Membrane technology: KSA achieves key goals

Membrane technology: KSA achieves key goals
Updated 30 May 2014

Membrane technology: KSA achieves key goals

Membrane technology: KSA achieves key goals

The inauguration of Arabian and Japanese Membrane Company’s (AJMC) phase 2 and 3 and signing of a contract for the final phase 4 were held at Rabigh worksite with the aim to make Saudi Arabia a regional leader in the latest membrane technology.
The opening ceremony and signing agreement between Saudi-based ACWA and the Japanese firm were attended by Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al-Ibrahim, governor of the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC), Ryuzo Sakamoto, chairman of TOYOBO, Abdullah Al-Shahree, governor of the Electricity Authority, Japanese Ambassador Jiro Kodera, and Saeed Saad Al-Harthy, chief executive of the AJMC.
Al-Harthy welcomed the guests and said the contract for the last phase of the company would make Saudi Arabia one of the leading countries in producing the latest technology of membrane for destination plants.
The AJMC is the joint venture established by TOYOBO Japan Technology, ACWA Holding and Itochu Corporation at the Rabigh Plus Tech Park in 2010. TOYOBO Company offered its hollow fiber RO membrane elements and technical services for seawater desalination plants.
“In order to meet this technology holder's requirement, we have been sending our youth to Japan for training. The training was given mainly to Saudi engineers and technicians, and in the future their experience in actual manufacturing will make them and other Saudi youth eligible will enable us to achieve a higher Saudization goal,” he said.
"We are now expanding to apply local materials as much as we can; localization is reaching about 62 percent and we will try to increase this localization portion (material cost percentage per selling price),” he added.
He added that the AJMC will be in a position to manufacture the forward osmosis membrane, which is next generation technology in seawater desalination. This technology can realize substantial energy saving in not only desalination but can be applied to power generation industry by forward osmosis pressure.
"I believe AJMC will be a superior membrane supplier in next generation technology too," he said.
The demand for water is increasing 7 to 10 percent annually. The SWCC took the decision to rely more on advanced technology and make emission more environment-friendly. At the moment, the membrane in different desalination plants in the Kingdom is helping in producing a total of 1.5 million cubic meter water every day. They are producing 6,000 membranes per year with each membrane having capacity to produce 50 cubic meter water per day.
Ryuzo Sakamoto, chairman of TOYOBO, said: "With ACWA Holding, we established a strong partnership. I was eagerly waiting for this day and it has give me a great pleasure to stand here with the achievement of our partnership as phases 2 and 3 are completed and we are going to sign a contract for the final phase 4,” he said.
On behalf of minister of water and electricity, Al-Ibrahim said this agreement would take the cooperation between the two countries and companies to more advanced stage.
"Our goal is not to transfer the technology from Japan alone but also make Saudi Arabia capable of rebuilding this technology and export it in turn to other countries,” he said.
The project is the joint venture of AJMC and ACWA Holding, TOYOBO Company Ltd. and ITOCHU Corporation to manufacture RO membrane and provide technical services for a smooth and successful operation. This company is contributing to meet the potable water demand that is rapidly increasing in the Kingdom, elsewhere in the GCC and North Africa region.