Research underway in Saudi Arabia to look at how solar power can be harnessed for desalination processes is paying off as the country looks set to increase capacity.
Reports from Arab News suggest that the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) will establish three new solar-powered desalination plants to reduce dependence on oil.
Abdul Rahman Al-Ibrahim, governor of the corporation, was quoted as saying that two solar-powered desalination plants are currently operating in Al-Khafji and Jubail, and SWCC is planning to establish three more plants in Haqel, Dhuba and Farasan.
Al-Ibrahim confirmed progress on the desalination plant being constructed in Ras Al-Khair, adding it would be ready within two years.
“Electricity production at the Ras Al-Khair plant will start in April 2013, while desalination water production in 2014,” the governor reportedly said. About 55% of work on the project has been completed.
Speaking about new plants, he said Shuaiba-4 would supply an additional 240,000 cubic meters of water to Jeddah, while the Ras Al-Khair plant would pump a million cubic meters of water to Riyadh. Yanbu-3 will supply 550,000 cubic meters.
The solar powered desalination progress follows a research project between IBM Research and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia (see Water & Wastewater International story).
Elsewhere in the Middle East, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi (EAD) is more than two thirds of the way through a trial to construct 30 mini solar desalination plants across the Emirate (see WWi story).