Leader in water desal solutions for success and growth

The world is in need of fresh water. 97% of the water on earth is salted, with an average salinity of 3.5% – way too high for drinking, industry or agriculture. The planet’s fresh water is very unevenly distributed, with most of it being in the form of ice, snow, groundwater and soil moisture. Only 0.3% is in liquid form on the surface. Of the liquid surface fresh water, 87% is contained in lakes, 11% in swamps, and only 2% in rivers.

Getting fresh water to the right place and in the right quantities is critical for life on earth.

Roughly 80% of people around the world live within 60 miles of a coast, so using seawater desalination is an obvious solution to the lack of fresh water we face.

IDE solves the water treatment challenges of the world. That’s what motivates our people to deliver continually outstanding performance to our customers. Our best water solutions are created working together with our customers, partners and the environment. We understand that what really counts is developing seawater and brackish water desalination (desal) treatment plants that reliably and consistently hit performance targets and delivering on the promises we make.

Contact a desalination expert now to find the right desalination solution for you.

Click the following link to learn what is desalination.


Read our blog on how to optimize performance & ongoing operation in your SWRO/BWRO plant

Read our blog on the inevitability of water reuse as a sustainable way to ensure water resiliency

Read our blog on the practical mindset behind lower carbon footprint desalination

Read our blog on the future of brine management

Read our blog on the birth of Israeli desalination


Desalination FAQ

1. Which country desalinates the most water?

There are approximately 16,000 operational desalination plants, located across 177 countries, which generate an estimated 95 million m3/day of fresh water.

Saudi Arabia is the country that relies most on desalination – mostly of seawater. The US is in second place. Per capita SA desalinates more, but the USA desalinates more water overall.

2. What’s the difference between SWRO and BWRO?

SWRO stans for seawater desalination while BWRO is brackish water desalination. Seawater desalination plants can also include BWRO skids when low TDS<300-250 PPM  is required.

3. Which industries use the most desalinated water?

Desalinated water is a broad terminology. In general, the power and refineries are the industries where it is common to see desalination plants since they are close to the sea and have enough energy to support the desalination process. However, due to new regulations, more and more plants use desalination to reuse their water. They, therefore, provide high-quality water by desalinating treated municipal effluents to industries such as textile, semiconductors, etc.

4. What are the advantages of seawater desalination?

The advantage of seawater desalination is that there is no limit to the size of the plant. In addition, the proximity to the sea provides an unlimited quantity of feed water and can accept a high amount of concentrated water

5. What is a desalination plant?

A desalination plant is a plant that uses the technology of separating salt from saline water and produces permeate water. It can be membrane technology, distillation technology, Ion exchange technology, and more. The most common technology for desalination today is membrane technology.

Contact a desalination expert to learn more about IDE’s desalination plants.

6. What are the environmental impacts of desalination?

Seawater desalinating involves some processes that could impact marine life. However, those impacts can be avoided or minimized by implementing environmental safeguards at every project phase. Therefore, every project needs to have an Environmental Impact Statement.

7. What are the costs of desalination?

The cost of desalination can be broken down into the following elements:

  • A fixed price (37 percent)
  • Labor (4 percent)
  • Membrane replacement (5 percent)
  • Maintenance and parts (7 percent)
  • Consumables (3 percent)
  • Electrical energy (44 percent)

Desalination has historically been perceived as a more expensive option compared with the traditional treatment of surface or groundwater, with prices approximately US$1 per cubic meter ($/m3). However, one of the latest breakthroughs in desalination has been an improvement in the overall cost, including operational expenditure (OPEX) and the initial capital expenditure (CAPEX). Over the last 20 years, this has been reduced by 80 percent due to advances in technology and equipment.

Very recently, project tenders in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, and Israel have seen the price fall below $0.50/m3 for the first time. “After a decade in which price drifted upwards as a result of high materials costs and higher energy costs, this is excellent news. Indeed, we expect 2019 to be the best year ever in the desalination market,” said Christopher Gasson, publisher of GWI.

Contact us to see what costs you would incur and save by building a desalination plant.

8. How long does it take to build a plant, from the permit phase to the final construction phase?

The average time it takes to make a desalination plant varies by the size of the plant. For larger plants desalinating > 100,000 m3/day, 24 months to 36 months can be expected. However, it depends on how complicated it the plant is. For a small plant, it’s nine months to 24 months. Again it depends on the complicity of the plant

Wondering how long it took us to build some of our plants. Here are just a few of them:

  1. Sorek 1 150 Million cubic m per year -36 months
  2. Hadera 100 Million cubic m per year 36 months
  3. Afikey Mayim 6500 cubic m /day 18 months

 9. What happens to the salt that is removed from the water?

All desalination technologies produce the same byproduct – concentrate or brine. The amount varies depending on the water source being desalinated. Seawater desalination plants produce more brine – almost 50% of the feed water. This is less in brackish water desalination plants -where brine constitutes between 15% and 30% of the feed.

Increasing regulatory pressure, growing environmental awareness, and more and larger membrane desalination plants are driving the need for better brine minimization – one of the greatest challenges currently facing the water treatment sector.

The current brine minimization process uses a combination of 3 technologies – reverse osmosis, followed by thermal evaporation, followed by thermal crystallization. There are significant differences in the cost of these technologies.

10. How can you improve the performance of an RO membrane?

As with any industrial facility, seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) and brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO) desalination plants are prone to the occasional wear and tear. If not appropriately managed, scaling and fouling are very common issues, leading to membrane clogging and even mechanical failure, affecting the plant’s performance, productivity, and profitability.

IDE’s RO Membrane Management Program (ROMMP) is the best way to keep a constant finger on the plant’s pulse, manage the highest value component of the SWRO system – the RO membranes, and ensure their optimal performance is maintained throughout the operation. Proper operation and maintenance of the RO system are paramount to guaranteeing long-term availability, operational efficiency, and minimal downtime.

Out of more than 300K RO membranes installed globally, IDE’s plants experience minimal replacement, which serves as a living testimony to these plants’ first-rate maintenance.

11. Is there funding available for desalination projects?

Using the water expertise of IDE Technologies, we identify, develop, design, finance, own, and operate large water infrastructure projects worldwide. With experience dating back to the late 20th century, IDE is a world pioneer in developing PPP projects in the water field. World-class understanding in all disciplines in the water technology market, and unrivaled experience in operation and maintenance of large and complicated water infrastructure projects, allow IDE to optimize the most effective and secured solution to its valuable offtakes. A Partnership approach at the forefront of our activities allows efficient risk allocation and the delivery of the most advanced, robust, and most importantly – cost-effective outcome to the off-taker in the shortest possible time.

Contact a desalination expert now to find the right desalination solution for you.


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