News Feature | May 14, 2014

Japan Eyeing Floating Desalination Tech

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,


Japan may be in the market for floating desalination equipment. 

"Japanese officials say that floating desalination plants constructed on either ships or mega-float structures are a potential future growth area for the shipping industry," Seatrade Global reported

Toshifumi Kokubun, a director at Deloitte Tomatsu Consulting in Japan, said the country needs to move quickly to stake out a position in this market. 

“Japan should rush to develop the world’s first floating desalination plant which meets safety and environmental design by using the high level technology that the Japanese shipping industry holds,” he said in Seatrade Global

Negotiations between Japanese leaders and desalination tech-makers are already underway.

"Israel’s IDE Technologies Ltd. is in talks with Japan’s shipbuilders and government to design and build off-shore desalination plants, seeking to tap rising demand for alternate sources of short-term freshwater supply," Bloomberg reported

IDE Technologies aims to begin making floating desalination equipment within three years, the report said, citing a company official. It currently makes land-based platforms.

"IDE’s ship-based designs could supply water for a city of 850,000 people and Japan’s shipbuilders are among potential partners," the report said, citing Udi Tirosh, a director at IDE.

"IDE plans to create a fleet of ships that could service clients all over the world, with current designs for vessels drafted to produce about 50,000 cubic meters a day to 120,000 cubic meters a day," the report said, citing Tirosh.

Floating desalination equipment is a promising market. 

"[It] may develop within a decade to as much as 400 billion yen ($3.9 billion) in annual sales as freshwater shortages and tighter environmental rules for land-based plants boost demand," Bloomberg reported, citing a report by Deloitte Tohmatsu. 

IDE is in talks with companies from different countries, though the ones involving Japan are most progressed, Tirosh said, according to Bloomberg. 

Floating desalination equipment has already been deployed in some countries, including Saudi Arabia. However, "the technology up to now has been too expensive to implement widely," Bloomberg reported, citing Tirosh.

Israel is already known for its commitment to desalination technology. Officials in Israel say drought-plagued California would benefit from such an approach. 

"California, I hear, has a big water problem,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said, per Emergency Management. “How come we don’t have a water problem? Because we use technology to solve it.”

Check out Water Online's Desalination Solution Center

Image credit: "Mt. Fuji from Nihondaira," yendo0206 © 2013, used under an Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic license:

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