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GDF Suez and Suez Env to research 100% solar desal

French duo join forces with Abu Dhabi Future Energy Fund and Masdar Institute to study world first.

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Gerard Mestrallet, CEO of GDF Suez
Gerard Mestrallet, CEO of GDF Suez

GDF Suez, Suez Environnement and local organisations Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, have teamed up to study the possibility of using 100% solar energy to desalinate seawater, a feat that would be a world first.

The research contract was signed yesterday at the World Future Energy Forum in Abu Dhabi in the presence of Segolene Royal, French Minister of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

This project is part of a contract signed in June 2014 by Suez Environnement subsidiary Degremont to build 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, a joint statement says.

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.

Suez Environnement, world leader in seawater desalination using reverse osmosis through its subsidiary Degremont, is a major player in the Middle East in water treatment and desalination.

Following the construction and operation of water treatment plants in Jordan, Degremont 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 in Saudi Arabia.

GDF Suez is the leading independent power and desalinated water producer in the Gulf Cooperation Council region where the Group owns five 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 Degremont.

Gerard 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 CEO of Suez Environnement in charge of the International Division, said: “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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