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.

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A traditional solar power desalination plant in Saudi Arabia

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.

ViaThe Green Optimistic