Life after Ghantoot: Solar powered desalination footprint to be expanded by Mascara

Jan. 17, 2017
Mascara has reported positive results from its solar desalination trial in Abu Dhabi and has since signed multiple international projects...

ABU DHABI, UAE – French engineering company Mascara has reported positive results from its off-grid solar desalination trial in Abu Dhabi and has since signed multiple international projects, WWi has learned.

The company achieved a 3-3.3 kilowatt hour per cubic metre (kWh/m3) energy usage rate for its 40 m3/day desalination plant, against an overall target for 3.6 kWh.

It was a year ago that WWi magazine reported how the French company would be the fifth desalination trial to join the Ghantoot site, as part of the Masdar trials, joining Veolia (Sidem), Suez, Trevi Systems and Abengoa (read story).

Speaking to WWi magazine on the sidelines of the International Water Summit, Daniel Villessot, president of the supervisory board for Mascara, said the company has now signed projects in Tunisia and Bora Bora in the Pacific Islands.

In Tunisia, a 1000 m3/day plant has been confirmed with water utility Sonede, with 50% of the €1.2 million project cost fronted by Mascara with the hope that the remaining 50% will be provided by partner Masdar.

This project will use a hybrid approach – so water filtration is powered by solar panels during the daytime but reverts to grid power during the night.

Meanwhile, a separate solar powered reverse osmosis (RO) unit is also currently being shipped to Bora Bora, a small South Pacific Island.

This will be a smaller, 80 m3/day demonstration project designed to test the system in a very remote location, without grid access.

Unlike the Tunisian project, which will be a grid/solar hybrid, Bora Bora will be purely off-grid designed to test system reliability in very remote, challenging conditions.

In a separate interview, Mohamed Abdelqader El Ramahi, director of asset management, engineering & operations at Masdar said that results from the other trials with Veolia, Suez, Abengoa and Trevi Systems will be jointly released in the summer.

While Middle Eatern nations continue a race to demonstrate large-scale solar desalination, including a 60,000 m3/day development in Saudi Arabia (read article), the Mascara pilot project has been the first to release results and looks to be capitalising on the trial data, slowly scaling up its operations.

- The full video interview with Daniel Villessot will appear online shortly.


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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.