Water/Wastewater

  • Solar-Powered Seawater Desalination Research Contract Signed in Abu Dhabi

Solar-Powered Seawater Desalination Research Contract Signed in Abu Dhabi

Jan 29 2015 Read 2442 Times

At the World Future Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, a research contract to study seawater desalination using solar power was signed by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, GDF SUEZ and SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT in the presence of Ségolène Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy. The contract provides for a study of possible use of 100% solar power to desalinate seawater, a feat that would be a world premiere. 

This project is part of a contract signed in June 2014 by the SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT subsidiary Degrémont to construct a pilot seawater desalination plant potentially powered by 100% renewable energy and with minimal environmental impact. The challenge is important for a region experiencing strong economic development, with limited water resources. 

Given heavy energy consumption involved in the desalination process, the use of solar energy to power seawater desalination plants is a major technical and economic challenge, even though over the past 15 years significant progress has been made in cutting the energy required in half. GDF SUEZ and SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT have for years positioned themselves in the region for these questions.

SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT, world leader in seawater desalination using reverse osmosis through its subsidiary Degrémont, is a major player in the Middle East in water treatment and desalination. Following the construction and operation of water treatment plants in Jordan, Degrémont completed the 5th expansion of the Doha West wastewater treatment plant, as well as wastewater treatment plants at Barwa City and Lusail in Qatar. The company recently supplied and installed 33 modular desalination units for treating brackish water at Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).

For its part, GDF SUEZ is the leading independent power and desalinated water producer in the Gulf Cooperation Council region where the Group owns 5 electricity generation and water production plants in the United Arab Emirates and manages a portfolio with an electricity production capacity of 27 GW and a desalination capacity of 5,273,000 m3/day, in operation and under construction.

The research contract signed today will be performed by “GDF SUEZ Lab Middle East, India & Africa” the new GDF SUEZ R&D laboratory at Abu Dhabi, supported by Laborelec and in collaboration with the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and Degrémont. Gérard Mestrallet, CEO of GDF SUEZ, declared: ”This new contract perfectly illustrates the desire of GDF SUEZ to focus its Research and Development on the most innovative sustainable development technologies. R&D is thus serving our strategy to be leader in energy transition.”

Marie-Ange Debon, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT in charge of the International Division, declared: “Our company, which is at the cutting edge of water treatment technologies, is proud to participate in this project and to go further in providing sustainable solutions through renewable energy applications.”


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