GE joins Algerian government to build desalination plant, supply fresh drinking water

A joint effort between General Electric Co. and the Algerian government is aimed at bringing desperately needed drinking water to the country.


A joint effort between General Electric Co. and the Algerian government is aimed at bringing desperately needed drinking water to the country.

GE Infrastructure , Water& Process Technologies (GE), a unit of General Electric Co. , and the Algerian government, along with the Overseas Private Investment Corp. (OPIC) and the Algerian Energy Co. (AEC), have announced plans to build Hamma Water Desalination SpA, which will be Africa’s largest seawater desalination plant. Formed and funded by GE (70%) and AEC (30%), the project is part of GE’s ecomagination effort, which strives to build innovative solutions to such global problems as water scarcity. The Hamma project will supply 25% of Algeria’s capital city of Algiers with drinking water.

“Many regions of the world face severe water scarcity, and the issue is getting worse daily,” said George Oliver, CEO, GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies. “The Hamma project is at the forefront of GE’s ecomagination commitment. We look forward to working with the Algerian government on this project that will create new sources of water for the people of Algiers and lessen demands currently placed on their limited supply of fresh, usable water.”

The build-own-operate effort will supply 200,000 cu m (53 million U.S. gal) of potable water a day and reduce energy and overall costs. Currently, the people of Algeria face usable water challenges that range from drinking water shortages and irregular rainfall to an aging infrastructure that can cause immense water losses. Residents typically receive water one out of three days. Hamma will be the first private desalination reverse osmosis potable water project in Algeria, the largest membrane desalination plant in Africa, and one of the largest desalination plants in the world. OPIC, which helps U.S. businesses invest in new and emerging overseas markets, also invested $200 million in the project.

Construction is scheduled to begin in July 2005 and will last 24 months. Other GE projects address potable, industrial, and agricultural sectors to reduce impacts on fresh-water sources.

—Jeanine Katzel, senior editor, Control Engineering,

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