SUEZ wins the Group’s first desalination project for an industrial customer

SUEZ together with its partners1 won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for Wanhua Chemical Group’s Penglai sea water reserve osmosis desalination plant. The project will contribute to preserving local freshwater resources, while protecting the ecological environment, helping Wanhua and its industrial partners move along their ecological transition. This is the largest desalination project won by the Group since February 1st 2022 and the first one for an industrial customer.

Our planet has approximately 1.45 billion km3 of water resources, most of which are saline. Only about 2.5% are freshwater. In recognition of freshwater scarcity, SUEZ is actively developing desalination technology to redress water shortages in coastal areas.

In this context, China’s National Development and Reform Commission and Ministry of Natural Resources has unveiled an action plan with a clear agenda to promote large-scale utilization of desalination technology. Industrial parks will become key centers in this initiative.

As part of this action plan, Wanhua Chemical Group, a top 25 global chemical company, is planning to build a new chemical industrial park in Penglai District, Yantai City, Shandong Province. To conserve scarce freshwater resources and improve the resilience of the local water ecosystem, SUEZ has been awarded a contract to design and build a 100 MLD seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant with the highest industrial standards: the plant will use seawater as an alternative water source for the chemical industrial park. Once commissioned, the desalination plant will save more than 36 million m3 of freshwater per year.

Designed with the principles of circular economy in mind, the SWRO desalination plant will treat cooling water that is discharged by the direct cooling system of an adjacent power plant. In the power plant, nearby sea water is used as part of the cooling system. As a result of this process, heated seawater helps cut down electricity consumption, through reverse osmosis. In turn, this results in lower carbon emissions compared to those generated by directly drawing seawater.

This project marks a new milestone in SUEZ’s cooperation with Wanhua Chemical Group after 4 major water and wastewater treatment projects carried out between 2017 and 2022. It is also a new major desalination reference for SUEZ, and the first one for an industrial customer.

Having built one of the world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plants in Australia, SUEZ cemented itself as a major player in creating circular solutions for water, with the development of the Victorian Desalination Plant (VDP). Continuing its leading footprint in the southern hemisphere, SUEZ delivered the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant (PSDP), which supplies over 2 million people with more than 45 billion liters of fresh drinking water each year.

This latest joint project with Wanhua Chemical Group confirms SUEZ’s position as a global player in large-scale desalination projects. It also marks SUEZ’s foray into China’s desalination market, and a new step in our development in the country. Building on our 50-year desalination expertise at SUEZ, we will achieve differentiation through innovative technology that creates value for the local environment to drive the ecological transition.

Sabrina Soussan ,Chairman and CEO of SUEZ