Masdar launches pioneering desalination technology

A pilot program to test and develop energy-efficient seawater desalination technologies, which can be powered by renewable energy sources, has launched in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Renewable energy company Masdar are responsible for the launch which was announced at the inaugural International Water Summit, part of the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week – the Middle East’s largest gathering on sustainability.

The Gulf region accounts for nearly 50% of the world’s desalinated water and in the UAE, seawater desalination requires about 10 times more energy than surface fresh water production.

Desalination costs are projected to increase by 300% but by pairing state-of-the-art energy efficient desalination technologies with renewable energy, the program aims to significantly reduce energy consumption.

Working with technology partners and investors, the pilot program includes three test sites in the UAE and will operate for three and a half years.

Masdar CEO Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “The availability of potable water is one of the most pressing issues in the world, particularly in the Gulf region where water production is a costly and energy-intensive process.

“With the UAE’s growing economy and rising population, it is crucial that we identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet our long-term water needs.

“Connecting desalination technologies to renewable energy enables us to capitalize on our abundant resources, such as solar, as a solution to improve water security.”

The International Desalination Association president Dr. Corrado Sommariva welcomed the move claiming that the Middle East was in the process of addressing its long-term sustainable water access and security issues.

“Masdar is embarking on an important path of discovery by advancing industrial-scale, sustainable desalination technologies capable of meeting the region’s future demand for fresh drinking water,” he said.

Conor McGlone

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