Combined Solar Power and desalination Plants: Techno-Economic Potential in Mediterranean Partner Countries

Place: morocco, Africa
Sustainable management of natural resources Sustainable management of natural resources
Total Budget: € 0,00 | Period: From June 2008 To June 2010


• to carry out feasibility studies of power plants combining Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology with seawater desalination in the Mediterranean region
• to make a technology review and a selection of CSP and desalination configurations adapted for application in the Mediterranean partner countries.
• to assess the technico-economic potential of this type of combined generation in the region.
• The feasibility studies were performed in Cyprus, Egypt, Italy, Morocco and PNA.

Desalination technology:
• Using solar energy is a solution to reduce the cost of seawater desalination.
• There are basically two different options to combine CSP with seawater desalination. The first is to combine a CSP plant with a thermal desalination unit, exploiting the exhaust heat of the steam cycle to drive a thermal desalination unit. The second is to exploit only the electricity output of the CSP plant with a reverse osmosis desalination unit.

• The project dealt with both options


Mediterranean Energy Observatory - France

Lead applicant

Since its creation, OME has carried out regional studies on every energy topics: hydrocarbons, electricity, renewable energy, energy efficiency, as well as transverse issues such as energy perspectives, regulation, energy security etc. These studies are done through an original cooperation between OME’s permanent staff and experts from member companies organized in committees. Cooperation with academic institutions, experts from the industry and/or governments is also carried-out. OME has also signed memoranda with several institutions and organisations in attempt to strengthen cooperation in areas of common interest. Today, in a fast-changing energy world, more than ever, OME, with its unique comprehensive expertise, provides the actors of the Mediterranean energy sector with a better understanding of energy markets, their possible evolution and helps to promote cooperation for a sustainable energy future.

Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Canter, PEC - Palestine

Initiative partner

National Energy Research Center - Jordan

Initiative partner

KERNENERGIEN solar sustainable strategy - Germany

Initiative partner

INVEN Engineering GmbH - Germany

Initiative partner

France electricity - France

Initiative partner

The German Aerospace Center - Germany

Initiative partner

New and Renewable Enegy Authority - Egypt

Initiative partner

TECHINT - the Techint Group - Italy

Initiative partner

The company began providing engineering services to clients in Europe and Latin America. Construction activities soon followed, among them the southern gas pipeline in Argentina, inaugurated in 1949. Production of steel structures and heavy mechanical equipment and parts was also started near Buenos Aires.

EEWRC (Energy, Environment and Water Research Center) - Cyprus Research & Educational Foundation (CREF) - The Cyprus Institute - Cyprus

Initiative partner

The CyI comprises three specialized multidisciplinary research centers, developed in partnership with leading international institutions in their respective thematic areas. Energy, Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC) partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Science and Technology in Archaeology Research Center (STARC) partnered with the Centre de recherche et de restauration des musées de France (C2RMF) Computation-based Science and Technology Research Center (CaSToRC) partnered with the University of Illinois.

Centre for Renewable Energy Development - Morocco

Initiative partner

CDER is a public commercial and industrial character endowed with legal personality and financial autonomy, under the technical supervision of the Ministry of Energy and Mines. CDER, development operator CDER occurs along three main axes: Development through. research and technological adaptation; . the quality control of equipment and services; . capacity building (training center). Promotion with. the design and implementation of promotional tools, finance and communication.

National Office of Potable Water - Morocco

Initiative partner

It is a leading player in the field of drinking water and sanitation in Morocco, it is responsible for planning, production and distribution of water resources.

Mekorot water company, Hydrology department - Israel

Initiative partner

Mekorot is a wholly owned government company, under the purview of the Ministry of Energy and Water and the Ministry of Finance. Mekorot was defined in the Water Law as the National Water Company and it is accountable to the Water Authority – the regulator that supervises Mekorot’s activities on behalf of the State. Mekorot was founded in 1937, before the establishment of the State. Since then, Mekorot have made a profound national contribution to realizing the Zionist vision and transforming it into a sustainable reality. The infrastructure and huge water plants, founded by the company, have essentially facilitated life in Israel and provided solutions, at all times, to all sectors – households, fields, farmers and industrial plants. Mekorot has always considered the development of the State, the blooming of the desert and painting Israel green to be a national imperative. In the spirit of the vision, the company has succeeded in developing knowledge and unique capabilities based on careful and accurate planning processes. Mekorot has formulated solutions over the years, which it has implemented in infrastructure, with “every drop of” Zionistic entrepreneurship and real substance. Concurrently with infrastructure and water projects, which are the basis for the existence of a stable and prosperous country, Mekorot carries out ongoing operations for a regular, reliable, and quality water supply. This is in the belief that there cannot be a situation where water is not supplied to all parts of the country, according to the needs.

The main objective of the MED CSD project is the assessment of the technico-economic potential of CSP for electricity and desalination in Mediterranean region through carrying out feasibility studies of combined concentrated solar power and desalination plants in five countries (Cyprus, Egypt, Italian Islands, Morocco, and Palestinian National Authority).

A complete review of technology options has been elaborated and a comprehensive methodology to carry out the feasibility study has been developed. In parallel, an assessment of water demand and deficit as well as of electricity demand has been conducted for each country. Derived from these assessments, markets potential scenarios for CSP desalination and generation have been performed. The purpose of the MED-CSD comparison is to select, based on the previous investigation, the most appropriate thermal or mechanical desalination method for the combination with CSP, and to find a combination that could be representative for large scale dissemination. This combination increase energy optimozation with other associated benificials conserning environmnetal, economical and social aspects that were assessed furing project activities. Forthermore, using solar energy is a Desalination technology solution to reduce the cost of seawater desalination.

Direct Normal Insolation (DNI) of the MENA-Region and selected MED-CSD site Direct Normal Insolation (DNI) of the MENA-Region and selected MED-CSD sites

Mediterranean countries are facing high socioeconomic development needs, along with rapid population increase and increased urbanization. As a consequence, energy demand is expected to grow significantly in the next decades. While conventional energy resource endowment greatly differs between countries, they all face increasing local and global environmental constraints. In addition to energy and environment, water is becoming a major source of pressure in most of the Mediterranean countries. Indeed, freshwater sources in the region are persistently over-used.The foreseen scarcity of freshwater resources in Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries is challenging food independency and social stability of a growing population within the region. The Mediterranean region is characterized by a high increase of the demand both in terms of water and electricity. Furthermore, desalination is still an expensive solution for Mediterranean countries, mostly due to huge need of energy.

Results give information to decision makers for the establishment of a favourable framework for the deployment of concentrated solar power and desalination plants through the techno-economic analyses of potential projects conducted. Combined production of electricity and water from solar resources is feasible and economically viable outcomes. It contributes to the environmental protection (reduction of CO2 emission), potentiali use of local resources, to the development of employment and poverty reduction, to enhanse EU Policies, to positive inpact on new European Neighbourhood Policy, on Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development and Mediterranean Solar plan.
The MED-CSD project results reinforce the past results of recent studies as AQUA-CSP, (MED-CSP and others), that is to say a sustainable solution to the threatening water crisis in the Mediterranean region, and describe a way to achieve a balanced, affordable and secure water supply structure for the next generation.

The MED-CSD project supports decision makers in many countries i.e. Observatoire Méditerranéen de l’Energie, Centre de Développement des Energies Renouvelables, Electricité de France, Kernenergien - the solar power company, National Energy Research Center, New and Renewable Energy Development and Utilization Authority, Office National de l’Eau Potable, Palestinian Energy and Environment Research Center,Techint Compagnia Tecnica Internazionale S.p.A, The Cyprus Institute - Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, INVEN Engineering GmbH, Mekorot Water Company Ltd. implementation of this initiative will benefits all Mediterranean countries.

The initiative was carried out through the involvement of several human resources, both at the administrative and  scientific level. furthermore, researchers from more than 10 countries, experts, decision makers from some countries and companies were involved in the project activities.

No significant difficulties were found 

The development of CSP and water desalination projects in the Mediterranean countries would greatly contribute to the protection of the environment both at the global level by reducing the emissions of CO2 and at the regional and local levels, by reducing the emissions of other pollutants such as NOx and SO2. The development of such projects is a priority due to the large solar resources available in the region and to the fact that such plants would avoid the construction of thermal power plants on the Mediterranean coast which has to be protected. An impact that can be considered positive in all the Countries in the CO2 emission reduction. moreover, this project contributes positively to the development of a sustainable energy and the deployment of an access to clean energy. 

this initiative contributes significantly to economic development and job creation in these countries (new activities, less exodus, increase of incomes, industry, maintenance …).development of a sustainable energy and the deployment of an access to clean energy and water would enable to improve the quality of life of the population. This will also contribute to the social development, especially in case of projects allowing access to electricity and water to population with no (or not enough) access at present. The impact of this project was evaluated also on the Mediterranean Solar Plan, the Mediterranean Strategy for Sustainable Development, the new European Neighbourhood Policy and to EU policies.

The Action Plan (D4.2) contains a summary of each feasibility study and recommendations for the large scale development of the MED-CSD concept. A high level final conference took place in Rabat, Morocco, on 18th and 19th May 2010.The event was also widely covered by many media types. workshop was organized jointly with ONEP at the occasion of the final conference, and aimed to give participants both the basics of CSP and Desalination technologies (and on-going projects) and an overview of renewable energy in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region.

MED-CSD project - Final conference MED-CSD project - Final conference