GE Announces Plans for Largest Desalination Plant in Africa

June 27, 2005

At a ceremony held in Algiers, GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies, a unit of General Electric Company, joined the Algerian Government, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and the Algerian Energy Company (AEC), in announcing plans to build Hamma Water Desalination Spa, Africa's largest seawater desalination plant. Formed and funded by GE and AEC, the Hamma project is part of GE's ecomagination effort, which is aimed at building innovative solutions to tough global problems, like water scarcity. The Hamma project will supply 25% of Algeria's capital city's population with desperately needed drinking water.

"Many regions of the world face severe water scarcity, and the issue is getting worse daily," said George Oliver, CEO of 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."

By supplying 200,000 cubic meters (53 million U.S. gal.) of potable water a day and reducing energy and overall costs, the build-own-operate project will lessen Algeria's water scarcity issues. Currently, the people of Algeria are plagued with usable water challenges that range from drinking water shortages and irregular rainfall to aging infrastructure that can cause immense losses of water. Because of the scarcity of clean water, the residents of Algiers only receive water one out of every three days.

Funded by GE (70%) and AEC (30%), Hamma will be the first private desalination reverse osmosis potable water project in Algeria. The project will also be the largest membrane desalination plant in Africa, as well as one of the largest desalination plants in the entire world. OPIC, which helps U.S. businesses invest in new and emerging overseas markets, also financed $200 million towards the project. Construction on Hamma is scheduled to begin in July 2005 and is estimated to last 24 months. Hamma joins GE's expanding ecomagination and water scarcity solutions portfolio, which includes a wide-range of customized water solutions designed to create new sources of usable water for the potable, industrial and agricultural sectors, while lessening impacts on fresh water sources. GE's largest ecomagination project and the world's largest membrane-based water reclamation facility is the Sulaibiya facility in Kuwait. This facility purifies municipal wastewater to produce 100 million gal. per day of clean water for industry and agricultural uses. GE now has an installed base of more than 1,100 water treatment plants that can achieve flow rates ranging from 30,000 to 100 mm gal. per day.

At GE's company-wide ecomagination launch in May, GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies showcased two environmentally friendly products that meet GE's ecomagination criteria. The products aid the potable, industrial and agriculture industries in meeting their needs while also achieving regulatory compliance and minimizing environmental impacts. GE, Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies' ecomagination products include:

GE’s Water Scarcity Solutions:

-By tapping into new sources of water, GE's Water Scarcity solutions remove saline from brackish and seawater—producing fresh, usable water for drinking, irrigation and industrial uses, which lessens stress placed on limited sources of fresh water as well as dependence placed on environmental factors, like irregular rainfall.

Advanced Membrane and Separation Solutions Technologies:

-GE's Advanced Membrane and Separation Solutions produces customized, clean, usable water that benefits a wide-range of industries. Industry depends on water as its lifeblood. GE's Advanced Membrane and Separation Solutions Technologies help industries, like the pharmaceutical, manufacturing and beverage, increase productivity, reduce energy and overall costs—all while striking a positive balance between industrial and environmental needs.

Source: GE Infrastructure, Water & Process Technologies