Israeli water-filtration firm Amiad Water Systems has signed an agreement for at least NIS 6 million to provide purification mechanisms for the future desalination plant in Ashdod.

The agreement represents the first time an Israeli firm will supply filtration systems to a desalination plant in Israel on a significant scale, the company said. Amiad signed the agreement with the IVM consortium, a group that includes Israeli company Minrav Holding Ltd. and SADYT of Spain, which won the international tender to build the desalination plant from Mekorot, the national water company.

Both the filtration system and the desalination facility, which is expected to provide 100 million cubic meters of water annually, are slated to be in use by 2013.

“I am happy about the agreement signed with IVM for the new Mekorot desalination plant, which will enable an Israeli filtration system – produced ‘blue and white’ – to be installed on one of the biggest desalination plants in Israel for the first time on a significant scale,” Amiad CEO Arik Dayan said.

The purification mechanisms will use Amiad’s Arkal automatic cleaning-disk technology, which provides protection to both the ultrafiltration and reverse-osmosis membranes of the desalination facilities, the company said. Such membranes are some of the most sensitive and difficult to clean elements of desalination plants, Amiad said.

The polymer materials that compose the filtration systems are highly resistant to damage from seawater, and they provide an alternative solution to cleansing mechanisms that involve chemicals and electricity, Dayan said.

There are large-scale desalination facilities in Palmahim, Hadera and Ashkelon, while plants at Ashdod and Soreq are under development. The three existing facilities currently produce about 300 m.cu.m. annually. But with the addition of Ashdod and Soreq, as well as the doubling of Palmahim in size, the government has expressed hopes that desalinated water will cover 85 percent of domestic water consumption by 2013. In January, the process to double the size of the Palmahim facility from 45 m.cu.m. to 90 m.cu.m. began.

“The desalination facility in Ashdod is another step in a long string of achievements in the field of water supply, quality and maximum reliability at all times and under all circumstances,” Mekorot CEO Shimon Ben-Hamo said. “The integration of the filtration systems at the facility match the company’s policies in technological development.”

This winter, Amiad signed two projects similar to that of Ashdod in Australia, worth about $8m. and $1.6m., the company said.

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