Taekyung Group chairman Kim Hae-ryun, left, and deputy-minister level SWCC Governor Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Abdul-Karim pose for a photo in Seoul, on Sep. 18. [Courtesy of Taekyung Group]
Saudi Arabia, alongside other Middle Eastern and African countries, is facing severe water shortages and the country’s solution to this challenge lies with seawater desalination technology, which removes sodium chloride and other inorganic salts from seawater. But discharging the highly concentrated water that is generated by the desalination process directly into the ocean harms marine ecosystems, requiring technology to use the concentrated water instead of simply discharging it.
A South Korean medium-sized company has paved the way for Saudi Arabia to solve this problem. Taekyung Group, a midsize corporation specializing in basic materials and inorganic chemicals, said Monday that it has agreed to strengthen its cooperation with Saudi Arabia’s Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) in using carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) technology, which captures and utilizes or sequesters carbon dioxide. “Saudi Arabia, the world’s largest producer of fresh water, provides 50 to 90 percent of its water supply to cities through seawater desalination,” an official from the group said. “SWCC, which is responsible for the task, led the signing of the agreement through a personal visit to Korea by deputy-minister level SWCC Governor Abdullah Ibrahim Al-Abdul-Karim, who came with a blueprint for the environment and the future.”
Under the latest agreement, Taekyung Group and the SWCC agreed to cooperate on recycling technology for concentrated water and carbon dioxide generated during the desalination process in Saudi Arabia as well as jointly developing new business models. Under the agreement, Taekyung Group will use waste from the Saudi cement industry and a large amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) from the desalination process to develop precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) through its own technology process. By utilizing concentrated water, a waste product of the desalination process, it is possible to also address carbon dioxide that has become a source of environmental destruction.
The duo plans to apply the technology to NEOM City as well.
PCC is also a technology with many applications. PCC slurry for papermaking is a flagship product for Taekyung BK Co., an affiliate of Taekyung Group, and PCC powder, a food additive, is widely used in the food industry to add calcium to various foods. PCC coating powder for sealants is used as an essential material in the construction, shipbuilding, and automobile industries for filling sealants. PCC powder for filling is mainly used in the rubber industry for rubber filling.
The recent agreement is expected to accelerate the desalination cooperation between Taekyung Group and Saudi Arabia, as the kingdom’s NEOM project includes plans to establish a desalination and PCC plant. Taekyung BK and the Korea Maritime and Ocean University have joined a study on concentrated water use in seawater desalination, in which the Desalination Technologies Research Institute (DTRI), a research institute under the SWCC, also participated.
“We have been conducting technical research on the production of PCC by utilizing concentrated water from seawater desalination, industrial by-products, and greenhouse gases in collaboration with the SWCC for the past two years,” Taekyung Group chairman Kim Hae-ryun said. “We have completed a pilot plant in Korea and will begin demonstrations in Saudi Arabia in 2024.”
By Yang Yeo-ho and Choi Jieun
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]