Emirates Water and Electricity Company (EWEC), a leading company in the coordination of planning, purchasing and supply of water and electricity across the UAE, has signed a water purchase agreement, with ACWA Power, a leading Saudi-based developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated water plants.
The deal will enable the development of over 900,000 cubic meters per day desalination facility in Taweelah – sufficient to meet the demand of water for over 350,000 households. Approximately 45 KM north of Abu Dhabi city, the project will use reverse osmosis technology to desalinate seawater and will be one of the largest, most cost and energy efficient plants in the world.
The new Taweelah reverse osmosis desalination plant sets new benchmarks for its size, efficiency and cost of water produced. Supplying 909,200m3/day, it will be 44% larger than the world’s current largest reverse osmosis plant of 624,000m3/day. A major driver for the adoption of reverse osmosis instead of thermal desalination is the higher energy efficiency it offers.
This plant redefines efficiency benchmarks with record low energy consumption of less than 3kWh per cubic meter. The contribution from around 50 MW of onsite solar generation will further boost the plants green credentials.
Once completed, the Taweelah plant will contribute to the UAE’s vision in reducing the carbon dioxide emissions, significantly reducing gas consumption by decoupling power and water production for the winter and summer seasons.
Othman Al Ali, CEO of EWEC, said: “We are delighted to launch this new initiative, which will help meet future water demand for the UAE. The choice of Reverse Osmosis sea water desalination technology will play a critical part in significantly reducing water production costs, contributing to our goals to build a more sustainable and efficient water and energy sector in the UAE. The project will also help save material fuel costs across the sector, given the flexibility that the technology provides.”
The plant will be developed on a build, own and operate basis with the engineering, procurement, and construction contract for the water plant undertaken by a joint venture of ABENGOA and PowerChina. ACWA Power owns a 40 percent stake in the project company formed “Independent Water Producers” to be responsible for the RO Plant.
The remaining 60 percent stake is owned by Mubadala Investments Company and Abu Dhabi Power Corporation. Once the project is complete, EWEC will be the off-taker for the water output produced by the project over a 30-year period. The plant is scheduled to commence full commercial operations in Q4 2022.
Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power said: “Our decision to bid for the Taweelah RO plant project demonstrates our confidence in EWEC as a reliable partner and confirms our commitment to contribute to the development of the United Arab Emirates by increasing our participation in the power generation and water desalination sectors.
Through the Taweelah RO plant project and the enabling environment provided by Abu Dhabi, we are proud to be setting new global bench marks in both the cost of desalinated water and the energy consumed in producing that water.”