Oman utility plans first-ever hydropower pilot

Majis Industrial Services (MIS), a wholly Omani government-owned water services utility, says it plans to pilot — possibly for the first time in the Sultanate — the generation of hydropower from the sprawling cooling water delivery channel that it operates within Sohar Port and Freezone.

According to Majis Chief Executive Officer, Eng Ahmed Saif al Mazrouie (pictured), the pilot is one of several initiatives being pursued by the utility in support low-carbon and sustainable energy goals.
“Majis’ mandate as the sole water utility services provider in Sohar Port and Freezone is to supply our customers with sustainable and eco-friendly water solutions. In line with this goal, we have launched a number of projects designed to reduce our environmental footprint and lower emissions from our operations in the industrial port,” said the CEO.
The lengthy canal delivers seawater for cooling purposes to the petrochemical and other heavy industries operating in the port, while channeling the outflow back into the sea. A massive pumping system installed at the mouth of the channel allows for the seawater water to the pumped at the rate of 60,000 cubic metres/day.
“Within a week, we plan to pilot what we believe is the first hydropower pilot in Oman,” said Al Mazrouie. “We are just now fabricating the frame that will hold the turbine. It is being assembled before we lower it into the canal and see how it behaves,” the CEO stated.
Speaking to the Observer, Al Mazrouie said the pilot is part of a substantial portfolio of low-carbon initiatives currently under various stages of planning and implementation. Notable is a tender for the design, supply, installation, testing and commissioning of a grid-connected 1.3 MWp (megawatt-peak) per day capacity solar power plant. “Majis recently floated a tender for this solar power project to compensate for power consumption from the grid,” said Al Mazrouie.
Majis is also embarking on a plan to cover the expansive seawater delivery channel with solar PV panels to generate electricity. Additionally, the utility is collaborating with research students of Sohar University, as well as a Dutch research institution, in studying the potential for harnessing deep ocean water for cooling purposes.
“We are also looking at energy demand side management by reducing consumption during peak hours – when higher Cost Reflective Tariffs (CRT) come into play – and switching our operations when possible to off-peak hours, when the tariffs as lower. Also as part of our energy conservation efforts, we have been using energy efficient LED lighting systems in our concession areas,” he added.
A leader in industrial water services, Majis has invested sizable amounts in the development of a full-fledged and well-diversified water services infrastructure that is indispensable to the successful operation of industries and factories located within the Sohar Industrial Port Area (SIPA) and the adjoining Sohar Freezone. The utility currently provides five types of water services to customers in the industrial port area: potable drinking water, process water, effluent management, irrigation water, and industrial cooling water.