The 2011 Global Water Awards: Desalination Company of the Year

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For the desalination plant supplier which has made the greatest overall contribution to the desalination industry in 2009.

What is it?
A UK-based contractor which provides water and wastewater treatment services throughout the world, including desalination through subsidiary Biwater AEWT.
What has it done?
In 2010, Biwater developed an innovative package proposal for a 10,456m3/d reverse osmosis plant at Paraquita Bay on the island of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. As well as the desal component, Biwater’s winning proposition included two sewage treatment plants, pumping stations, pipelines and reservoirs, all on the basis of a privately financed initiative. It also won a contract to construct six SWRO plants in the Maldives, and ensured the ongoing availability of development capital by divesting itself of its remaining 58% interest in Cascal, an asset-owning water business.
What makes it special?
* The Tortola deal marked an important new contract approach in an area that had previously been the domain of Consolidated Water, and showcases how a privately financed contract can be a win-win for both the client and the developer.
* 2010 was the year that Biwater AEWT burst onto the international desalination market – the BVI deal was its first major desalination win outside the US market, and this was followed by a $42 million contract to build six 500m3/d SWRO plants in the Maldives.
* Biwater has been canny in playing to its strengths during the last 12 months – the sale of Cascal enabled the company to return to its roots as a contractor, while escaping potentially crippling debts, showing a vital ability to adapt its strategy to changing circumstances.
What is it?
Doosan Heavy Industries and Construction is involved in a range of industry sectors from power generation to construction, as well as desalination and water treatment. It is a division of Doosan Corporation, a South Korean conglomerate.
What has it done?
During the last twelve months, Doosan has cemented its reputation as the leading thermal EPC contractor in the Gulf desalination market, signing recordbreaking contracts and submitting daring technical bids. Its most notable achievement was in winning the EPC contract for the combined 1,037,000m3/d MSF/RO Ras Azzour project in Saudi Arabia – the biggest desalination project in the world. It has also continued its successful diversification into membrane desalination: Doosan Heavy teamed up with project developer NSC Agua (in which Consolidated Water holds a 50% stake) to pursue opportunities in the Caribbean and Mexico.
What makes it special?
* Doosan’s victory at Ras Azzour took the market by storm. Its success in shaving $177 million from its bid price to come from behind showed its hunger for growth is undiminished, and winning with an MSF bid was the boldest possible statement of confidence in its technical abilities.
* A contract to supply Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation with a 68,190m3/d MED plant for Yanbu Power plant followed soon afterwards. The capacity will be delivered as a single unit, making it the largest in the world to date, and continues Doosan’s bid to push the envelope in the thermal desalination technology market.
* In 2010, the company signed a memorandum of understanding which will see it take an EPC role alongside developer NSC Agua on a joint US/Mexican desalination project with a planned capacity of up to 378,500m3/d. The deal is a glowing example of how cross-border synergies can be realised, and shows the kind of nerve and imagination which has taken Doosan to the top of the league.
IDE Technologies
What is it?
An EPC contractor and developer of desalination plants, based in Israel.
What has it done?
IDE continued to take advantage of its unique competitive position in the global desal arena in 2010, winning a significant chunk of the Chinese desalination business on offer, and competing strongly for tenders in the Americas and Southern Europe, as well as elsewhere in Asia. Significant contract wins at Soreq (Israel), Tianjin (China) and Chennai (India) came in tandem with the commissioning of the Hadera RO plant in Israel, meaning IDE has been responsible for some of the world’s largest desalination projects over the past year.
What makes it special?
* IDE was all-conquering in 2010, pulling off stunning project wins (such as Chennai Nemmeli and Soreq) while at the same time showing that it can deliver on its commitments, with successful commissionings at Hadera and Tianjin.
* The company has shown complete mastery of both membrane and thermal desalination. As soon as the company delivered its 100,000m3/d MED facility for Tianjin, it was asked to build another for the client. The Soreq project, meanwhile, will be the largest membrane desalination plant in the world.
* IDE’s success in 2010 is the result of nearly 50 years of complete commitment to innovation. There are few technology companies in any industry which can honestly claim that they are greater than they have ever been when approaching their 50th birthday.
Modern Water
What is it?
A publicly quoted UK company with patented rights to manipulated osmosis technology.
What has it done?
In 2010, Modern Water demonstrated at its plant in Oman that manipulated osmosis can reduce the amount of energy required in the desalination process by up to 30%.
What makes it special?
* Manipulated osmosis, which is a variant of forward osmosis, is the first significant alternative to the established desalination technologies to emerge for 45 years. The lower energy costs it promises could represent a new paradigm for the industry.
* Modern Water took a great risk in backing manipulated osmosis technology, going so far as to buy two plants to enable it to pilot and perfect the technology. Last year’s successful trial is a vindication of years of work and millions of dollars of investment.
* The technology has a broad range of applications, from osmotic power to secondary oil recovery and evaporative cooling systems. Modern Water’s commitment to making forward osmosis a workable reality could have broad implications across the industry.