GE, Algerian government inaugurate Africa's largest seawater desalination plant

A persistent shortage of potable water in the city of Algiers, Algeria, has been eased as the US $250 million Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant (SWDP) was officially opened by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Jeff Garwood, president and CEO, GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company. Completed on time and on budget in 24 months, the Hamma SWDP uses GE's ecomagination-certified RO membranes to purify up to 200,000 m3 (53 million gallons) of seawater per day...

Feb 25th, 2008

• GE brings drought-proof water supply to millions in Algiers; Expects to grow large structured water projects by 80% in 2008

ALGIERS, Algeria, and TREVOSE, PA, Feb. 24, 2008 -- A persistent shortage of potable water in the city of Algiers, Algeria, was eased today as the US $250 million Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant (SWDP) was officially opened by Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika and Jeff Garwood, president and CEO, GE Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company. Completed on time and on budget in 24 months, the Hamma SWDP uses GE's advanced ecomagination-certified reverse osmosis membranes to purify up to 200,000 cubic meters (53 million gallons) of seawater per day -- providing as many as two million residents of Algiers with a reliable and drought-proof supply of fresh water.

For many years adequate water supplies in Algiers were nearly unattainable, as residential and industrial demand has significantly outstripped supply. More than 2.5 million rural dwellers have resettled in the city of Algiers over the past half-century, inflating the population and severely straining the city's water supplies and infrastructure. As a result, residents faced serious water shortages, and often received water for only a few hours each day or sometimes only once every three days.

"We are proud to be a partner in the Hamma Seawater Desalination Plant -- it is a great example of how private and public partnerships can help solve urgent water needs," said Garwood. "Partnerships like this one, with the Algerian Government and AEC, combined with our global scale, financing capabilities, and broad portfolio of equipment, chemicals and services put GE in a unique position to provide solutions for the world's growing water challenges. Our momentum continues to build and in 2008 we expect to grow GE's large structured projects, like Hamma, by 80 percent. We are excited about our prospects in the coming year and we look forward to delivering affordable, on-time and on-budget water treatment solutions to customers around the globe."

Hamma SWDP is also North Africa's first large-scale reverse osmosis desalination plant to be funded by a joint venture that combines public and private equity investment. The special project company, Hamma Water Desalination SpA combines 70 percent funding from General Electric and 30 percent from the state-owned Algerian Energy Company. The Overseas Private Investment Company, which helps U.S. businesses invest in new and emerging overseas markets, financed U.S. $200 million towards the project. GE was also awarded a 25-year contract to operate and maintain the plant.

With the opening of the Hamma SWDP, GE continues to extend its leadership position in delivering large-scale seawater desalination plants that use advanced, ecomagination-certified membrane technology to create new sources of clean, fresh water. GE desalination technology is currently used in over 1,500 plants worldwide, providing more than two billion gallons of freshwater per day for municipal, industrial and agricultural use. GE's ecomagination products are independently verified to help solve tough environmental challenges by producing abundant sources of clean water; cleaner, more efficient sources of energy; and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

GE Water & Process Technologies offers a broad portfolio of water and process technologies, including: separation equipment; membrane & filtration technology; diagnostic tools; specialty chemicals; mobile water capabilities; service; and financing.

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