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More water for everyone

LIFE-OFREA is a project supported and financed by the European Commission to reuse wastewater in coastal areas more efficiently. Led by ACCIONA Agua and Esamur, it uses advanced desalination technology in an effort to reduce by 20% the energy that would normally be required if conventional desalination techniques were used.

News

Final Report available for downloading

You can now download the Final Report of the project. 

Great success of the Final OFREA Workshop

The Final OFREA Workshop took place in San Pedro del Pinatar on the 27th of September 2016, three days before the end of the project.  

Participants

El proyecto: 1. Antecedentes

Background

The salinity in water is one of the main limitations on its reuse.

Significant quantities of dissolved salt content in water can be caused by two factors:

Coastal areas:

Seawater intrusion.

Inland areas:

Salinity levels in aquifers have increased in recent years due to the overuse of natural water sources and rivers as well as decreased precipitation.

Issue

Until now, the leading technology for reducing salinity from water was reverse osmosis, but it is relatively expensive and requires significant amounts of energy, which limits its use for wastewater reclamation. Consequently, there is a need to find alternatives with lower energy costs and environmental impacts.

Solutions

Forward osmosis is a natural process in which there is no need to apply high pressure, which means that energy costs are lower than with reverse osmosis.

Objective

The primary aim of the LIFE-OFREA is to increase the percentage of wastewater that can be reused, especially in coastal regions where water salinity is a limiting factor. At the same time, it aims to increase the number of ways in which water can be reused in applications with greater added value.

2.Objetivos

Objective

The primary aim of the LIFE-OFREA is to increase the percentage of wastewater that can be reused, especially in coastal regions where water salinity is a limiting factor. At the same time, it aims to increase the number of ways in which water can be reused in applications with greater added value.

To achieve this, the following technical objectives are:

To demonstrate that direct osmosis is an appropriate technology for producing safe, high quality water from treated wastewater at a reasonable cost.

To show that specific energy usage for complete treatment is 20% less than when reverse osmosis is used.

To demonstrate that with direct osmosis it is possible to reduce the use of chemicals in the pretreatment and membrane cleaning by up to 15%.

To run the entire process automatically in a way that is environmentally robust, simple and safe.

To transfer the knowledge acquired to all stakeholders using the appropriate educational strategies and dissemination platforms.

3.Planta de demostración

Demonstration plant

The demonstrations will take place at a pre-industrial scale pilot plant located at the Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) in San Pedro del Pinatar in Murcia, Spain.

Effluent from the WWTP which has a conductivity of 4-6 mS/cm will be fed into the unit. In order to use this water for agricultural purposes, the conductivity must be between 1 and 1.5 mS/cm.

Osmosis

Osmosis involves moving a high-osmotic pressure solution to a lower-osmotic pressure solution through a semiperrmeable membrane that lets the water through but prevents the dissolved salts from passing through. It is a natural process and does not require high pressure.

Forward osmosis

Forward osmosis involves passing water from a low-salinity solution to a high-salinity solution  using a semipermeable membrane and without applying pressure. When this process is applied industrially, the high-salinity solution is known as draw solution. This must be separated from the reclaimed water and recirculated to the process. The reclaimed water has a high quality for reuse.

See treatment process+

Treatment process

The demonstration unit will produce a flow of 40 m3/day. To do so, a system of membrane modules arranged similarly to the layout of an actual plant will be installed. This way, the results can be extrapolated to estimate the actual energy needs and water quality of a real plant. The complete layout of the plant is as follows:

diagrama
diagrama

See description of the process+

4.Actividades

Main activities

ACCIONA and ESAMUR have determined the lines of action that are needed to achieve the objectives of the LIFE-OFREA project

IDENTIFY

Identify the values and parameters within which the water produced at the pilot plant must fall and the cost of reusing the water. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

SELECT

Select the location of the plant and apply for the permits needed for start-up.

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

EXECUTE

Conduct a battery of analyses to characterise the water coming into the plant in detail. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

DO

Run tests with direct osmosis membrane modules. To do so, two pre-commercial modules will be characterised at ACCIONA Agua’s R&D facilities. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

DEMONSTRATION

Select the composition and concentration of the extractor solution and characterise its properties using the information obtained from the two previous steps. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

SELECT

Build a pilot plant that represents the real conditions with a complete treatment process where commercial membrane modules will be installed. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

BUILD

Demonstration. The pilot plant will operate for a significant period of time in order to ascertain the technical and economic viability of the process and verify the performance of the control tools.

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

TRACKING

Tracking the impact of the project will be divided into two activities: investigating the project’s environmental benefits in more detail and preparing a socioeconomic impact study.

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

Communication and dissemination

Communication and dissemination. The project results will be presented at events and conferences and the most noteworthy information will be published on this website. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

IDENTIFY

Identify the values and parameters within which the water produced at the pilot plant must fall and the cost of reusing the water. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

EXECUTE

Conduct a battery of analyses to characterise the water coming into the plant in detail. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

SELECT

Build a pilot plant that represents the real conditions with a complete treatment process where commercial membrane modules will be installed. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

DEMONSTRATION

Select the composition and concentration of the extractor solution and characterise its properties using the information obtained from the two previous steps. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

Communication and dissemination

Project management. The aim is to ensure the proper coordination and execution of the project from a technical, economic and administrative point of view. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

SELECT

Select the location of the plant and apply for the permits needed for start-up.

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

DO

Run tests with direct osmosis membrane modules. To do so, two pre-commercial modules will be characterised at ACCIONA Agua’s R&D facilities. 

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

BUILD

Demonstration. The pilot plant will operate for a significant period of time in order to ascertain the technical and economic viability of the process and verify the performance of the control tools.

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

TRACKING

Tracking the impact of the project will be divided into two activities: investigating the project’s environmental benefits in more detail and preparing a socioeconomic impact study.

ACTIVITY COMPLETED

5.Impacto

Impact

The project is intended to achieve the following results:

Producir agua de alta calidad

20%

by 20% the energy required by reverse osmosis to produce water of the same quality. 

by 15% the chemical products needed for pre-treatment compared to a reverse osmosis process. 

15%

with direct osmosis technology applied to wastewater which produces water that can be reused at an affordable price (for agricultural, industrial or urban use).

for controlling and automating the entire process, i.e., that keeps shutdowns and unexpected failures to a minimum and requires little human intervention. 

containing the specifications for building a real plant that uses direct osmosis. 

 discussing the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of the project.

Transfer of the knowledge acquired and the good practices demonstrated to interested parties.

 

To reduce

by 20% the energy required by reverse osmosis to produce water of the same quality. 

15%

To produce high quality water

with electric conductivity less than 1mS/cm that meets all of the quality requirements contained in the wastewater regulations. 

To reduce

by 15% the chemical products needed for pre-treatment compared to a reverse osmosis process. 

20%

A demonstration unit

with direct osmosis technology applied to wastewater which produces water that can be reused at an affordable price (for agricultural, industrial or urban use).

Robust and efficient tools

for controlling and automating the entire process, i.e., that keeps shutdowns and unexpected failures to a minimum and requires little human intervention. 

Manual

containing the specifications for building a real plant that uses direct osmosis. 

Report

 discussing the socioeconomic and environmental benefits of the project.

Transfer of the knowledge acquired and the good practices demonstrated to interested parties.

 

6.Presupuesto y duración

Budget and duration

The LIFE-OFREA has a budget of €797,976.

The project will commence on October 1, 2013 and is expected to conclude on September 30, 2016.

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