Aiming to stabilise future power and water supplies in the country, Saudi Arabia has begun work on the first solar-powered water desalination plant, the first step in a three-part programme to introduce solar energy into the Kingdom.
The programme, launched by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), aims to help stabilise future power and water supplies inside Saudi Arabia through the creation of solar-powered desalination facilities, an official statement said.
Water desalination is critical to providing clean drinking water around the world.
Today, Saudi Arabia produces 18 per cent of the world’s desalinated water. By building water desalination plants that run on solar energy, the Kingdom can reduce operational costs and in turn, reduce consumer costs.
Prince Dr Turki bin Saud bin Mohammad, KACST Vice President for Research Institutes said, “The solar energy programme will reduce the cost of producing desalinated water and of generating power for use in the Kingdom, an oil-dependent nation, which has launched a national energy efficiency programme.”
Saudi Arabia is a prime location to harness solar energy because of its year-round sunshine. The sun in Saudi Arabia emits about 7,000 watts of energy per square metre over an average of 12 hours every day, the statement added.
KACST and IBM have developed a research centre to determine how best to harness and repurpose this solar energy and is preparing to implement this state-of-the-art technology.