SUEZ wins first major SWRO desalination project in China 

French-based utility company SUEZ has won the engineering, procurement and construction contract for Wanhua Chemical Group’s Penglai seawater reserve osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant in China. The project will contribute to preserving local freshwater resources, protect the ecological environment and help Wanhua and its industrial partners move along their ecological transition. This is the first for an industrial customer and a major desalination project won by the group after six years.

As part of China’s action plan to promote large-scale utilisation of desalination technology, 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 SWRO desalination plant with high 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, the SWRO desalination plant will treat water that is discharged by the direct cooling system of an adjacent power plant. In the power plant, nearby seawater is used as part of the cooling system. As a result of this process, heated seawater helps cut down electricity consumption, through reverse osmosis (RO). This in turn 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 four major water and wastewater treatment projects carried out between 2017-2022. Having built a large RO 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 footprint in the southern hemisphere, SUEZ delivered the Perth Seawater Desalination Plant (PSDP), which supplies over 2 million people with more than 45 billion litres of fresh drinking water each year.

Sabrina Soussan, chairman and CEO of SUEZ, said: “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 technology that creates value for the local environment to drive the ecological transition.”