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Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries Opens Saudi Water R&D Center

Saudi Arabia, DAMMAM

South Korea’s Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction announced this week that it has opened new water research and development center in Dammam, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi center, the company’s fourth global R&D center, will focus on developing new technologies in the fields of evaporation and hybrid desalination, Doosan said.

Its other three R&D centers are located in South Korea, Dubai and Tampa, FL in the United States.

The Dammam facility will collaborate with other R&D institutions and universities in the area on energy-efficient and eco-friendly water solutions. Developments will be made accessible for the company’s local projects.

“By establishing a Doosan Water R&D center in Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest desalination market, and collaborating with Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), our major client, on the development of technology, we expect to be able to contribute much more actively to the advancement of the water industry as a whole,” the Saudi Gazette quoted Seokwon Yun, head of Doosan’s Water Business Group, as saying.

In December, the company’s Vietnam subsidiary, Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam signed a $1.01 billion USD desal plant contract with the SWCC to manufacture four high-tech multi-stage flash desalination plants, which will each produce about 92 million liters of freshwater a day.

The “plug-and-play” units will be completely manufactured in Vietnam and then shipped to their installation site, where they can become quickly operational.

In 2011, the company won an $80 million USD contract from Saudi state-run utility Marafiq to build a desalination plant that can produce 54,000 tons of freshwater every day starting in 2014. It will provide 150,000 residents with water supply.

Saudi Arabia is currently on its way to having 30 operating desalination plants, with several to be completed before the end of 2012.

Meanwhile, the country’s National Water Company signed a $27 million USD contract this week for an industrial water treatment center for Jeddah-based Middle East Paper Company.

The 20-year contract will treat 5,000 cubic meters a day.

National Water Company CEO Dr. Luay Al-Musallam said that use of treated water was a better choice for the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors, since it is cheaper than desalinated water, which is needed for drinking water supply.

Treated water can also “help to maintain a strategic reserve of groundwater, as well as protecting the environment,” Musallam said.