Nuclear will power desalination in Middle East

09 November 2010

Photovoltaic solar is too costly to power desalination, but may become cheaper over time

Nuclear power will be the technology of choice to power the energy-intensive desalination sector in the Middle East in the future.

Speaking at MEED Abu Dhabi Conference 2010 on 9 November, Fady Juez, managing director of UAE water and wastewater company Metito Utilities, stated that,  “certainly, reverse osmosis will be powered by nuclear [in the future]”.

This is because the desalination process uses a lot of energy which necessitates a cheap and abundant electricity resource. Using the traditional fossil fuel resources of natural gas and oil to generate power will be unsustainable in the long-term.

While solar power offers another alternative, Juez stated that “the cost and size of using photovoltaic solar [to desalinate seawater] means that it is not a cost effective option”.

A representative of Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (Adwea) stated that the economics of using solar power to desalinate water could change in the next 15 years making it a more viable option for the sector.

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