Kuwait Plant to Set Global Benchmark After Water Reuse Upgrade

Production capacity of the plant is to be increased from 375,000 to 600,000 cubic meters per day to become world’s largest membrane-based wastewater treatment facility. GE will provide advanced ZeeWeed 1000 Submerged Hollow-Fiber Membranes and AG LF Low-Fouling Reverse Osmosis Membranes.

Kuwait’s Sulaibiya Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Plant is set to become the world’s largest-of-its-kind facility that uses membrane technology following an agreement to drive expansion.

GE will provide ZeeWeed 1000 submerged hollow-fiber membranes and AG LF low-fouling reverse osmosis (RO) membranes for the plant that will enhance its production capacity from 375,000 to 600,000 cubic meters per day, making it the largest such facility in the world. Kharafi National will undertake the expansion works.

“Sulaibiya Wastewater Treatment and Reclamation Plant leverages the world’s most advanced technologies to accelerate our operational efficiency and strengthen production capacity. This is led by our commitment to support the country in meeting its growing water requirements,” said Dr. Ibrahim Al-Ghusain, corporate director, Kharafi National. “In 2004, when the project was commissioned, it was the world’s largest to use reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration membrane-based water purification, also provided by GE. Through this expansion, we are taking our facility to the next level by continuing to use the most modern technologies available.”

“Kuwait today is serving as a model by meeting its water requirements through investments in water infrastructure, headlined by the Sulaibiya plant. With demand for water increasing at an estimated 6 percent annually and Kuwait having one of the world’s largest per capita consumptions of water, Kharafi National is focused on strengthening wastewater treatment capacity to meet water reuse goals in non-potable and industrial applications, alleviating the pressure on more pristine desalinated water supplies,” said Heiner Markhoff, president and CEO—water and process technologies for GE Power & Water. “The new expansion of the Sulaibiya plant using GE’s advanced technologies will scale up its wastewater treatment capacity significantly with greater efficiency and reduced environmental footprint.”

GE's immersed ZeeWeed 1000 ultrafiltration membrane system that will be installed at the Sulaibiya wastewater treatment facility is ideal for retrofits and large plants. The technology is applicable in direct filtration, coagulation, tertiary filtration, multi-media filter retrofits and pretreatment for RO. It brings a high-efficiency design with low capital, operating and life cycle costs. The water produced meets stringent water standards while using lesser chemicals, reducing the environmental footprint and producing less residual waste compared to typical conventional wastewater treatment systems.

The AG LF series proprietary thin-film RO membrane elements are characterized by high flow, high sodium chloride rejection and low fouling surface properties. They help resist degradation from water containing bacteria, colloids and other materials that foul and shorten membrane element life. The membranes require fewer cleaning cycles compared to conventional brackish membranes and can benefit from increased time between cleanings by up to 50 percent. They feature a unique coating technology that improves cleaning cycles, reducing pressure and friction on the surface of the membranes, making them resistant to organic fouling.

Apart from its partnership on the world’s largest wastewater treatment plant in Sulaibiya, GE has established long-term business relations in the healthcare, aviation, energy and oil and gas sectors in Kuwait for nearly eight decades. The company also is focused on driving the competencies of the Kuwaiti professionals through dedicated training and knowledge transfer programs.

GE has partnered with the Sabiya site, the country’s largest combined-cycle power plant, to expand capacity by 2,000-megawatts (MW), as well as provided advanced F-technology power generation equipment for the 800-MW Shuaiba North power project. Recently, GE organized a “Powering Efficiency” forum in Kuwait City, which showcased the company’s newly enhanced 9FA gas turbine, its advanced FlexEfficiency 60 portfolio and the new heavy fuel oil combined-cycle plant.

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