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Abengoa chosen for solar desal plant in Saudi

Spanish firm to jointly develop 60,000 m3/d project in Al Khafji.

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Abengoa is part of the Shams 1 CSP plant in Abu Dhabi
Abengoa is part of the Shams 1 CSP plant in Abu Dhabi

Abengoa has been selected by Advanced Water Technology (AWT) to jointly develop the world’s first large-scale desalination plant to be powered by solar energy, in Saudi Arabia.

The plant will produce 60,000 m3 of water per day to supply Al Khafji City in North Eastern Saudi Arabia, ensuring a constant water supply throughout the year.

The project incorporates a photovoltaic plant capable of supplying the power required by the desalination process, significantly reducing the operational costs, Abengoa said in a statement.

It will also have a system to optimize power consumption and a pre-treatment phase to reduce the high level of salinity and the oils and fats that are present in the region’s seawater.

AWT is a newly formed company based in Riyadh whose mission is to bring affordable water solutions through innovation and sustainability.

It is the commercial arm of KACST (King Abdulaziz City Science and Technology) and is owned by Taqnia.

This latest contract will increase Abengoa’s global desalination capacity to nearly 1.5 million m3/day, enough to supply 8.5 million people.

It will also strengthen its position in the Middle East where it has already been awarded major projects in the water sector, such as the Barka desalination plant in Oman, and in the energy sector, such as the region’s largest solar plant, in Abu Dhabi.

For AWT, this represents its initial foray into the upstream activities of desalination water production.

It plans to expand its activities in the near future to include downstream activities such as water reuse and water management.

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