Hitachi joins Saudi water research
Riyadh, December 22, 2012
Hitachi, a leading global electronics company, has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia's King Abdulaziz University (KAU) for conducting a joint research on water quality monitoring technology to be used in seawater desalination facilities, said the Japanese group.
The joint research will focus on the demonstration and validation, evaluation, and improvement of water quality monitoring technology developed at Hitachi's Yokohama Research Laboratory that will be used in Hitachi Plant Technologies' seawater desalination plant, said Prof Osama S Tayek of the KAU who signed the agreement.
This work will be conducted over a nearly two-year period in co-operation with KAU's Center of Excellence in Desalination Technology (CEDT), one of the most experienced organizations in this field in Saudi Arabia, one of the world's most important markets for seawater desalination plants.
Seawater reverse osmosis plants based on reverse osmosis (RO) membranes are widely used to obtain potable water and industrial water in regions such as the Middle East, which have a serious shortage of water resource.
An important task in operating the Seawater reverse osmosis plants is preventing membrane fouling caused by the foulants included in the seawater. An accurate assessment of seawater properties based on its monitoring is essential for controlling fouling and ensuring stable operation of the plants because the operating parameters must be set in view of these properties.
The water quality monitoring technology developed at Hitachi's Yokohama Research Laboratory measures the very small amount of substances in seawater that cause RO membrane fouling using the quartz crystal microbalance method (QCM method).
Hitachi and Hitachi Plant Technologies have studied the relationship between RO membrane fouling and water quality monitoring data using the QCM method with view to controlling operations for minimize fouling and optimizing the cleaning and replacement intervals of RO membranes.
Using actual seawater from the Red Sea, the joint research with KAU's CEDT will demonstrate the performance of this system and accelerate its commercialization.
The Hitachi Group said it plans to use the results of the joint research to expand business in engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of seawater desalinization plants and their operation and management business.
At the signing ceremony held last month, CEDT executive director Dr. Mohammed H. Albeirutty said, "This project is an opportunity to blaze a new trail in seawater desalinization plants by leveraging the advanced technology of Hitachi and Hitachi Plant Technologies."
Dr Koichi Tsuzuki, VP and executive officer of Hitachi Plant Technologies, said, "It is our hope that Hitachi's technologies, not limited to the fruits of this joint research project, will contribute to the further development of Saudi Arabia."
According to him, Hitachi and Hitachi Plant Technologies will continue to hold discussions with KAU on expanding their areas of co-operation.
In recent years, the Hitachi Group has boosted its presence in Saudi Arabia. In October 2009, Hitachi opened a branch in Riyadh to serve as a base for its operations.-TradeArabia News Service