Saudi Arabia unveils its first 100% renewable bottled water plant
Red Sea Development Company launches world's largest desalination plant powered by solar and wind energy
The developer of a mega-tourism project on Saudi Arabia's western coast plans to build the kingdom's first desalination plant powered by solar and wind energy.
On completion, the plant built by the Red Sea Development Company, in collaboration with renewable drinking water specialists Source Global, will be the largest of its kind in the world.
The plant has a planned capacity of two million bottles of water a year and will begin production with 300,000 bottles annually in the next few years, according to Ahmed Ghazi Darwish, chief of staff at Red Sea Development.
Mr Darwish said at least one-third of jobs at the plant would be reserved for Saudi citizens, who will be trained on-site.
According to the company's website, the plant will produce water using "hydro panel" solar technology, which draws water vapour out of the air and converts it to drinking water.
As part of the sustainable model, reusable bottles will be used to help achieve carbon neutrality.
About 100 hydro panels were built during the first phase of construction.
Another 1,200 panels will be added during the second and third phases.
Mr Darwish said the performance of the panels would be monitored through a smart application that will show the volume of water produced, the environmental impact of the panels and issue maintenance alerts.
The desalination technology is completely sourced from Saudi companies.
Saudi Arabia has been leading the world in desalination technology, boasting some of the largest plants in operation.
The Al Jubeil plant, north of Dammam on the Arabian Gulf coast, produces 1.4 million cubic metres per day.
Red Sea Development secured 14.12 billion Saudi riyals ($3.76bn) in funding for the project through the first locally-denominated Green Financing credit facility.
The developer raised the capital through term loans and revolving credit facilities from four Saudi banks – Banque Saudi Fransi, Riyad Bank, Saudi British Bank and Saudi National Bank – to fund construction of the multibillion-dollar tourism project on the west coast of the kingdom.
Red Sea Development, which is owned by the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund, is developing 16 hotels with 3,000 rooms across five islands and two inland sites as part of the first phase.
Located between the coastal cities of Umluj and Al Wajh, the Red Sea project will cover 30,000 square kilometres and comprise a natural archipelago of pristine islands and a vast desert landscape filled with mountain peaks, historical and archaeological treasures and a dormant volcano.
Under Saudi Arabia's plans to diversify its economy, the country will need vast quantities of water – the Red Sea tourism project alone will need an estimated 50,000 cubic metres of water a day at least.
Updated: May 31, 2021 08:53 PM