World’s largest SWRO desalination plant operational

The world’s largest seawater reverse-osmosis plant, the 624,000 m³/d Sorek plant in Israel, is now fully operational.

The plant’s constructor, IDE Technologies, made this announcement on 15 October 2013.

The Sorek plant, which currently supplies 540,000 m³/d to Israel’s water distribution system, sets significant benchmarks in desalination capacity and water cost, resulting in substantial savings for the local water market while alleviating the country’s water shortage problem. With a financial scope of US$ 400 million and constructed under the build-operate-transfer model, the Sorek plant is located south of Tel Aviv.

The plant, for the first time in a large-scale facility, uses 16-in membranes in a vertical arrangement. This lowers investment costs by decreasing the number of pressure vessels, piping headers, and the amount of control and instrumentation equipment, as well as increasing the capacity of the plant and reducing its footprint.

In addition, the plant’s pressure-center design reduces energy consumption due to the increased efficiency of large high-pressure pumps and energy-recovery devices. Additional measures such as pipe-jacking of long and large diameter pipelines, as well as sludge treatment and its disposal to specific permitted areas, have been implemented to minimize the impact on the terrestrial and marine environments.

“Ushering in a new standard in the global desalination industry, the Sorek plant reinforces our leading position in the industry’s mega‑SWRO space,” said Avshalom Felber, CEO of IDE Technologies. “This plant builds upon several other successful desalination joint ventures, including our large-scale SWRO projects in Hadera and Ashkelon, which demonstrate our expertise and competence as a trusted partner, providing leading technology, project management, engineering and construction knowhow, and financial strength.”