ABU DHABI,17th January 2018 (WAM) – Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), a Saudi Government Corporation responsible for power generation and supplying various regions in the Kingdom with desalinated water, and the Abu Dhabi-based Khalifa University of Science and Technology, represented by Masdar Institute, to accelerate the development and commercialization of sustainable desalination technologies needed to enhance regional water security.
The MoU was signed on the sidelines of the International Water Summit, a key event of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2018, the region’s largest gathering on sustainability.
The MoU was signed by Abdullah Alabdulkarim, Deputy Governor for Planning and Development, SWCC, Bader Al Lamki, Executive Director, Clean Energy, Masdar, and Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Interim Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology.
The agreement ensures cooperation between the three organizations for exchange of information and joint research and development activities in collaboration with the Desalination Technologies Research Institute to demonstrate the validity of seawater desalination using clean energy technologies. The agreement also explores opportunities for the SWCC to carry out Masdar’s advanced education and training programs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) regions.
The ultimate aim of the agreement is to provide a framework for mutual cooperation to enhance the economic and technical benefits of desalination, as well as innovating new methods to reduce the costs of sustainable desalination technologies.
Abdullah Alabdulkarim, Deputy Governor for Planning and Development, SWCC, said: “The memorandum of understanding between the three organizations represents a starting point to cooperate and work under the partnership and the integrated visions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to enhance the historical and future ties and supporting cooperation between them. The parties will also discuss development projects related to desalination technologies and localization of these technologies in the Gulf region, as well as supporting the development of clean energy projects, reduce costs, and exchange information and research among them.
Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer, Masdar said: “Seawater desalination is a costly and energy-intensive process, underscoring the importance of developing engineering and technology improvements that make seawater desalination more efficient and sustainable. By partnering with regional leaders in the area of desalination research and development, Masdar is strengthening its capabilities in sustainable water desalination technology development and in turn, moving closer towards deploying affordable, energy-efficient desalination technologies across the globe, particularly in water-scarce regions like the Middle East.”
Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Interim Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: “Pursuing research and development of energy-efficient water desalination technologies is critically needed to overcome some of the most pressing water challenges facing the global community and particularly in the water-scarce countries in the Middle East. This research collaborative agreement aims to support the development and demonstration of the technologies needed to make low-carbon desalination a reality. Researchers at Khalifa University of Science and Technology’s Masdar Institute are renowned experts in this field and we hope that this collaboration will contribute to the global efforts in this area.”
The UAE and KSA are heavy users of seawater desalination. Over 40% of UAE’s water supply and 50% of KSA’s water supply is produced through seawater desalination. Globally, the United Nations expects 14% of the world population to receive water from desalination by 2025, underscoring the need for development and deployment of sustainable desalination technologies to meet this rapidly growing demand for desalinated water in a way that will not contribute to rising carbon emissions.
Through its renewable energy water desalination programme, Masdar has supported the demonstration and testing of innovative energy-efficient desalination technologies through five small-scale desalination plants. This collaborative agreement builds on Masdar’s successful partnerships with leading desalination companies and further cements Masdar’s position as a global leader in the effort to transform the desalination industry into a more sustainable model.
The collaborative agreement integrates knowledge sharing, research, and training, supporting the cultivation of a cadre of highly-skilled desalination plant operators and desalination researchers and innovators, which is essential to attaining the UAE’s knowledge-economy transformation.