Gallery: United Arab Emirates Tests New Solar Powered Desalination Proc...

A traditional solar power desalination plant in Saudi Arabia

In coastal desert countries like the United Arab Emirates, fresh, clean water is a lacking resource. Desalination is a necessary process to receive fresh water, but it often harms the environment by returning concentrated saline back to the ocean. Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency recently announced that they have developed a new solar-powered desalination system that would cut costs and be more eco-friendly.

In desert areas like the Emirates, dust and high temperature often impair the efficiency of solar panels in existing desalination plants. New technologies remedy these problems while reducing the cost of water treatment. In a press release, the agency said that two pilot sites, in Sweihan and Hameem, have shown that the negative environmental impact of desalination can be reduced, along with operating costs. Each plant is capable of producing about 35 kilowatts per hour, having a total capacity of 1050 kilowatt/hour.

Trials of the new solar power system are being tested at 30 different locations within the country. If the new process proves to be successful, Saudi Arabia and other countries will begin to use the system.


Desalination is the most effective way of cleaning water, and several plants already exist in the United Arab Emirates. However, the process can have adverse environmental impact, mainly concentrated saltwater being returned to the sea and killing marine life. New systems like the one developed by the UAE can eliminate or mitigate this problem, resulting in the same amount of clean water but with less damage to the environment.

Via The Green Optimistic


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  1. china designers August 29, 2011 at 2:51 pm

    Maybe they are using my ideas. I told them that, in the end of October 2010.

  2. Possum February 10, 2011 at 1:02 am

    In Australia, near Melbourne, despite citizen opposition, a large desalination plant is being constructed to run on brown coal. Brown coal is the most polluting of all coals and will add a large amount of CO2 to the atmosphere (despite expensive attempts of carbon capture and storage) in a country which, per capita, is one of the highest polluters in the world. Although Australia has an abundance of sunshine, it lack behind in using solar. As a direct result of such government policies, instead of being a leader in promoting sustainability, promotes CO2 pollution.

  3. Sustainable Future January 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    I think it is a step to the rigth direction. What I cannot understand is that sun-poor countries like Germany are investing a lot of money into solar energy, whereas sun-rich countries like Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman etc. are still relying on their diminishing oil reserves. They have all the money and unused land to invest in the future energy. Who knows perhaps todays OPEC will be tomorrows OEEC.

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