GE, partners launch world's largest membrane-based water filtration project

The new Sulaibiya wastewater treatment plant, built in a partnership with the Kuwaiti government and Mohammed Abdulmohsin Al-Kharafi & Sons Co., will purify more than one million gallons of wastewater (375, 000 cubic meters/day) each day for use in agricultural and industrial uses...

TREVOSE, PA, March 16, 2005 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- In a ceremony attended by more than 400 people, which included representatives from the highest level of the Kuwaiti Government, GE Infrastructure's Water & Process Technologies business helped dedicate the world's largest membrane based wastewater filtration project and the company's first major water project in the Middle East.

"Water is the lifeblood of industries and communities around the world, and scarcity, increasing demand and rising costs are driving the need to conserve, reuse and identify new supplies of this essential resource," said George Oliver, president and CEO of GE's Water & Process Technologies business. "By 2025, nearly 50% of the world's population will live in water stressed areas according to the World Meteorological Association and many in the Middle East face this reality today."

The new Sulaibiya wastewater treatment plant, built in a partnership with the Kuwaiti government and Mohammed Abdulmohsin Al-Kharafi & Sons Co., will purify more than one million gallons of wastewater (375, 000 cubic meters/day) each day for use in agricultural and industrial uses.

"GE is proud to work with the Kuwaiti government and Kharafi Group to address the water needs for the people of Kuwait. The Sulaibiya plant is the first step in building solutions for tomorrow," adds Lynne Rowland, marketing director of GE's desalination platform.

In order to address the growing demand for its water and energy technologies, GE has been investing in the region with major offices now located throughout the Middle East. Company representatives say that its water technology is one of the company's fastest growing segments in the Middle East.

GE's world-class infrastructure technology and its expertise in financing and management make it uniquely qualified to help build the region's energy, transportation, water and healthcare capabilities and establish a foundation for lasting economic growth.

Currently, countries in the Middle East produce more than one half of the world's desalinated water and experts predict this to increase in the water stressed region.

"GE has been expanding its portfolio of technologies, such as the recent acquisition of Ionics, to help address water scarcity," said GE Middle East and Africa President and CEO Nabil Habayeb. "GE fully anticipates more projects like the Sulaibiya plant in the coming years. By combining advanced membrane and filtration technology with expertise from GE's Energy business and financing programs, GE has eliminated many of the barriers preventing more widespread adoption of desalination."

The Sulaibiya facility is the world's largest membrane-based water reclamation facility. Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology, used in the plant, is well proven for desalinating municipal effluent. The salinity of the municipal effluent has an average monthly value of 1,280 mg/l Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), with a maximum value of 3,014 mg/l. RO will be used to desalinate the water to 100 mg/l TDS, as well as provide a second barrier to bacteria and viruses.

Since this is a build, own, operate and maintain contract, the consortium will also be responsible for running the plant once construction is complete. GE will operate the water reclamation facility. The purified water will be used for non-potable uses that are currently competing with the drinking water supply, thus ensuring that the citizens of Kuwait have adequate water.

"We believe that the combination of technology, services support network and project financial expertise will accelerate the development of technology solutions for the global water purification segment, with the ultimate goal of increasing access to safe drinking water while providing industrial customers with greater access to ultrapure water sources," adds Oliver.

By combining GE and Ionics' technologies, engineering resources, global management capabilities and financial offerings, the company is positioned as a leader in the desalination and water reuse segment serving municipal and industrial customers. The company can develop customized solutions that utilize desalination and water reuse technologies for municipal and industrial applications.

GE & Ionics' established technologies, engineering resources and global management capabilities, strengthens and expands our ability to provide solutions to our customers' most pressing water needs.

By integrating technology for both water and power applications, GE specializes in designing, building and operating desalination and wastewater reuse systems. Our customized systems for municipal and industrial markets can achieve flow rates of 30,000 gallons/day and up to 100MM gallons/day, and can produce reuse water for drinking, agriculture or irrigation.

GE Water & Process Technologies (, the integration of GE Betz and GE Osmonics, is a leading global supplier of water, wastewater and process systems solutions. Water & Process Technologies products and services are used to optimize total water/process system performance, safeguard customer assets from corrosion, fouling and scaling, and protect the environment through water and energy conservation.


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