DOHA, Qatar – The Ras Abu Fontas (RAF) A3 desalination plant expansion has been opened in Qatar and marks the start of the country’s journey to membrane-based potable water production.
Costing QR1.75 billion (US$480.6m), the expansion will enable the production of an additional 164,000 m3/day.
RAF A3 represents Qatar’s first desalination project using seawater reverse osmosis membranes and was awarded to Japanese firm Mitsubishi Corporation in 2015.
The project was developed under an independent water project (IWP) model with water and power producer Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) for a 25-year period. Utility Kahramaa will then distribute the water.
Historically, the country’s potable water has been produced via thermal processes, using heat from co-located power plants.
QEWC has tried RO technology but only a small scale as part of a trial.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of RAS A3, minister of energy and industry and chairman of QEWC H.E. Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada reportedly said the project represents a “leap in the quality of water production using reverse osmosis technology, which is distinguished by its low cost and complete independence from the electricity generation process”.