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Robert (Bob) Allen
Senior Manager, Chemistry/Materials
IBM Research - Almaden, San Jose, CA, USA

I lead a department of wildly innovative chemists and materials scientists here at Almaden. We began to focus on Smarter Planet about 4 years ago specifically in the areas of water, the environment, healthcare and energy. On the water front, we have recently developed two materials that may be game changing - one is an antimicrobial/anti-bacterial coating for membrane filtration that has been shown to strongly inhibit growth of e-coli among other things; the other material (we call i-phobe 2) is a very high performing reverse osmosis membrane for seawater desalination. We plan to pilot these membranes in the world's first solar powered desalination plant in Saudi Arabia through a great partnership with KACST.