Saudi eyes solar powered desalination plant

Saudi partners with IBM to reduce water and electricity costs with solar powered plant.
Saudi eyes solar powered desalination plant
BRIGHT IDEA: Saudi is investigating the possibility of building a solar powered desalination plant in the city of Al Khafji.
By Shane McGinley
Thu 08 Apr 2010 04:04 PM

In a bid to reduce its water and energy costs, Saudi Arabia has partnered with IBM to develop a solar powered water desalination plant, it was announced on Thursday.

The IT and computing giant has teamed up with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), the Kingdom’s main research and development institute, to investigate the possibility of building a solar powered desalination plant in the city of Al Khafji in the northeast of the country.

The facility would be powered by ultra-high concentrator photovoltaic (UHCPV) technology, jointly developed by IBM and KACST, and could provide 30,000 cubic meters of water per day for over 100,000 people.

“Saudi Arabia is the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, and we continue to invest in new ways of making access to fresh water more affordable,” said Dr Turki Al Saud, vice president for research institutes, KACST.

Currently, the two most commonly used methods for seawater desalination are thermal technology and reverse osmosis, both at a cost of up to 5.5 Saudi Riyals ($1.46) per cubic metre.

“Our collaborative research with KACST has led to innovative technologies in the areas of solar power and of water desalination,” said Sharon Nunes, vice president, IBM Big Green Innovations.

“By bringing these new technologies together, we will create an energy-efficient system we believe can be implemented across Saudi Arabia and around the world.”

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