Overcoming harmful algal blooms: Ras Al Khaimah’s desalination plant open for business

March 19, 2015
Ras Al Khaimah's newly opened SWRO project will use dissolved air flotation (DAF) as part of its pre-treatment to overcome the regional challenge of harmful algal blooms...

The United Arab Emirates (UAE)’s capital state of Abu Dhabi may be generating headlines on the coupling of solar and desalination technologies but this week has seen its smaller Emirate brother open a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) project.

Located in Ghallilah in Ras Al Khaimah, the 68,130 m3/day project costing Dhs320m ($87.1 million) was built by Aquatech for the Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA).

Aquatech was awarded the engineering-procurement-construction (EPC) contract to build the SWRO project in June 2011. This included the civil works, buildings and electrical and mechanical installation.

The contract was extremely competitive at the time, with 15 EPC bids being submitted.

The Ghallilah SWRO has been designed to “overcome the red tide phenomena”, caused by algal blooms that can discolour coastal waters and potentially “shut down the desalination plant”, according to Aquatech.

Commonly called red tides, the threat of harmful algal blooms (HABs) is not new but is growing in scale and significance.

A report from the Middle East Desalination Research Center (MEDRC) said: “HABs can restrict operations in desalination plants by clogging filters” and that “other impacts include fouling of surfaces due to dissolved organic materials that can also compromise the integrity of RO membranes, or that can cause taste and odour problems”.

Dr Vikrant Sarin, manager – technology & business development for Aquatech, told WWi magazine: “Red tide (algal blooms) is a big problem in this region for desalination plant operators. Dissolved air flotation (DAF) was specifically included in the design to tackle this problem and is installed as part of the pre-treatment. Pilot studies were done by FEWA to arrive on the design.”

A total of 4,788 SWRO membrane modules were provided by Toray for the Ghallilah project, alongside X-Flow UF membranes by Pentair (Norit).

Mohammed Saleh, director of FEWA said that the new plant will increase reservoir water storage to over 90,000 cubic metres, according to local source, The Gulf Today.

Read more

Scaling up the Middle East’s Renewable Desalination Since May 2014, four companies have been working on a pilot project to develop energy efficient and renewable energy desalination technology in Abu Dhabi, as part of the Masdar Renewable Energy Seawater Desalination Program. What progress has been made on the project so far?

Reverse osmosis desalination plant set to boost UAE capacity Abu Dhabi’s international energy and water company, TAQA, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Federal Electricity & Water Authority (FEWA) to develop a standalone seawater desalination plant in Al Zawra in the Emirate of Ajman…

SUEZ awarded two new desalination, wastewater treatment contracts in the Middle East SUEZ to design, construct and operate a desalination plant at the new Mirfa Independent Water and Power Project in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi…

About the Author

Tom Freyberg

Tom Freyberg is an experienced environmental journalist, having worked across a variety of business-to-business titles. Since joining Pennwell in 2010, he has been influential in developing international partnerships for the water brand and has overseen digital developments, including 360 degree video case studies. He has interviewed high level figures, including NYSE CEO’s and Environmental Ministers. A known figure in the global water industry, Tom has chaired and spoken at conferences around the world, from Helsinki, to London and Singapore. An English graduate from Exeter University, Tom completed his PMA journalism training in London.

Sponsored Recommendations

SmartSights WIN-911 Alarm Notification Software Enables Faster Response

March 15, 2024
Alarm notification software enables faster response for customers, keeping production on track

Automated Fresh Water Treatment

March 15, 2024
SCADA, Automation and Control for Efficient and Compliant Operations

Digital Transformation Enables Smart Water

March 15, 2024
During this webinar we will discuss factors driving the transformation to digital water, water industry trends, followed by a summary of solutions (products & services) available...

Automation for Water Treatment and Distribution Systems

Jan. 31, 2024
Dependable, Flexible Control Solutions to Maximize Productivity