A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Veolia, a leading provider of water, waste, and energy management solutions; ITOCHU, a Japanese trading company and NEOM’s energy, water, and hydrogen subsidiary ENOWA.

According to the terms of the MoU, these firms will work together to build OXAGON, NEOM’s advanced manufacturing and innovation city, a first-of-its-kind selective desalination plant fueled by 100% renewable energy.

The project, which is scheduled to start producing early-water in 2024, will be essential to achieving ENOWA’s vision of developing a sustainable, ample water supply for domestic, industrial, and commercial use. The plant will use cutting-edge membrane technology to produce independent brine streams, in keeping with NEOM’s commitment to creating a circular economy. ​

Peter Terium, CEO of ENOWA, commented on the MoU, saying that partnering with international experts in sustainable water solutions is essential to NEOM’s goal of being a world leader in integrated sustainable water systems. Our goal at ENOWA is to cultivate an abundant supply of the necessities of life while preserving the natural world. In one of the most water-stressed areas of the globe, we will produce, treat, and reuse water using integrated, sustainable technologies. This new desalination plant is one example of the type of sustainable infrastructure and circular economy we are developing to meet our zero-carbon footprint and zero-waste goals.”

This plant will meet the water needs of NEOM with a production capacity of 500,000m3 of desalinated water per day by project completion in 2025, approximately 30% of NEOM’s forecasted total water demand. In line with NEOM’s environmental goals, it will use advanced and innovative membrane separation technologies to produce water, as well as concentrated brine streams.

This enables the brine to be classified as a product, rather than waste, therefore minimizing the plant’s environmental impact and redefining the entire business model for future desalination operations. ENOWA will treat the desalination plant’s brine to supply companies that use high purity industrial salt, bromine, boron, potassium, gypsum, magnesium, and rare metals.