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RIYADH: ACWA Power plans to expand its water desalination plants in the Middle East and Africa in the coming years, particularly in Egypt and Morocco, the CEO said.

Speaking to Arab News at the Future of Desalination Conference in Riyadh, Paddy Padmanathan, CEO of ACWA Power, said the developer is considering Egypt as the next area to participate in desalination.

“We see opportunities emerging in Morocco and South Africa in the not too distant future,” he added.

With assets in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Oman, ACWA Power is the world’s largest private developer of seawater desalination.

Padmanathan said the company will also open the world’s largest reverse osmosis plant in Abu Dhabi next month to facilitate efficient energy consumption.

Commenting on water desalination in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, Padmanathan said the prices are the lowest as they have a large market.

“These countries are very solvent. They are used to delivering, honoring contracts and completing projects. They have also advanced the technological revolution,” he said.

However, he said the rest of the world had reached a point where it needed more water desalination, even without taking climate change into account.

Globally, there is a growing gap between supply and demand, which will lead to a 30% increase in water demand by 2030, Padmanathan said. “The gap is widening,” he added.

With ACWA Power expanding into wider regions, Padmanathan expects the cost of desalination to remain low and even decrease further as the market expands.

Commenting on ACWA Power’s growth volume, Padmanathan said, “We expect strong growth in the future of desalination.”

The CEO added that the Shuaibah 3 independent water and power project is being restructured.

As part of the Kingdom’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions, he said the country would shut down all oil-fired power stations. However, Shuaibah would be restructured into an RO factory.

In June 2022, ACWA Power announced that Shuaibah 3’s IWPP would convert the thermal power and desalination facility into an RO seawater desalination plant, renaming it Shuaibah 3 Independent Water Project.

“The restructuring would be completed within the next 10 days,” Padmanathan added.

ACWA Power is also working closely with the Saudi government to develop an innovative, first-of-its-kind structure that eliminates all oil use and produces water with an RO plant.

The company this week signed an industrial development agreement with Water Global Access, a technology research and development company, to integrate hydro-injection desalination technology on a large scale.

According to a statement, the agreement comes six months after the two companies signed a collaboration agreement to develop a roadmap for HID in ACWA Power projects.

This will involve the implementation of a pilot project that includes HID in the Gulf Cooperation Council region, following research that has demonstrated the technology has the potential to break down 2 kilowatt-hour energy consumption barriers. to produce 1 cubic meter of water from seawater.