The growing global need for water is exacerbating the scarcity of freshwater sources, especially in arid/semi-arid regions affected by climate change. Desalination offers a solution to meet rising demand, but its energy-intensive nature, reliant on fossil fuels, poses sustainability challenges aggravated by volatile market prices and logistical constraints in remote and island communities.

According to IRENA, only 1% of desalinated water relies on renewable energy sources. However, as renewable technologies gain traction and costs decrease, they emerge as a feasible option. The environmental characteristics shared by the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council mean that there is an ever-growing dependence on seawater desalination to meet increasing regional demand for potable water. With key operations across the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait, ENGIE plays a critical role in meeting these growing needs.

ENGIE’s Desalination solution: Revolutionizing water sustainability

ENGIE is a committed partner to the GCC, striving to lead the transformation in the water landscape by providing high-quality, dependable, and cost-effective solutions. We have been supporting our Middle East partners for over 3 decades to achieve their ambitious national visions and plans towards low-carbon transition and sustainable growth. ENGIE leads the charge in addressing water scarcity across the Gulf Cooperation Council. Operating thirteen cutting-edge desalination plants in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Bahrain, and Kuwait, ENGIE produces a remarkable 5.8 million cubic meters of water daily. In the UAE, key facilities like Shuweihat 1 and 2, Fujairah F2, and Al Taweelah contribute 609MIGD, meeting the water needs of millions. In Saudi Arabia, our Marafiq facility delivers 176MIGD alongside a 2,744MW CCGT power plant. Qatar’s Ras Laffan B and C provide 123MIGD, while Barka and Sohar in Oman yield 120MIGD. ENGIE’s unwavering commitment extends to Bahrain, Kuwait, and beyond, ensuring water sustainability with capacities like 107MIGD at Az Zour North.

We empower our customers in their journey towards a carbon-neutral economy by offering solutions that reduce energy consumption and prioritize environmental sustainability. With our commitment to achieving Net Zero by 2045, we prioritize delivering low-carbon desalination solutions tailored to meet their needs with emphasis on:

  • Reverse Osmosis technology which uses pressure rather than a thermal process to produce the potable water
  • Decarbonizing the energy supply through the integration of renewable energy generation asset
  • Reducing power consumption with innovative desalination processes
  • Targeting operational excellence while using ENGIE’s plants under operation

Reverse Osmosis


Energy Efficiency

RO requires the majority of its energy for the pressurization needed to force water through the semi-permeable membrane, versus heating and evaporating water in thermal techniques.


Efficient Removal of Contaminants

RO membranes more effectively remove a wide range of contaminants, including salts, minerals, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, and other impurities.


Consistent Water Quality

RO Systems provide a consistent and reliable output of high-quality water, meeting specific purity and safety standards.


Reduced Environmental Impact

RO plans have much lower footprint than traditional thermal desalination


Quick start-up and Shut-Down

RO systems can be started up and shut-down relatively quickly, providing operational flexibility.

Benefits of RO technology


Lowering Carbon Emissions

Significantly reduce carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions by using renewable energy sources to power green data centres


Recycling and Waste Management

Focus on responsible waste management and recycling practices, minimizing electronic waste generation and ensuring proper disposal of retired equipment


Resource Optimization

Virtualization and consolidation techniques to optimize resource utilization, ensuring that servers are running at their maximum efficiency and minimizing idle capacity


Efficient Cooling Mechanisms

Advanced cooling technologies, such as liquid cooling and optimized airflow management, to reduce cooling-related energy consumption


Location and Design Considerations

Take advantage of natural climate conditions and design facilities to make use of natural lighting and cooling whenever possible

ENGIE’s Desalination Center of Excellence (DCoE)

ENGIE is committed to supporting regional strategies such as the UAE Water Security Strategy 2036 and Saudi Arabia’s National Water Strategy, with a focus on promoting water conservation and environmental sustainability within the water sector. Our efforts include ongoing investment in desalination technology, leveraging our expertise to enhance existing facilities and pioneer innovations for future generations.

In 2023, in collaboration with offtakers, we launched the Desalination Centre of Excellence (DCoE), aiming to collaborate with local partners and governmental entities to address potable water challenges. Our key objectives include improving energy efficiency in our assets, exploring new membrane technologies, revalorizing brine, and reducing the environmental footprint of desalination to ensure long-term sustainability.

Case Studies

Saudi Water Partnership Company's Jubail 3B plant implements RO technology to generate 570,000 m3/day of portable water

Our client Saudi Water Partnership Company (SWPC) wanted to provide clean water to the cities of Riyadh and Qassim.

The ENGIE-Nesma-Ajlan consortium will develop the Jubail 3B desalination plant using clean energy under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) structure. Jubail 3B will use the reverse osmosis technology, the most efficient and sustainable desalination technology with the smallest carbon footprint. This will help to improve drinking water supplies and offset the water shortages suffered by people living in south-western Saudi Arabia, providing a new source of drinking water for domestic, urban, agricultural and industrial use.

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