Solar Saline Water Reverse Osmosis AL-KHAFJI

The world's first Solar Powered Desalination Plant

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Solar Saline Water Reverse Osmosis AL-KHAFJI
  • Location: Al Khafji, Saudi Arabia

  • Capacity: 60,300 m3/day
  • Technology: Solar Saline Water Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant (Solar SWRO)

  • Client: Advanced Water Technology (AWT)

  • Population served: 150,000

Located in the north east region of Saudi Arabia, it is the First Solar Desalination Plant in the world. This fact alone changes everything when it comes to planning the different sub-systems and the plant itself; energy efficiency becomes a fundamental consideration, so each process and solution must make this a top priority, making them seek maximum efficiency by reducing energy consumption to its lowest possible point.

SAVENER was asked to take up the challenge of configuring the heat control system, HVAC and others, in the most efficient way. This was a great challenge, taking into account the external conditions of the site and the enormous consumption these systems require in this context.

The SAVENER team found the solution in the desalination process itself, and set up the system to use the water from the process to condense the cooling plants in the complex. This design was the first of its kind in the world for this type of infrastructure, a system that reduces the electrical power required by half and the electricity consumed when operating by 60%.

A District Cooling plan was designed to supply all the complex’s needs through condensed cooling plants using the processed water (exchanging in the intermediate tank before RO) and systems that fully guarantee that the process fluids and those of the District Cooling never mix. It is remarkable that this solution has never been used before, and it marks a revolution in the search for more sustainable and efficient plants.

The reverse osmosis process employed at the solar desalination plant can produce 60,300 m3 of water per day. The facility uses ultra filtration for the pre-treatment process. It was installed in an area measuring 250×700 m, next to an existing SWRO plant. The solar panels will be installed in an area of 90 ha, 1km from the desalination plant. It includes a DAF system, a second ultra filtering unit, chemical supply systems, a reverse osmosis (RO) unit consisting of six RO trains, CO2 storage tanks and a centralized control unit.

The solar farm will have an installed power rating of 15 MW and be directly connected to both the desalination plant and the national electricity grid. It will supply enough energy to meet all the requirements of the desalination plant.