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Desalination Company of the Year

For the water company that made the most significant contribution to the development of the international water sector in 2017.

Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction

What is it?

Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction is a Korean contractor with an established strength in thermal desalination technology, both multi-stage flash and multiple effect distillation. Its US-based division Doosan Hydro Technology specialises in membrane desalination.

What has it done?

Last year saw the culmination of Doosan’s blossoming as a full-service desalination firm, as the company added an enviable array of skills in operations and new technologies to its robust roster of major plant engineering references.

What makes it special?

2016 marked a new peak of success for Doosan’s membrane desalination business. The completion of the 216,000m³/d Escondida SWRO plant in Chile and the securing of the contract for the 227,300m³/d Doha RO plant in Kuwait bear testament to a company with a membrane capability to match its decades of excellence at the forefront of the thermal market.

Doosan’s willingness to think big, push the boundaries of contracting quality, and take on projects of any scale put paid to worries over the demise of thermal desalination. The completion of the massive 550,000m³/d Yanbu 3 plant in Saudi Arabia in 2016 was an impressive achievement of construction excellence, showing that thermal desal can still punch its weight.


The value proposition of Doosan’s core engineering business has been complemented by new capabilities in zero liquid discharge and dissolved air flotation, while the securing of major operating contracts at Doha in Kuwait and Ras Al-Khair in Saudi Arabia completed the company’s successful transition from engineering leader to full-service desalination giant.



What is it?

An Emirates-based power and water systems integrator and investor. It has developed a unique independent water and power project (IWPP) model which involves the concessionaire acting as a private water utility dealing directly with end-users.

What has it done?

In 2016, Utico took its private utility model to the next level, lining up a string of power and water projects around the Gulf, while spreading its wings abroad as it negotiated the acquisition of the Nemmeli desalination plant in Chennai, India. The year was capped by the company securing a $147 million equity and project finance commitment from an Islamic Development Bank-backed infrastructure fund.

What makes it special?

Utico’s unique private IWP model has gone from success to success in a notoriously slow market. Having secured a contract to build a major facility in Ras Al Khaimah in partnership with Spain’s Grupo Cobra, Utico spent 2016 negotiating a string of further privately financed projects around the Gulf. Further afield, the deal to fully integrate the Chennai plant will mark the arrival of Utico as a global force in desalination.

The IDB fund’s investment ranks as an astonishing mark of confidence in Utico’s business model by one of the world’s largest development agencies – and more importantly by the fund’s impressive array of sovereign backers.


Utico’s strategy of integrating privately financed desalination projects with solar energy goes to the heart of the water-energy nexus without the need for state intervention. Commercial renewable desalination has arrived.

The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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