NEOM signed an agreement with UK-based Solar Water to build the plants/Bloombergby Kudakwashe Muzoriwa
Saudi Arabia plans to use new solar technology to desalinate seawater in NEOM, a futuristic mega-city that the Kingdom is developing along the country’s northern Red Sea coast.
In a statement, NEOM said that the futuristic city will have the world’s first ‘solar dome’ desalination plants, which is 100 per cent carbon neutral and create less brine than facilities using conventional reverse osmosis technology.
NEOM signed an agreement with UK-based Solar Water to build the plants. Construction will begin in February 2020 and is expected to be completed by end of this year, however, the cost of the project or the amount of drinking water it will process was not revealed.
Unlike reverse osmosis, in which seawater passes through plastic membranes that remove the salt, NEOM will pump ocean water into a dome-like structure of glass and steel. Inside the dome structure, the water will be heated until it evaporates and precipitates as freshwater, said NEOM.
NEOM, a $500 billion project, is the centrepiece of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 plan to end the Kingdom’s dependence on crude and diversify the economy.
In January 2019, NEOM obtained the necessary approvals from authorities in Saudi Arabia to establish a closed joint-stock company under the name ‘NEOM’.
NEOM will have new cities with extensive infrastructure that includes a network of airports, an advanced seaport as well as industrial areas and innovation centres to unlock the potential of a knowledge-based economy and range of world-class tourist destinations.
Furthermore, Saudi Arabia awarded Tamimi Group and Saudi Arabian Trading & Construction Company contracts in September 2019 to finance, build and operate three residential areas with the capacity to house 30,000 people The areas will be part of a so-called ‘Construction Village’ which NEOM later plans to expand to accommodate more than 100,000 residents.