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Desalination Company of the Year

For the desalination company which made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2014.

Saline Water Conversion Corporation

What is it?

The bulk water supply agency for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the largest producer of desalinated water in the world, generating 4.6 million m3/d of water and 7,400MW of power across 27 production centres. It celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2015.

What has it done?

Under the leadership of AbdulRahman Al-Ibrahim, SWCC has not only accelerated its investment in new plants and extended the life of its existing assets – it has also transformed itself as a learning organisation, empowering its staff, simplifying its processes, and bringing a new focus to operational efficiency, reliability and economic returns.

What makes it special?

SWCC has the toughest job in desalination. It has the largest fleet of desalination plants in the world, with the least margin for error: some cities have just 48 hours of water reserves. The problem gets tougher as plants reach the end of their productive lives and demand for water increases inexorably. In 2014, SWCC not only stepped up its production to a new high, but did so while increasing its commitment to environmental stewardship, fuel efficiency, and the employment and development of Saudi staff.

In 2014, SWCC’s Saline Water Desalination Research Institute cemented its reputation as a global centre of desalination expertise, working in partnership with organisations including Saudi Aramco, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Doosan, Dow, and Singapore PUB, and bringing its total haul of complete applied research projects to 29, with ten patent approvals over the past decade. Developing a new approach to multiple-effect distillation technology that reduces energy consumption by 40% and extending the life of desalination plants from 25 years to 40 years have been key foci of the institute’s research.


2014 saw the commissioning of the 309,128m3/d Ras Al-Khair reverse osmosis plant, which is specially designed to treat the difficult waters of the Gulf. With nearly 50 years of experience of every kind of desalination challenge behind it, SWCC effortlessly rose to the challenge.



What is it?

The €1 billion-a-year water treatment arm of Paris-listed Suez Environnement.

What has it done?

The company demonstrated a mastery of every aspect of the process of membrane desalination in 2014, from the ability to design and commission some of the largest membrane facilities in the world, to pushing the boundaries of the technology through exciting new tech link-ups in the lab.

What makes it special?

Degrémont reigned supreme in 2014 as the master of large-scale membrane desal, securing the contract to build the desalination element of Abu Dhabi’s Mirfa independent water and power project – the emirate’s first Gulf Coast membrane facility. As the changing energy mix forces the Middle East away from thermal desal technology, Degrémont’s forward-thinking approach means it is strongly positioned to take advantage of the shift to reverse osmosis.

At the opposite end of the scale, Degrémont is looking to create the future of desalination in an energy-conscious world through its link-up with the Masdar renewable energy desalination programme in Abu Dhabi. The pilot plant it is building will provide a vital glimpse into the future of a constantly changing industry that is becoming more important than ever.


Over the last two years, Degrémont has developed an uncanny knack for supplying filtration systems to floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) installations for the oil and gas industry. This trend offers compelling evidence of the company’s increasingly sophisticated and dominant position in the world of industrial desalination – a position cemented by the acquisition of the Australia-based Process Group in June 2014.

The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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