Enowa, Neom’s energy subsidiary, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Veolia France, the world leader in water, waste and energy management solutions, and Itochu, the Japanese multinational energy company. The contract aims to build a new generation of desalination plants powered entirely by renewable energy in the futuristic Saudi megalopolis.
The new facility is intended to become a key element in achieving Saudi’s ambitions to create a sustainable and abundant water supply for residential, industrial and commercial use. The MoU calls for water production to begin as early as 2024, using innovative, state-of-the-art technology.
Advanced technology for a circular economy
The method of producing clean water is based on an advanced and innovative membrane technology to produce separate brine streams. This brine, usually considered a waste product from the desalination of so-called brackish water, will be used to produce considerable quantities of valuable industrial materials (boron, potassium, gypsum, magnesium and rare metal raw materials), for local use or for export.
With waste becoming a product with minimal environmental impact, Saudi ambitions are redefining the entire business model for desalination plants of the future. Indeed, Enowa insists on a circular economy logic, consisting in producing goods and services in a sustainable way by limiting the waste of resources and the production of waste.
A sustainable solution to the global water shortage
Neom plans to become a global reference for integrated sustainable water systems. The Saudi company’s partnership with global leaders in sustainable solutions is an opportunity for the country to establish its vision for the future. Saudi Arabia aims to become a powerhouse in terms of sustainable development, supporting abundant water production in a nature-friendly manner, all in one of the most water-stressed regions.
The new plant plans to produce 500,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day by the time the project is completed in 2025, or about 30% of Neom’s total projected water demand. Enowa, Veolia and Itochu aim to provide a blueprint for the production, management and treatment of green and sustainable water, which could be shared at scale worldwide in the future. The technology developed under this MoU could indeed be exported to combat the global water shortage.