Addressing the growing need for water

High voltage gas-insulated switchgear to serve desalination facility in industrial city of Yanbu

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer of desalinated water and the industrial city of Yanbu is the Kingdom’s main center for seawater desalination.

Yanbu was originally a Red Sea fishing port, but over the last twenty years or so, it has developed into one of Saudi Arabia’s main industrial cities comprising petrochemical and non-hydrocarbon facilities, plus a refinery and the western terminus of the parallel pipelines that carry liquefied natural gas and oil.

It’s development has largely been due to its location close to the Suez Canal, which provides easy export of its produce, plastics, oil, gas, etc. to the European market, and the Americas and Far East, which are roughly equal distance away.

With no real source of potable water to support its industry and its growing population, Yanbu has developed many desalination plants, the latest of which will be operated by the Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) and will produce 550,000 cubic meters of desalinated water per day. The SWCC controls 27 desalination stations across the country producing more than three million cubic meters of potable water a day.

To facilitate the supply of power to the new desalination facility and support the grid integration of a new 2.5 gigawatts (GW) power generation plant, ABB will design and deliver 420 kilovolt (kV) gas insulated switchgear (GIS) equipment, which is scheduled to be commissioned in June 2014.

GIS facilitates switching operations and helps protect electrical grids and associated equipment. As the name suggests, all key parts are enclosed in an insulating gas, which allows up to 90 percent space savings when compared with conventional air-insulated switchgear technology.

ABB recently announced a $40 million investment in Saudi Arabia for the construction of a new manufacturing plant for high-voltage GIS and the establishment of a transformer service workshop, in accordance with its business approach to locate production facilities closer to its customers.


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About the author

Mark Curtis

I am content manager for Electrification business at ABB Headquarters in Zurich
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