The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (Masdar) has announced it is launching a pilot programme to test and develop solar powered sweater desalination technologies.

The pilot study is part of a long-term goal to implement renewable energy-powered desalination plants in the UAE by 2020. The pilot programme will include three test sites, which will be operated for three and a half years. The programme aims to significantly reduce energy consumption by pairing solar technology with energy efficient desalination equipment.

Masdar will coordinate the pilot programme with key local stakeholders, which will include the Abu Dhabi Water & Electricity Authority (Adwea), the Regulation and Supervision Bureau, the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi and the Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company.

The energy company will be issuing a request for proposals (RFP) for technological development for key energy firms to co-develop the pilot programme. Masdar has not indicated when the RFP will be released. Masdar launched the pilot study on 17 January at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi.