Utico, the UAE’s only private utility provider, is set to join hands with China's Shandong Tianyi Chemical Corporation for a joint venture circular economy project that will extract industrial chemicals from brine, a first of its kind in the GCC in recycling waste seawater from desalination plants.
The new JV project will come up over a 20,000 sq m area near the Utico premises in Ras Al Khaimah at an estimated investment of AED160 million ($43.5 million).
"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," said Hussain Al Lawati, Group CEO of Utico.
"We are also proud to be announcing the project during a period of reinforced interest in sustainability and decarbonization with the UAE holding the UN climate conference, COP 28," he added.
The project also has a 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," noted Li MaoAn, the Chairman of Shandong Tianyi Chemical Corporation.
The end products from the bromine extraction from brine is in demand for industries such as oil & gas, pharmaceuticals and are used in flame retardants, detergent, refrigeration, he stated.
The landmark project will add and reinforce Utico’s renewables portfolio and enhance the company’s decarbonization across its operations, stated Al Lawati.
"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," he added.
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