Home ProjectsJapan’s NEDO partners with SWCC on desalination project in Saudi Arabia

Japan’s NEDO partners with SWCC on desalination project in Saudi Arabia Technology

Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) has started work on a demonstration project for energy saving seawater desalination technology in Saudi Arabia. NEDO and the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) and agreed to jointly carry out a demonstration project for energy saving seawater desalination technology.  


NEDO and SWCC will utilize the Japanese “Mega-ton Water System” technology to construct a 10,000 m3/day demonstration plant at the coastal city of Ummluji, Saudi Arabia.  A pilot test at a research site of SWCC in Al-Jubail using a small-scale, 500 m3/day plant has been running since the end of 2016.

The demonstration project will use low-pressure seawater RO membranes supplied by Toray and a low pressure, multi-stage high recovery seawater RO system developed by Hitachi. The technology companies believe that, compared to conventional seawater desalination plants, energy consumption can be reduced by 20% by applying the technologies in this way.

NEDO is aiming to establish the superiority of the system via the demonstration, which enables approximately 20% energy savings and has lower construction costs compared with a conventional seawater desalination reverse osmosis membrane (SWRO membrane) system.

Going forward, NEDO and SWCC will construct and operate a demonstration plant and acquire the necessary data for commercialization. The two partners will also consider the approach’s validity as a business model and are aiming to expand the system throughout Saudi Arabia as well as in nearby countries.

NEDO, one of the largest public research and development management organizations in Japan, was established in 1980 to promote the development and introduction of new energy technologies – research and development of industrial technology was  added at a later date.

The demonstration project at Ummluji will run for for a five-year period until March 2023.


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