Ewec invites bids for major desalination plant in Abu Dhabi

The Mirfa 2 reverse osmosis plant will be developed as an independent water project

Ninety-six per cent of domestic consumption of water comes from one of the 70 desalination plants located in the UAE, such as this one in Dubai. Sarah Dea / The National
Powered by automated translation

Emirates Water and Electricity is inviting utility developers to submit bids for a planned 150 million imperial gallon per day desalination plant in Abu Dhabi as part of its efforts to enhance the emirate's clean and sustainable water supply.

The Mirfa 2 reverse osmosis plant will be developed as an independent water project and will ensure security of supply for the UAE's capital, Ewec said on Monday.

The scheme will be located adjacent to the existing Mirfa desalination plant, which began operations in 2017 and accounts for nearly 10 per cent of Abu Dhabi's water supply. The desalination plants are located 110 kilometres west of Abu Dhabi city.

The new plant is critical to cost reduction initiatives in the sector through the procurement of competitive and efficient reverse osmosis technology, it added.

Reverse osmosis is a membrane-based method of desalination, which uses less energy compared with the thermal process of producing fresh water. The method helps lower the energy intensity of an industry that takes up a significant share of regional power consumption.

The latest project is part of a wider initiative to "decouple" its power and water generation capacities, Ewec said.

"M2 is a project we have developed to support these key strategic aims and enhance clean and sustainable water supply in the emirate of Abu Dhabi," Othman Al Ali, chief executive of Ewec, said.

The expected date for starting commercial operations is the first quarter of 2024.

The successful developer or consortium of bidders will own up to 40 per cent of the plant, with the majority stake to be held indirectly by the government of Abu Dhabi.

The deadline for the closing of bids is March 4 and Ewec will issue a request for qualifications following its review of the expressions of interest.