Mega-Desalination Plant in Middle East Also Electricty Generator

June 16, 2008 – 1:39 am


The Ruwais Desalination Plant in the United Arab Emirates is part of an industrial complex roughly 200 miles west of the capital city, Abu Dhabi. Ruwais generates 700 megawatts of electric power when operating at capacity.

Abu Dhabi National Oil Company is the primary owner of the facility and plans to increase the plant’s refining and petrochemicals capacity as well as its desalination abilities. The desalination plant processes about eight million gallons of water daily, which is then used by the refinery.


Ruwais is representative of a rising number of local refining and processing plants in the Middle East that has attracted European and North American equipment suppliers.

The plant features four GT 13E2 gas turbines with accompanying generators. Each turbine has roughly 160MW capacity coupled with clean combustion natural gas burners. When turbines are used with oil, water injection can lower NOx emissions.

desalination1.jpg The desalination plant uses an evaporation process to sequester salt in seawater. Heated brine is fed into 12 heat recovery chambers. A fraction flashes to vapour, condenses and is distilled in small tubes. The brine is then mixed with additional seawater and recirculated into the plant at a high temperature.

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