RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA — Saudi Arabian smart city agency NEOM has announced it will start work on the world’s first solar dome desalination water plant.
NEOM is a three-year-old experimental regional project of the Saudi Arabian government. The solar dome project will use solar technology and is being undertaken with U.K.-based Solar Water Plc.
Work on the project was to begin this month and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. At an estimated $0.34 per cubic metre, the cost of producing water via solar dome technology will be significantly lower than desalination plants using reverse osmosis methods, stated a Jan. 29 release. The technology will also produce more concentrated brine, a potentially harmful byproduct of the water extraction process.
The process was developed at the U.K.’s Cranfield University. It uses Concentrating Solar Power technology in the seawater desalination process. The system sees seawater pumped into a hydrological solar dome made from glass and steel, then the water is superheated, evaporated and eventually precipitated as fresh water.
“NEOM’s adoption of this pilot supports Saudi Arabia’s sustainability goals, as outlined in the country’s National Water Strategy 2030, and is fully aligned with the sustainable development goals set out by the United Nations,” said Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadli in the statement.
David Reavley, CEO of Solar Water Plc, commented, “Our game-changing desalination technology is 100 per cent carbon neutral and entirely sustainable. In NEOM we have found a partner who has a strong vision of what a new future looks like in harmony with nature.”