Saudi Arabia and IBM to Develop Solar-powered Desalination Plant

Green Prophet’s post on solar powered desalination plants earlier this year reported Saudi Arabia’s interest in harnessing solar energy to drive its growing array of desalination plants. This week the oil-rich kingdom announced a partnership with IBM to pursue this goal. King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia’s leading R&D institute, will team with IBM to study the possibility of building a solar powered desalination plant in the city of Al Khafji, in the northeast of the country, according to a report in ArabianBusiness.com.

The solar-powered facility would feature ultra-high concentrator photovoltaic (UHCPV) technology, jointly developed by IBM and KACST, and could provide 30,000 cubic meters of water per day for over 100,000 people. Today, the most common methods used for seawater desalination are thermal technology and reverse osmosis.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, and we continue to invest in new ways of making access to fresh water more affordable,” said Dr Turki Al-Saud, a vice president at KACST.

“Our collaborative research with KACST has led to innovative technologies in the areas of solar power and of water desalination,” said Sharon Nunes, a vice president at IBM Big Green Innovations.

“By bringing these new technologies together, we will create an energy-efficient system we believe can be implemented across Saudi Arabia and around the world.”

Let’s hope other Middle East countries follow the lead. Desalination plants are energy intensive and don’t make sense, if they can’t be powered with a clean fuel source.

Image via Memri Economic Blog

Read more on desalination in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Arabia to Replace Oil with Sun Power for Desalination Plants

Saudi Arabia Opens World’s Largest Desalination Plant

Japan and Saudi Arabia Plan Giant Desalination Equipment Plant to “Freshen Up” Regional Water Supplies

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