Desalination Membranes Middle East

Deep sea desalination to meet increasing demand from mining

Monday, 24 June 2024

Norwegian start-up Waterise will supply water to the Jordan Phosphates Mines Company (JPMC) via an environmentally friendly deep sea desalination project in the Gulf of Aqaba.


Desalination on the seabed

Waterise’s subsea desalination solution combines reverse osmosis technology with off-the-shelf subsea equipment sourced from Norwegian suppliers.

The company states that it uses 30-40 per cent less energy than conventional desalination, with a project lifetime reduction in carbon emissions of more than 50 per cent.

The solution comprises of modules located on the seabed, 400 meters below the surface, each with a capacity of 50,000 m3 per day. The modules can be used in groups to increase capacity. 

The plant will be connected via an ‘umbilical connection’, a cable that provides electricity and communication, as well as a pipeline that brings water back to the shore.

Niels Petter Wright, CEO of Waterise, said: “We are thrilled to partner with JPMC on this groundbreaking project. Our deep-sea desalination solution based on world-class oil and gas technology and marine operations represents a significant advancement in sustainable water production, and we are confident that it will provide a reliable and environmentally friendly local water supply for JPMC’s critical operations in the Gulf of Aqaba.”


Benefits of seabed desalination

Waterise uses the hydrostatic pressure of the deep sea to power the reverse osmosis process. The sea itself requires no chemical pre-treatment before use and the effluent produced is both far less concentrated than land-based desalination solutions and because the brine is released in the deep sea it is dispersed and diluted away from coastal ecosystems.


Meeting the needs of mining

The project will see Waterise’s deep sea desalination meet the increasing needs of Jordan Phosphates Mines Company (JPMC), one of the world’s largest phosphate producers. Not only will the project meet increasing water needs, but it will also contribute to the company’s operational efficiency and environmental sustainability goals.

JPMC’s Chairman, H.E. Dr Mohammed Thneibat, said: “This partnership with Waterise aligns perfectly with our commitment to sustainable development and environmental stewardship. By utilising this innovative desalination solution, we can ensure a consistent supply of water while minimising our ecological footprint. We look forward to seeing the positive impact this project will have on our operations and the surrounding community.”