Israel has been a world leader in desalination technology and projects by through companies like Tahal and IDE Technologies. IDE has already constructed more than 400 desalination plants in 40 countries, including at least 3 in Israel – the world’s largest reverse osmosis plants. Now IDE is expanding its foreign operations even more by signing a deal with China’s large Tianjin SDIC electricity company to build four additional Multi-Effect Distillation (MED) desalination units, each with a production capacity of 25,000 cubic meters of distilled water per day. The idea is to power the plants using wasted heat from other sources.
The four new Chinese plants which will convert processed steam into fresh water, will together with previously constructed desalination plants, result in a total daily capacity of 200,000 cubic meters per day making it China’s largest desalination plant complex. The desalinated water will be used both by the power plant to generate electricity as well as for drinking by residents of Tianjin, a city of more than 12 million people.
Tianjin steam process desalination plant
IDE likes to pride itself in finding environmental friendly methods of producing fresh water from the sea. The company has completed plants like one in Hadera to meet Israel’s increasing needs for fresh water while looking for greener ways to produce it.
Avahalom Felber, IDE’s CEO, said recently in regards to their desalination projects in China and other parts of Asia:
“We are proud to have been selected once again by one of the world’s most advanced power plants to provide a state-of-the-art desalination solution. This ambitious project strengthens our position in the strategic China market, and in the Asia Pacific region as a whole, which has been a focus of our activities for more than two decades.”
Instead of producing fresh water via reverse osmosis processes, which many desalination plants are now doing in countries like Saudi Arabia, IDE’s Multi Effect Desalination (MED) claims to be the industry’s most cost-efficient solution for producing high-quality water by use of low cost steam.
By using advanced technologies and know-how developed over the past 45 years, the underlying MED concept involves vaporizing seawater, followed by multiple usages of energy-efficient evaporation and condensation processes.
IDE is 50 percent owned by Yitzhak Tshuva’s Delek Group; which is now heavily involved in offshore natural gas wells in the Eastern Mediterranean. Natural gas from these wells will eventually provide the energy required to produce electricity for not only IDE’s Israeli desalination plants, but for the country’s national power grid as well. Natural gas can enable Israel to become a leader in energy production as well as desalination.
Some environmentalists argue that Israel doesn’t need desalination, but steeper rates on water used in agriculture, and more water efficient behavior at the tap.
More about desalination:
New Hadera Desalination Plant May Help Restore Water to Lower Jordan River
Israel Sends Wrong Message About Desalination
Saudi Arabia’s Desalination Market is a $50 Billion Opportunity