Selected Publications

  • Transport phenomena and fouling in vacuum enhanced direct contact membrane distillation: Experimental and modelling 
    G. Naidu, W.G. Shim, S. Jeong, Y.K. Choi, N. Ghaffour, S. Vigneswaran
    Separation and Purification Technology, Volume 172, pp. 285-295, (2017)
  • Dynamic modeling and experimental validation for direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) process 
    F. Eleiwi, N. Ghaffour, A. Al-Saadi, L. Francis, T.M. Laleg-Kirati
    Desalination, Volume 384, 1-11, (2016)
  • A novel integrated thermal-/membrane-based solar energy-driven hybrid desalination system: Concept description and ... 
    Y.-D. Kim, K. Thu, K.C. Ng, G.L. Amy, N. Ghaffour
    Water Research, Volume 100, 7-19, (2016)
  • Effect of operating parameters and membrane characteristics on air gap membrane distillation performance for the tr... 
    J. Xu, Y.B. Singh, G.L. Amy, N. Ghaffour
    Journal of Membrane Science, Volume 512, pp. 73-82, (2016)
  • Spiral-shaped reactor for water disinfection 
    S. Soukane, F. Ait-Djoudi, W.M. Naceur, N. Ghaffour
    Desalination and Water Treatment, pp. 1-16, (2016)
  • Evaluation of potential particulate/colloidal TEP foulants on a pilot scale SWRO desalination study 
    S. Li, S. Sinha, T.O. Leiknes, G.L. Amy, N. Ghaffour
    Desalination, Volume 393, pp. 127-134, (2016)
  • Analysis of direct contact membrane distillation based on a lumped-parameter dynamic predictive model 
    A.M. Karam, A.S. Alsaadi, N. Ghaffour, T.M. Laleg
    Desalination, Volume 402, pp. 50-61, (2016)
  • Transparent exopolymer particles (TEP) removal efficiency by a combination of coagulation and ultrafiltration to mi... 
    S. Li, S.-T. Lee, S. Sinha, T.O. Leiknes, G.L. Amy, N. Ghaffour
    Water Research, Volume 102, pp. 485-493, (2016)
  • Renewable energy-driven innovative energy-efficient desalination technologies 
    N. Ghaffour, S. Lattemann, T.M. Missimer, K.C. Ng, S. Sinha, G.L. Amy
    Applied Energy, 136, 11551165, (2014)
  • Performance modeling of direct contact membrane distillation (DCMD) seawater desalination process using a commercia... 
    J.-G. Lee, Y.-D. Kim, W.-S. Kim, L. Francis, G.L. Amy, N. Ghaffour
    Journal of Membrane Science 478, 85-95, (2015)


  • ​Qualification for Candidacy Associate Professor, CNU (University National Council), Ministry of Higher Education, Research & Technology, Section 62, France, 1997
  • Ph.D., Membrane Separation Technology (MSP), University of Montpellier, France, 1995
  • M.S., Process Engineering (MSP), University of Montpellier, France, 1992
  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering and Energy, INGM/INSA, Algeria/France, 1991

Professional Profile

  • ​2018-Present: Full Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2015-2018: Research Professor, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2010-2014: Principal Research Scientist, KAUST, Saudi Arabia
  • 2003-2010: Senior R&D and Capacity Building Project Manager, Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC), International R&D Institution, headquarter in Muscat, Oman
  • 2002-2003: Engineer-Consultant and Trainer (Water Treatment Technologies), FiltraTech, France
  • 1998-2002: Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department (R&A/C), Jeddah College of Technology, Saudi Arabia
  • 1995-1998: R&D Engineer/Post-Doc Researcher, Laboratory of Materials and Membrane Processes (LMPM), Montpellier University, France

Scientific and Professional Membership

  • ​Member: Desalination & Water Treatment (DWT); Scientific Research Committee in different Universities and Research Centers; International Desalination Association (IDA), European Desalination Society (EDS), Global Water Intelligence/Water Desalination Report (GWI/WDR), American Water Intelligence (AWI), American Water Works Association (AWWA), American Membrane Technology Association (AMTA), International Water Association (IWA).
  • Member, Consulting Group A2E (France)
  • Member/Consultant, Project Advisory Committee (PAC), MEDRC
  • Editorial Board member of: i) Mediterranean Journal of Chemistry & ii) International Journal of Water Sciences.
  • Advisory editorial board member of the book series Sustainable Energy Developments published by CRC Press.


  • KAUST-Seed Fund Award, US$430K, 2013-2014
  • Granted US$5.5m from industry/research centers for several R&D projects
  • Granted US$1.2m from different private/government institutions to develop capacity building programs
  • Awarded the 'Youngest Engineer Degree Holder', 1991, and 'PhD Degree Holder', 1995​

KAUST Affiliations

  • ​Water Desalination and Reuse Center (WDRC)
  • Division of Biological and Environmental Sciences and Engineering (BESE)​

Research Interests Keywords

Forward Osmosis Sustainable desalination Membrane distillation Hybrid systems Membrane fouling and mitigation Membrane cleaning Renewable Energy