ITOCHU in partnership with ENOWA and Veolia sign Joint Development Agreement to build new generation of desalination plant powered by 100% renewable energy in NEOM

December 22, 2022

ITOCHU Corporation (headquartered in Minato-ku, Tokyo; Keita Ishii, President & COO; hereinafter “ITOCHU”) announced that ITOCHU along with ENOWA, the energy, water and hydrogen subsidiary of Saudi Arabia’s NEOM, and Veolia, a leading environmental services company, sign a Joint Development Agreement on December 9th, 2022, to build a new generation desalination plant powered by 100% renewable energy in NEOM (the “Project”). This Joint Develop Agreement follows a Memorandum of Understanding between the parties announced in June 2022.

NEOM is the largest next-generation development in the world and a core aspect of Saudi Vision 2030, in connection with which the Kingdom has announced an investment of over USD 500 billion.

The Project will be a part of NEOM’s core infrastructure, providing over 500,000 m3 of desalinated water per day and two highly concentrated brine streams which will be processed by a separate downstream facility. This will be the first “zero liquid discharge” desalination project in the world, with the brine refined and processed into salt and minerals for various productive end uses instead of being released back into the sea.

A core aspect of ITOCHU’s Medium-term Management Plan (released in May 2021) is to “enhance our contribution to and engagement with SDGs through business activities” and values global environmental issues, including global biodiversity, as one of the most important management issues. The Project will not only contribute to such goals, but also contribute to the realization of a sustainable society, a goal of both the Kingdom and NEOM.

Since the 1970s, ITOCHU has delivered seawater desalination plants with a daily production capacity of more than 1 million tons per day in the Kingdom. ITOCHU established a joint venture, Arabian Japanese Membrane Company, LLC, which manufactures and sells permeable membrane elements, and provides support for seawater desalination projects in the Kingdom. Outside of the Kingdom, ITOCHU has developed and currently manages major seawater desalination projects in Victoria, Australia, and Barka, Oman, building on its experience with many environment and waste management projects in Europe. ITOCHU believes its involvement in such projects will contribute to solving water and environmental issues around the world.

Outline of the Project

Contact Counterparty ENOWA (subsidiary of NEOM, in charge of energy and water)
Water Production Capacity 500,000 tons per day
Sponsors ENOWA, ITOCHU, Veolia
Construction Start (Target) 2023
Water Production Start (Target) 2024-2025
Location Tabuk Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Total area of NEOM: 26,500 km2 (similar size to Belgium)


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