The 2010 Global Water Awards: Desalination Plant of the Year

Subscription required

As a guest you can read up to 3 full articles before a subscription is required.

You can read a further 2 articles for free.

Subscribe Now, Sign up for a Free Trial, Log In

For the desalination plant commissioned during 2009 that represents the most impressive technical achievement in the industry.

Barcelona-Llobregat, Spain

What is it?
A 200,000m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant serving metropolitan Barcelona.

Who is responsible?
The EPC contract was carried out by a joint venture of Degrémont, Agbar, DRACE medioambiente and Dragados. Degrémont supplied the equipment, with Hydranautics supplying the membranes. ERI provided the energy recovery devices.

What makes it special?
* The low point in Barcelona’s water resourcing strategy came in 2008, when an extended drought forced the city to import water by ship at a prohibitive unit cost. The commissioning of the Llobregat desalination plant will go a long way to ensuring local water independence – the facility will supply 20% of the city’s drinking water needs.
* At 200,000m3/d, the Llobregat desalination plant is the largest seawater RO facility in Europe. In spite of this, the plant was designed and constructed within two years of the contract signing.
* The proximity of the plant’s location to both Barcelona Harbour and the Llobregat River required innovative thinking on where to site the intake and outfall pipes. A deep intake pipe 3.5km south of the plant draws feedwater to the surface, from where it is pumped north to the desal plant. The brine concentrate is blended with treated effluent from the Baix Llobregat wastewater plant before being disposed of 3km offshore.

Hadera, Israel

What is it?
A 456,000m3/d SWRO desalination plant on Israel’s Mediterranean coast.

Who is responsible?
The H2ID consortium of IDE Technologies and Housing & Construction co-developed the project. Portugal’s Banco Espirito Santo and Germany’s HVB led the financing, with the European Investment Bank committing €150 million of debt.

What makes it special?
* The first-year water price is NIS2.56/ m3 ($0.58/m3) – a stunning 16% lower than the next closest bid in local currency terms. At constant dollar exchange rates, the tariff was $0.04/m3 lower than that delivered by IDE’s revolutionary plant at Ashkelon.
* The plant was the first large-scale desalination facility in Israel to be financed internationally, rather than relying on local banks.
* The design of the Hadera plant improves on Ashkelon in several key respects: it has a lower specific energy consumption, the improved pre-treatment system gives a better performance, and it is able to produce water with a comparatively lower boron concentration of 0.3 mg/L. All this has been delivered on a difficult site with a small footprint.

Shoaiba RO, Saudi Arabia

What is it?
A 150,000m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant built on reclaimed land near the Shoaiba power and water complex on Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea Coast.

Who is responsible?
Doosan Heavy Industries built the plant for
ACWA Power International.

What makes it special?
* In the summer of 2007, finding water was becoming a daily battle for the people of Jeddah. ACWA Power was asked about the possibility of bringing additional desalination capacity online at Shoaiba in double-quick time. The project would have to be fitted in around the existing works on the Shoaiba site, where Doosan was already at work building the largest thermal desalination plant in the world for an ACWA Power consortium. Together, Doosan and ACWA Power came up with a proposal to build an additional reverse osmosis plant on land reclaimed from the sea, and delivered it in just 19 months.
* Doosan, the EPC contractor, had never built an RO plant on this scale, but it rolled up its sleeves and delivered a major landmark project.
* Doosan and ACWA Power deserve special commendation for the commitment and flexibility they have shown in bringing water to the people of Jeddah.

Tianjin Dagang, China

What is it?
A 100,000m3/d seawater reverse osmosis plant in Dagang that has been supplying industrial grade and potable water to Tianjin Province since August 2009.

Who is responsible?
Hyflux developed the plant on a BOO basis, utilising energy recovery technology supplied by Energy Recovery Inc. The off-taker is the Tianjin Dagang District Government.

What makes it special?
* Tianjin Dagang is the largest RO seawater desalination plant in China and the first major project delivered by a foreign private developer in the country.
* The project includes a number of neat engineering solutions, such as the use of power station cooling water to increase the feedwater temperature. This enables a minimum intake structure, and increases operating efficiency even in the icy Tianjin winter.
* Dagang has the largest UF seawater pretreatment system currently in use anywhere in the world.