The Middle East is already the world’s largest desalination market, accounting for almost one-half of global capacity, which is estimated by the International Desalination Association (IDA) at 78.4mn cmd. Saudi Arabia and UAE in particular are developing large scale desalination projects, but they also both have launched programs to develop renewable technologies to get around the high electricity costs of conventional desalination technologies.

This month UAE state renewables firm Masdar launched a pilot desalination program. Masdar CEO Sultan Ahmad al-Jabir said: “With the UAE’s growing economy and rising population, it is crucial that we identify a sustainable desalination solution to meet our long term water needs. Connecting desalination technologies to renewable energy enables us to capitalize on our abundant resources, such as solar, as a solution to improve water security.” The pilot program will be carried out at three test sites in the UAE over 3.5 years and is intended to lead to a commercial scale plant by 2020. (CONTINUED - 743 WORDS)