Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has awarded four contracts for the project to develop pilot water desalination plants which will be powered by renewable energy technology.

Masdar awarded contracts to Spain’s Abengoa, France’s Degremont, Italy’s Sidem/Veolia and US-based Trevi Systems to develop technologies for the pilot scheme. Each company will build and operate its own test plant over a period of 18 months to develop and test desalination technologies.

This is the latest of a number of initiatives Masdar is currently undertaking to develop renewable energy. In January, Masdar signed a framework agreement with Portugal’s largest utility company to develop large-scale renewable energy projects.

The partnership between Masdar and Energias De Portugal (EDP) will also aim to promote renewables as a source of foreign aid.