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Industrial Desalination Plant of the Year: Shortlist

For the industrial desalination plant, commissioned during 2017, that represents the most impressive technical or ecologically sustainable achievement in the industry.

Shortlisted Nominees


Dahej Refinery BWRO, India

What is it?

A 50,000m3/d brackish water desalination plant supplying water to the PTA/PET petrochemicals complex owned by Reliance Industries at Dahej in Gujarat, India.

Who is involved?

The plant was designed, installed and commissioned by long-term Reliance partner VA Tech Wabag. Membranes were supplied by inge (UF) and Hydranautics (RO).

What makes it special?

Reliance suffered financial losses after being forced to shut down its PTA/PET facility in mid-2016 due to a water shortage driven by rising TDS and chloride levels in local river water. Wabag’s stunning success in commissioning a fast-track desalination plant in just eight months proved the saviour, guaranteeing the facility’s water security for years to come.

With raw water supplies in the region suffering from seawater intrusion, high turbidity, and elevated silica levels, the design of the plant required careful calibration, and proved that brackish water desalination can be as difficult to execute as seawater desal. The deployment of high-efficiency reverse osmosis technology pushed recovery levels up to nearly 90%, generating additional value for the client.


The plant not only enhances Wabag’s reputation for efficient delivery, but also dovetails neatly with other installations at Dahej, including the PTA/PET effluent treatment and recycling modules installed in 2014. By providing feedwater to the demineralisation plant at the PTA complex, the new BWRO facility complements the existing infrastructure perfectly, justifying the concept of long-term collaboration between industry and the water value chain.


Jazan IGCC desalination plant, Saudi Arabia

What is it?

An 80,000m3/d reverse osmosis desalination plant fed by a combination of seawater and treated wastewater. The desalted water is supplied to Saudi Aramco’s Jazan integrated gasification combined-cycle (IGCC) power plant on the Kingdom’s Red Sea coast.

Who is involved?

The plant was delivered on a turnkey basis by AES Arabia as part of a contract being run by the development’s overarching EPC contractor, Técnicas Reunidas. RO membranes were supplied by Hydranautics.

What makes it special?

As the largest desalination plant in the world directly serving the oil & gas industry, the Jazan facility sets a new benchmark for desal in an industry that is the lifeblood of the GCC region, helping to lessen the frequently conflicting demands of municipal and industrial users.

AES wielded its consummate in-house experience and market-leading manufacturing capabilities to assemble large parts of the installation off-site, slashing the price of the project for the client, and significantly reducing the delivery time.


By combining seawater and treated wastewater at the feedwater stage, the plant elegantly closes the water loop, tackling disposal issues while creating a new source of water for its blue-chip industrial client. A true model of sustainable industrial water development.


Kemapco desalination plant, Jordan

What is it?

A 15,000m3/d SWRO plant supplying cooling water to Arab Fertilizers & Chemicals Industries (Kemapco), a potassium nitrate and dicalcium phosphate producer in Aqaba, on the Red Sea coast of Jordan. The Aqaba Water Company is a secondary water taker.

Who is involved?

The plant was delivered under a seven-year build-operate-transfer contract by Jordanian firm AquaTreat. UF and RO membranes were supplied by Hydranautics, alongside FEDCO high-pressure pumps, Grundfos low-pressure pumps, and energy recovery devices from ERI.

What makes it special?

The facility had an immediate financial impact for its industrial client, freeing it from the burden of buying water at residential rates from the local utility, and slashing the cost of process water by more than 40% overnight. Leaning on desalination means Kemapco can now achieve its growth aspirations with a considerably greater degree of independence.

As the first seawater desalination plant to be built in Jordan, the project stands out as a bold statement of desal’s ability to carve out successes in new jurisdictions. With the treatment trains fine-tuned to satisfy both industrial and potable water needs, it offers a replicable example of how municipal and industrial goals can dovetail seamlessly in a single plant.


This project is a shining example of how local industrial-led projects can have a national impact. The full commissioning of the facility has made Aqaba essentially independent of water supplied from the nearby Disi aquifer, freeing up supplies to be transported to the capital, Amman, and other northern parts of the country that have come under extreme water stress as a result of the influx of refugees from Iraq and Syria.


Sarlux desalination plant, Italy

What is it?

A 12,000m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant near Cagliari in Sardinia. The plant delivers ultrapure water to high-pressure boilers at the nearby refinery owned by Italian energy group Saras S.p.A.

Who is involved?

The plant was designed and built by Acciona Agua, which will also operate the facility for a minimum of six years. The installation features an array of technologies, including IntegraPac UF modules, RO membranes and EDI-310 electrodeionisation modules supplied by Dow.

What makes it special?

As the largest desalination plant serving an industrial client anywhere in the Mediterranean region, the facility marks a stunning new peak of scale for ultrapure water technology, proving that seawater can be the answer to Europe’s growing industrial needs, even for the largest and most demanding of customers.

By offering an entirely containerised solution, Acciona gracefully achieved the lowest footprint possible for a plant of its type, with the green credentials of the site complemented by the chemical-free nature of the EDI installation, which offers consistently high-quality permeate without the need for environmental mitigation.


The project delivers a complex multi-stage treatment process while still achieving an astonishingly low energy ticker: the two-stage RO system consumes just 2.94 kWh/m3 and the entire installation only 3.2 kWh/m3. In an energy-conscious era, such figures are a panacea both for the client and the environment.


The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

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