Processing Magazine

Xylem to equip UAE desalination plant with DAF pretreatment system

August 14, 2013

<photocredit>Irina Belousa/iStockphoto/Thinkstock</photocredit>

U.S.-based water technology developer Xylem has been chosen by Emirates Sembcorp Water & Power Company to equip its Fujairah 1 Independent Water and Power Plant (IWPP) with a dissolved air flotation (DAF) pretreatment system. Announcing the contract win, Xylem said that its technology would help guarantee the uninterrupted supply of drinking water to Abu Dhabi and the east coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The hybrid desalination plant uses water from the Gulf of Oman, which contains the so-called "red tides." These are harmful algal blooms (HABs) that have high concentrations of potentially toxic microorganisms. The Leopold Clari-DAF system developed by Xylem effectively removes over 95% of these microorganisms before the desalination process, thus ensuring the production of safe, fresh drinking water. The system creates millions of microbubbles, which push the HABs to the water surface. The algae are then scooped away as floating sludge, typically through the use of mechanical skimming. Xylem said that its technology also delivered outstanding results in removing free and emulsified oil. This is of great importance when it comes to protecting the downstream reverse osmosis (RO) system.

Safwat Gergis, Xylem manager for desalination pretreatment products, noted that the company had been supplying the Middle East with RO pretreatment systems for almost three decades. Xylem is very excited to be part of the group that will work on this exciting project, which will be instrumental in addressing the water needs of this Arabian Gulf region, Gergis added.

Engineering contractor Jesus Sancho, who oversees the group of companies awarded the contract, spoke highly of Xylem's expertise in pretreatment desalination. He said it had proved essential at the Shuwaikh Seawater Reverse Osmosis plant in Kuwait and having Xylem among the Fujairah contract bidders ensured the success of their offer. Given Xylem's experience in HAB removal, the contract winners are confident that the Fujairah plant will get the best technology and the necessary expertise to provide the region with clean drinking water, Sancho said.

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The system installed at the plant will have a RO output of 136,000 cubic meters per day. Increasing desalination capacity is crucial for the region in light of its anticipated population growth of 15% by 2016. In addition to the existing plant, the new system will also serve new seawater RO facilities with a combined capacity of 306,760 cubic meters per day. This puts them among the biggest desalinations plants on the planet.

The Fujairah facility was the sixth IWPP to be privatized by the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA). It is among the world's biggest hybrid desalination plants, boasting 893 megawatts of power capacity and 455,000 cubic meters per day of seawater desalination capacity, according to its website. The Fujairah IWPP makes use of Multi-stage Flash and RO technologies. The owner of the facility, Emirates Sembcorp Water & Power Co, is a joint venture between the ADWEA and Sembcorp Industries. Through its Sembcorp Gulf Holding unit, the Singaporean conglomerate owns 40% of the facility and the ADWEA controls the rest. A wholly owned Sembcorp subsidiary is responsible for operating and maintaining the plant.