New membrane technology company established in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 18, 2010 -- ACWA Holding, Toyobo Co., Ltd. and ITOCHU Corporation have established a new company to manufacture reverse osmosis membrane elements for seawater desalination in Saudi Arabia...

Feb 18th, 2010

• ACWA Holding, Toyobo and ITOCHU from Japan establish new company to localize membrane technology in Saudi Arabia under the Patronage of H.E. the Minister of Water and Electricity

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Feb. 18, 2010 -- ACWA Holding, Toyobo Co., Ltd. and ITOCHU Corporation have established a new company to manufacture reverse osmosis membrane elements for seawater desalination on Tuesday Feb. 16th, 2010 under the patronage of H.E. Engineer Abdulah Al-Hossein, the Minister of Water and Electricity. The signing ceremony was held in the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh witnessed by a large number of guests especially H.E. Dr. Khalid Al-Sulaiman the Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industry for Industrial Affairs, H.E. Dr. Tawfig Alrabiah the Director General of Saudi Industrial Property Authority (MODON).

The new company, named Arabian Japanese Membrane Company, will be the first manufacturing facility in the whole Middle East and North Africa region. Rabigh technical Park in the western region of Saudi Arabia, 150 KM north of Jeddah on the Red Sea, will accommodate the manufacturing facility with production scheduled to begin in March 2011 localizing the vital and the latest technology from Toyobo.

The partners estimate the total investment in the next decade to be around SAR 1,320 million (USD 350 million) in the Head Quarter and manufacturing facility in Rabigh and a sales office in the capital Riyadh. The company will manufacture Reverses Osmosis membrane elements for Seawater desalination using Hollow fiber technology. The membranes manufactured will supply potable water to Saudi Arabia, which is considered the largest country in the world to utilize seawater desalination technology due to the scarcity of natural water resources. Securing water resources is a particularly paramount importance issue in Saudi Arabia, and this new company will contribute to secure an integral part of potable water supply in Saudi Arabia.

The local partner, ACWA Holding, is a leading infrastructural developer in the region, especially in the water and power sectors, having major ownership in over 25 companies in this region. One of them had bid and won four IWPP projects in Saudi Arabia. The Japanese partner in the new company, Toyobo has over two decades of experience in sales and operations in the seawater desalination business in Saudi Arabia. Toyobo famous membranes technology is already utilized in most of the largest desalination plants in the Middle East, including the Shuqaiq plant (212,000 m³ per day) and RAWEC plant (216,000 m³ per day). Toyobo boasts 80% of the seawater desalination membrane market in Saudi Arabia and over half the share in the Middle East/Gulf region. Toyobo's desalination elements utilize the principle of Reverse Osmosis, by applying pressure greater than that of osmotic pressure to allow water to permeate through the membrane while preventing ions from passing through the membrane. The membrane is Hollow Fiber made from Cellulose Triacetate, which is highly resistant to the residual chlorine, used to prevent the growth of microorganisms. These elements have an excellent track record in many plants in Japan and around the world.

The third partner ITOCHU has considerable experience building seawater desalination plants in Saudi Arabia since 1970's. Elsewhere from the beginning of 1980's, ITOCHU has been promoting Toyobo Seawater RO Desalination Membranes in the Gulf Region. In addition, it has another company with ACWA Holding in the desalination plant construction and engineering.

###

More in Treatment
Water Utility Management
Meeting freshwater demand in Florida