Water Warriors

Rolf Keil, Toray, on why his company is a membrane supplier of choice in the Middle East.


What has been Toray Membrane’s position in the Middle Eastern market over the years?

For many years, Toray has been the supplier of choice for large seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination and waste water treatment plants (WWTP) in the Middle East and beyond. Our membranes are successfully used in the largest operating SWRO plant in the Middle East located in Bahrain and the largest operating WWTP in the GCC located in Kuwait, to name just two of many outstanding highlights.

Building on such sound history, Toray recently added significant SWRO capacity extensions at plants in the UAE as well as several major, near-completion projects in Saudi Arabia, Oman and Iraq. With most currently secured membrane supply awards for the first two major SWRO plants in Qatar, Toray’s undisputed quality leadership position is extended year by year.

How is Toray Membrane currently solving the world’s most challenging global water issues?

Toray is constantly engaged in advancing R&D efforts to provide the world’s best membrane products, with new ranges in all sectors of RO, Ultrafiltration (UF) and Membrane Bioreactors (MBR) introduced this year; guided by the Toray corporate philosophy key formula: “to contribute to people and society”. Years of close and committed cooperation with key design engineers, operators and governmental partners along with the ability to listen carefully and respond with tailor-made solutions have allowed Toray to become the most reliable partner in meeting the current and future challenges to provide water to people and industries alike, at the highest level of environmental and economical consideration.

Toray offers product and active engagement embracing the full scope of water utility system membrane requirements, from a small rural water treatment system on remote Indonesian islands, to the largest seawater RO desalination plants in the world, such as Magtaa in Algeria, serving 2 million people.

What is Toray Membrane’s latest product innovation, and why do buyers need it?

Toray has succeeded in the development and introduction of a highly durable RO membrane element; stabilizing sub-nanometer sized fine pore structure with Toray’s proprietary molecular design and interfacial polymerization technology.

As a result, Toray announced the success in enhancing the durability of reverse osmosis membrane with high water permeability and high capacity for removal of ions and organic compounds by leveraging the company’s original nanotechnologies, making it stronger against acids, alkalis and chlorine used during cleaning.

The new Toray advanced membrane technology imparts both, high durability against chemical cleaning and outstanding separation properties with the newly introduced “D-Series” of RO elements which have already been used successfully.

Toray Industries Inc. and Abunayyan Holding have recently launched a joint venture, Toray Membrane Middle East LLC (TMME), what is the role of the new company in Saudi Arabia?

TMME is a 50/50 joint venture, with an industrial manufacturing and technical service center facility, located in Dammam. The plant is scheduled to start operation in the middle of 2015 and will add locally made RO membrane capacity to the Toray portfolio. TMME’s added capacity will offer Toray customers faster and more economic logistics from within the MENA region, plus all advantages of a ‘made in GCC’ quality product that comes with local technical service on site.

TMME will respond to dynamic market trends, covering the diverse MENA region. For example the increasing demand for low fouling RO membranes in waste water reclamation systems and low pressure operations with smaller commercial units in rural and industrial market segments as well as the line-up of major seawater RO desalination projects across the MENA region.

With the complete range of RO, UF and MBR products, Toray is also in the lead to partner with commercial operators by offering superior integrated system warranties and dedicated technical services from day one throughout extended concession contract periods.

What is your outlook on the MENA water market in the years to come?

The growing demand for water along demographic developments in the MENA region has attracted newcomers to the industry. This has put pressure on the qualitative bottom-line balance sheet outlook as a manufacturer.At the same time, the quantitative outlook is positive for continued growing demand, offering a tangible opportunity from a top-line balance sheet perspective in the near and long-term future. Toray’s position is based on strong commitment to the MENA region, with a clear focus on always offering the most advanced quality membranes and to thus help build a truly sustainable water and waste water industry.


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