US-based Dow Chemical Company announced that it has awarded Fluor Corporation the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract for its Reverse Osmosis (RO) manufacturing facility in Saudi Arabia.
Located in Jubail Industrial City II at the Sadara Chemical Company complex, the facility will locally manufacture RO membranes that purify water for drinking and industrial uses.
These membranes have the capability to reduce the oil requirement to distill water in the region by approximately $1 billion per year, according to Dow.
The facility is the first of its kind built outside the US, and is slated for completion by end of 2015. It is expected to create over 100 jobs and will supply the local Saudi Arabian market, the wider Middle East and Africa region and markets with similar critical water needs, including Eastern Europe, India, China and South East Asia, Dow said in a statement.
“Saudi Arabia faces tremendous water scarcity and as a result, represents the largest seawater desalination market in the world. The new Dow RO facility will not only bring local supply security of next generation technologies for water desalination but also a more cost effective water treatment solution as desalination via reverse osmosis has proven to be less energy-intensive compared to traditional thermal methods,” it added.
RO elements are used for demineralising brackish water or desalinating seawater for various sectors and industrial applications, including water treatment, power generation, food and beverage processing, municipal desalination and water reuse.
Snehal Desai, global business director, Dow Water & Process Solutions, said: “This investment also complements our activities at the Dow KSA Research Center at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) where our research focuses specifically on RO solutions in combination with ultra-filtration (UF) pre-treatment for seawater desalination.”
Earlier this year, Dow revealed that in partnership with KAUST, it was working on a large-scale pilot plant in the Kingdom, which will serve as a water technology research center beginning in the second quarter of 2014.
“Seawater desalination in the Middle East is challenging primarily due to fouling problems. With the resources at KAUST, Dow will be able to offer better solutions to reliable drinking water production,” the company said.