Gradiant and SAWACO Deploy Environmentally Friendly High Recovery Desalination Technology

Published on February 24, 2020

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, February 2020 – In partnership with Saudi Arabia’s SAWACO, Gradiant has successfully demonstrated its industry disruptive technology, Counter Flow Reverse Osmosis (CFRO), extracting an additional 50% fresh water from an existing seawater RO plant’s reject brine. The demonstration project has been in continuous operation since November 2019, successfully meeting the project’s water quality, efficiency, cost, and energy consumption goals. The partner companies are now scaling the process up to 5000 m3/d at the same site in Jeddah to serve the increasing water needs of local industry. The eventual CFRO capacity could be up to 15,000 m3/d, doubling current freshwater production at the site. The CFRO process will deliver the additional fresh water without increasing the seawater inlet, brine outfall, or pre-treatment system.


SAWACO and Gradiant are in the process of forming a joint venture to deploy CFRO and other seawater desalination technologies across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is currently the world’s largest desalination market, producing about one fifth of the world’s desalinated water supply, with $80B projected to be spent on desalination projects over the next two decades.


“At SAWACO, we have been looking for a seawater brine desalination technology for over a decade and only now have we found one that is reliable, energy efficient, and cost effective. Gradiant has ushered in a paradigm shift in membrane desalination that will have a huge impact on sustainable water supply in the coming years,” said Nizar Kammourie, General Manager of SAWACO.


Gradiant CEO Anurag Bajpayee said, “The level of interest in high recovery desalination is unprecedented. We are proud of the technological feat that our team has achieved and excited about the opportunities that the future holds for CFRO. We have built a great relationship with SAWACO and are looking forward to working with them to pursue growing opportunities throughout the Kingdom.”


Gradiant has positioned itself to better serve the Middle East and North Africa with growing ground presence led by Vice President of Business Development, Sadasivam Krishnan and Lead Business Development Manager, Carem Habayeb with an expected showcase of CFRO’s process at SAWACO’s Jeddah plant this April. With over 23 patents in the region that cover Gradiant’s technical scope and a growing team, the company looks to position itself as a major player for industrial and seawater desalination.

About Gradiant

Gradiant is a leading global solutions provider and developer of cleantech water projects for advanced water and wastewater treatment. Gradiant’s robust, end-to-end solutions and proven technical delivery and operations expertise enable sustainable and cost-effective treatment of the most complex water challenges. Gradiant was founded at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to solve the most challenging water treatment problems through sustainable technologies to make a positive impact on the environment, society, and economy. Gradiant serves its clients around the world from its corporate headquarters in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, regional headquarters and R&D center in Singapore, and its subsidiaries Gradiant India (Chennai), Gradiant China (Shanghai, Ningbo), Sigma Water (Malaysia), Gradiant Australia (Sydney), Gradiant Energy Services (Houston and Midland, Texas, USA) and Gradiant Middle East (Saudi Arabia). For more information, please visit


SAWACO water desalination is the leading supplier of un-bottled potable water for people and businesses in Saudi Arabia and is the first private water utility, established in Saudi Arabia under license by Ministry of Water in the year 2000 well before IWPP and PPP initiatives were launched.

SAWACO currently directly owns over 50,000 m³/day desalination capacity, and is 30% shareholder in the 600,000m³/d SWRO of Rabigh 3 IWP. In addition to a sizeable fleet of trucks carrying water to customers spread over 10,000 km2 area in the Western Province of Saudi Arabia.

SAWACO’s line of business includes BOT and BOO solutions for the provision of desalinated water both public and private sectors through-out MENA region. In addition, SAWACO undertakes Operation & Maintenance of desalination plants all over MENA region.


Meghan Moore

Communications Manager