Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) last week announced plans to start producing desalinated water using solar energy in 2014.
“The company will start producing 30,000 cubic meters daily using solar power next year,” said Abdallah ben Abdel-Aziz al Sheikh, deputy head of SWCC.
“Solar power technologies will be deployed in new desalination plants whenever possible and feasible,” he added.
The SWCC is carrying out a comprehensive study to outline the kingdom’s water needs in the coming 20 years, according to Al Sheikh.
The move toward solar desalination is in keeping with the SWCC’s plans to identify potential renewable energy sources nationwide in order to maximize future production.
Various government agencies are assessing the renewable energy potential in places where plants could be set up.
A large number of solar and wind power plants are expected to be built throughout Saudi Arabia in the next few years.
Japanese government agencies and private companies are currently helping to develop tailored solar-powered desalination technologies for the kingdom, as well as helping design models that combine solar- and fuel-powered units, in order to reduce the cost of fuel used in desalination plants by 65 percent.
The SWCC operates 36 desalination plants on the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea that use mainly oil and natural gas.
It currently produces some 3.3 million cubic meters of desalinated water daily.