Solar To Be Used in Trial to Find ‘Desalination Plant of the Future’

A French engineering company will use solar panels to power an innovative desalination demonstration project in Abu Dhabi operated by clean energy group Masdar.

Mascara is a company headed by Marc Vergnet, founder of Vergnet Hydro, and it will utilize off-grid rooftop solar to power the project in Ghantoot.

Vergnet said this week that he is expecting the project to consume 2.8 kWh per cubic meter of water.

The trial – which is expected to start in two months – will be the fifth located at Ghantoot, alongside grid-connected projects from Abengoa, Suez Environnement, Sidem/Veolia and Trevi Systems.

If the Mascara project is successful, Masdar says the technology will be ideal for use in remote locations and especially on islands.

Speaking to journalists at Ghantoot yesterday, Dr. Alexander Ritschel, Masdar senior manager, said that desalination plants in the UAE currently “are mainly thermal and aged. There needs to be a transition to membrane-based desalination technology, which is more efficient than thermal processes installed sometimes up to 40 years ago.”

Ritschel said the five trial plants will run until 2017, with the aim to find out “how the desalination plant of the future will operate.”

Lead image: Alexander Ritschel.

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Kelvin Ross is Editor of Power Engineering International magazine and its associated publications – Middle East Energy and the Global Power Review . Previously, Kelvin was News Editor at UK online news site Energy Live News, Production Editor and Head of Design on daily international shipping newspaper Lloyd’s List, Deputy Editor for a group of weekly London newspapers and has worked as a freelance sub-editor on UK national newspapers.

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