Desalination Provides
Unlimited Water Resources

Israel Has Completed Construction of Three of the World’s Largest Desalination Plants

Desalination has provided a long-term solution to the lack of water resources in Israel. With a population of more than 7.5 million, which is growing by 1.5% annually, Israel’s water supply is coming under increasing pressure due to insufficient natural water sources, continuous over-pumping from aquifers, water quality degradation, and the arrival of over a million new immigrants from the former Soviet Union since 1990.
Consequently, Israel’s Water Commission took the strategic decision that existing water sources and technologies such as sewage recycling and purification would not be enough to sustain the country’s fast increasing water demand. A national plan was drawn up for a network of desalination plants along the Mediterranean coast.

Three Desalination Plants
The first of these desalination plants came on-line in August 2005, less than 30 months after construction began. The Ashkelon seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) plant is the largest desalination plant of its kind in the world, producing 105 million cubic meters of water annually, about 5% of Israel’s total water needs or around 13% of the country’s domestic consumer demand. The plant will increase its production capacity to 137 cubic meters.
The Ashkelon plant is owned by the VID consortium of IDE Technologies and Veolia Water SA. IDE is owned in equal shares by Delek Group and Israel Chemicals.
The second plant at Palmachim near Rishon Lezion just south of Tel Aviv, which is also a SWRO plant, came on stream in September 2007 and produces 30 million cubic meters per year. This amount will be increased to 45 million cubic meters next year and eventually capacity could go as high as 137 cubic meters.
This plant is owned by the Via Maris Desalination consortium, comprising Granite Hacarmel Investments and B. Gaon Holdings.
A third SWRO plant has been completed near Hadera, with a capacity of 100 cubic meters. This plant, which is owned by the H2ID consortium, comprising Shikun U’Binui Holdings (Housing and Construction) and IDE, also plans to increase its annual production capacity to 137 million cubic meters.

Two More Plants in the Pipeline
The tender has been published for a fourth desalination plant, which will be built in Ashdod adjacent to the port city’s oil refinery, and will be scheduled to begin operations in 2012. This plant will also be a 100 million cubic meters per year production capacity plant with an option to increase to 137 million cubic meters per year.
The tender for a fifth plant at Soreq, between Ashdod and Palmichim is about to be published. This plant will be the largest of them all, and when it comes on stream in 2013/2014 it will produce 150 million cubic meters per year.

Pioneering Technology
The design of the Israeli plants includes membrane desalination units and facilities for seawater pumping, brine removal, raw water pre-treatment and product water post treatment.
IDE Technologies, which provided the innovative reverse osmosis technology for the Ashkelon and Hadera desalination plants is internationally recognized as a pioneer and leader in the delivery of sophisticated water solutions. Founded in 1965 by the Israel government, the company specializes in research and development of saline water desalination processes, concentration and purification of industrial streams, wastewater treatment, heat pumps and ice/snow machines. IDE develops, designs, manufactures and installs sophisticated equipment for industrial and domestic applications throughout the world. The company’s equipment and plants are based on self-developed processes and state-of-the-art technology. In addition IDE provides post-sales maintenance and support for plants delivered to its customers.

350 Plants Worldwide
Since its inception IDE has installed over 350 plants of various types and sizes, in nearly 40 countries worldwide, with an overall capacity of over 850,000 cubic meters per day. Some of the first units commissioned are still in operation after more than two and a half decades, to the satisfaction of the users, without significant loss of the original performance or breakdown. The company has undertaken major projects in Italy, Spain, Virgin Islands (US), Cyprus and India.
IDE has successfully installed a variety of water solutions, including Vapor Compression and Multi-Effect Distillation Units, Reverse Osmosis plants, Concentration and Refrigeration Equipment. Moreover, with thermal distillation units ranging from 30 to 18,000 cubic meters per day, and membrane desalination plants ranging from 600 to 330,000 cubic meters per day, some of these plants are of the largest of their kind in the world.

The Palmachim Plant
The Palmachim Plant was built by Via Maris Desalination, a joint venture of the Azrieli Group subsidiary Granite Hacarmel Investments Ltd., held through Global Environmental Solutions Ltd – GES (formerly Tambour Ecology).; Tahal Group; Middle East Tube Ltd.; Ocif Investments and Development Ltd.; and Oceana Advanced Industries Ltd. The Group invested some $100 million to construct the plant, which is using reverse osmosis technology to supply water for roughly 300,000 people in the coastal plain.

Mekorot’s Desalination Plants
In fact Mekorot, Israel’s national water company, has been building and operating smaller desalination plants for years, with 31 desalination plants, mainly in the south of the country, generating 26 million cubic meters per year. In addition to IDE some of these plants have been designed and built by Global Environmental Solutions (GES). These include a plant serving the Negev Heights settlement, which produces 3 million cubic meters of water per year. Tambour employs expert engineers in the areas of process engineering, machinery, chemistry, infrastructure and CAD/CAM drawings, which together, allow it to offer customers complete water treatment solution packages.
TAHAL Group, Israel’s largest engineering consultancy and project management is a global leader in planning and implementing desalination projects. DHV MED is a project management company with the capabilities and experience to execute all phases of a desalination project, from conceptual feasibility studies to detailed design and construction project management. Keystone Engineering specializes in sales promotion of engineering equipment, systems, raw materials and services for a range of technologies including reverse osmosis desalination technology.

Accessory Technologies
Other Israeli companies involved in desalination activities include Crytec, which has developed Bubble Slurry Ice Machine with various applications including desalination plants, while Fluid Ice Systems has developed a method of installation for continuous production of ice-solution suspension, which includes Fluid Ice Generator to generate micro-crystals of ice in gel-like suspension that can be used as coolant in different fields or directly as a component in another technology.
Odis Filtering has developed a range of self-cleaning filters for water plants, while Nirosoft develops water treatment and purification systems, which are especially ideal for desalination plants, and result in water, which meets the most rigorous international standards. Rotec is running successful pilots to improve desalination of brackish water, while Advanced Desalination Technologies has completed a pilot at a municipal facility to improve the efficiency of desalination.

Government Plan
The overall government plan calls for 600 million cubic meters of desalinated water to be produced annually by 2013 and several years after that capacity will be increased to 750 million cubic meters per year, representing Israel’s entire annual household water consumption. All the plants are being built on a Build Operate Own (BOO) basis.