Ras Al Khaimah: The UAE’s only private utility provider, Utico, and Shandong Tianyi Chemical Corporation of China are looking at partnering for a trailblazing joint venture circular economy project to extract industrial chemicals from brine, a first of its kind in the GCC inrecycling waste seawater from desalination plants.
In a statement at the 25th Water, Energy, Technology, and Environment (WETEX) and Dubai Solar Show (DSS) exhibition, a Utico statement said that the zero-breakthrough project will come up in Ras Al Khaimah over an area of 20,000 square metres at an estimated investment of AED 160 million.
The joint venture project will be developed adjacent to the Utico premises.
“This is a pioneering project in the region’s renewable energy industry paving the way for innovation in converting brine waste from desalination plants. The project is of particular significance in the GCC, a region which is estimated to contribute a lion’s share of the world’s brine affecting the land and marine ecology adversely. We are also proud to be announcing the project during a period of reinforced interest in sustainability and decarbonisation with the UAE holding the UN climate conference, COP 28,” said Hussain Al Lawati, Group CEO, Utico.
The project also has significant social and political importance since it is part of the channel investments under the UAE-China bilateral cooperation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
The joint venture company will extract bromine and deeply processed hydrobromic acid from discarded concentrated seawater waste from Utico’s desalination plants to produce final products of calcium bromide and sodium bromide, which is in high demand for industrial uses in both local and export markets.
“The project will help conserve marine ecology since even after the extraction of minerals the composition of the water will not change, and there will be no harm to marine life in case of discharging it back to the ocean,” said Li MaoAn, the Chairman of Shandong Tianyi Chemical Corporation.
The end products from the bromine extraction from brine are in demand for industries such as oil & gas, and pharmaceuticals and are used in flame retardants, detergent, refrigeration etc.
The landmark project will add and reinforce Utico’s renewables portfolio and enhance the company’s decarbonisation across its operations.
“We have been consistently reducing our carbon footprint over the years by 6 per cent annually, and cumulatively we have cut down greenhouse gas emissions by over 40 per cent in the last five years. We are aligned to the strategic national Net Zero by 2050 goal of the UAE,” Al Lawati.
He said the project is also being announced with 2023 declared as the `Year of Sustainability’ by H.H. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE President. It also complements the WETEX theme this year, `At the forefront of sustainability.’