Sadara-Marafiq SWRO: Industrial Desalination Plant of the Year 2017

Extract GWI:

"Distinction: Sadara SWRO, Saudi Arabia

What is it?

A 178,000m³/d seawater reverse osmosis plant serving the Sadara Chemical Company’s massive manufacturing facility in the industrial city of Jubail, on the Gulf coast of Saudi Arabia. The facility reached full commercial operation in 2016.

Who is involved?

The plant is owned and operated under a 20-year build-own-operate contract by Marafiq, the power and water utility company for the cities of Jubail and Yanbu. The offtaker for the water is Sadara, the Dow/Aramco joint venture based in Jubail. The plant was built by Veolia, which also supplied the DAF pre-treatment system. UF membranes were supplied by Pentair and RO membranes by Dow. ERI supplied energy recovery systems.

What makes it special?

  • The delivery of the project through a dedicated single-user build-own-operate contract leverages the financial strength of a secure utility to guarantee a supply of high-quality water on a performance-linked basis. The choice of contract structure demonstrates a high degree of confidence in Marafiq as a reliable provider of utility services.
  • The site deploys an array of high-end pre-treatment technologies – dissolved air flotation followed by self-cleaning microfiltration and ultrafiltration stages – to allow the plant to handle large volumes of water from a feedsource at the extreme reaches of salinity and temperature for a desalination plant.
  • The installing of a unique dual-train SWRO-then-BWRO process allows for a water recovery level approaching 50%, while a rotary isobaric pressure exchanger gives a specific power consumption of just 5.1kWh/m³, an impressive achievement for a plant of this scale dealing with hostile feedwater conditions."