Alternative Water Resources Prize (3rd Saudi Organizational Award)


sealineSaline Water Conversion Corporation (Saudi Arabia)

Topic: Innovative Methods and Systems in Desalination

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation has developed a nanofiltration pre-treatment for seawater desalination which very significantly reduces the scaling and fouling potentials of feed to a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant, as well as substantially reducing the TDS of the feed. This allows for the operation of the SWRO desalination plant at substantially higher recovery rates and at lower energy consumption, resulting in a lower cost per cubic meter.

Research was carried out at two pilot plants and then at a real commercial plant. The results achieved were a 25% increase in production giving a 65% recovery and less fouling propensity.

Research also demonstrated that if a two stage nanofiltration array is employed, recovery could be increased to 85%, albeit with a poorer product quality, but this was more than compensated for by the higher productivity and lower energy consumption.

The research demonstrates considerable originality and creativity in identifying the most appropriate ways of using nanofiltration processes on a large scale, as will as with the engineering implications that this entails.

Winner Profile

The Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) was established in 1974 by royal decree as an organization responsible for the planning, construction, operation and maintenance of seawater desalination plants, for the delivery of the water produced by those plants to various cities, and for the development of seawater desalination technologies.

SWCC has 30 operational plants at 15 locations, producing more than 3 Mm3/day of water coupled with electricity production of 5000 MW. Today, Saudi Arabia is the world’s leader in the production of desalinated water, providing 18.05% of world’s production.

SWCC has 14 water transmission systems of more than 4,160 km length of pipelines along with 29 pumping stations for the transmission of desalinated water from the site of production to the population inland.

In 1987, SWCC established the Saline Water Desalination Research Institute (SWDRI) in al-Jubail to conduct research in desalination with the help of thermal and membrane pilot plants.


  1. Arabian Computer News Award in Energy and Utility Implementation in the field of Electronic Transformation (2008).
  2. Prize for Innovation - Saudi Water & Power Forum (2007).
  3. Global Water Intelligence Prize for Innovation (2007).
  4. IDA International Prize (2005).
  5. Late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri Prize for best Operation and Maintenance of Desalination Plants (2005)
  6. Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd Prize of Excellence for a Governmental Organization (2002 & 2005)
  7. Almarai Saudi Co. Award for best research work carried out for lowering the cost of water in both Reverse Osmosis and Thermal Desalination Processes (2001 & 2002)
  8. IDA conference in San Diego - Prize for best innovation of the year on Nano- Filtration pretreatment processes (1999)
  9. King Baudouin International Development Prize (1998)
  10. International Desalination Association (IDA) Award (1995)

Winning Work

  1. Innovation Procedure for extending Life of an Old Desalination Plant by Twenty-Five Years
  2. Development of an Innovative and Cost Effective Approach for Membrane and Thermal Desalination Processes

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