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Urban and industrial wastewater treatment


A new generation of Microbial Electrochemical Wetland for effective decentralized wastewater treatment (iMETland)​​


iMETland project aims at unleashing the small community economies potential through innovative wastewater treatments technologies, creating a virtuous circle connecting water, energy, ICT , land resources and safeguarding the environment.  The project maximises the innovation potential of the following technical features, to be tested and validated at four different geographical locations: Mediterranean (Spain), North-Europe (Denmark), South-America (Argentina) and North-America (Mexico).

iMETland innovation stands in the balanced integration of technologies, which are wisely amalgamated in the environment. Exploiting the combination of water sector, energy, ICT and land resources, the project paves the way to solve small communities wastewater treatment needs in a cost effective, energy efficient and environmental friendly manner. 

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 642190.

More informationhttp://www.imetland.eu  - Youtube video

Unión Europea - Horizon 2020



Microbial Desalination for Low Energy Drinking Water (MIDES)​​


Shortage of fresh water has become one of the major challenges for societies all over the world. Water desalination offers an opportunity to significantly increase the freshwater supply for drinking, industrial use and irrigation. All current desalination technologies require significant electrical or thermal energy, with today's Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination units consuming electric energy of at least 3 kWh/m3 – in extensive tests about ten years ago, the Affordable Desalination Collaboration (ADC) in California measured 1.6 kWh/m3 for RO power consumption on the best commercially available membranes, and total plant energy about twice as high.

To overcome thermodynamical limitations of RO, which point to 1.09 kwh/m3 for seawater at 50 % recovery, Microbial Desalination Cells (MDC) concurrently treat wastewater and generate energy to achieve desalination. MDCs can produce around 1.8 kWh of bioelectricity from the handling of 1 m3 of wastewater. Such energy can be directly used to i) totally remove the salt content in seawater without external energy input, or ii) partially reduce the salinity to lower substantially the amount of energy for a subsequent desalination treatment.

MIDES aims to develop the World’s largest demonstrator of an innovative and low-energy technology for drinking water production, using MDC technology either as stand-alone or as pre-treatment step for RO.

The project will focus on overcoming the current limitations of MDC technology such as low desalination rate, high manufacturing cost, biofouling and scaling problems on membranes, optimization of the microbial-electrochemical process, system scaling up and economic feasibility of the technology. This will be achieved via innovation in nanostructured electrodes, antifouling membranes (using nanoparticles with biocide activity), electrochemical reactor design and optimization, microbial electrochemistry and physiology expertise, and process engineering and control.

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 685793.

More informationhttp://midesh2020.eu/ 

Meet the MIDES project partners (video)

Unión Europea - Horizon 2020



Integrated Research about sustainable Island (IISIS)

The goal of the project IISIS assimilates the latest architectural trends based on biomimicry to give a step in the challenge of building sustainable environments. A strict balance with ecological conservation, sustainability and sustainable energy and resources is maintaining in any moment. On this purpose the project will employ marine renewables especially designed for use on the island, complete water treatment and waste control designed to fulfil the goal of zero discharge, improve performance and optimize the operation of the island through a combination of new bioclimatic configurations adapted to local conditions produced in the marine environment where they take place.

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad



Wastewater treatment in second generation bioelectrogenic wetlands: The "smart" wetlands (SMART WETLAND)

Project funded by the INNPACTO program (2012-2015) which aims to incorporate microbial electrochemical technologies for natural treatment systems for wastewater treatment in small populations.

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad



Technology research for treatment, reuse and control for future sustainability in water treatment (ITACA)

The principal aim is the investigation of new industrial and urban technologies of waste water treatment that allow, in an efficient and sustainable way, to turn the process of current treatment into a strategy for the reutilization, the utilization of substances, by-products and residues and the energetic valuation, minimizing, the impacts on the natural environment.

Inside the project scope there is also included the parallel investigation of advanced systems of measurement, automation and control of the processes of treatment and valuation, which guarantee the achievement of a system of centralized management which resolves, in an automatic and autonomous way, the sequence and control of new effluent treatment being studied.

More informationhttp://itaca.adasasistemas.com/Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad




New techniques for wastewater treatment (AQUAELECTRA) 


This collaborative project has three objectives: to develop a new concept of sewage treatment by constructing electrogenic wetlands, to establish a bioelectrogenic anaerobic treatment for wastewater and to design a novel electrochemical bioreactor for removal of nutrients (nitrogen).

The bioelectrogenesis is a novel process by which certain bacteria can oxidize organic matter and transfer the electrons directly to a conductive solid, like graphite. In this way you can obtain and store clean energy.

The consortium has been formed with intention to accelerate the development of this new technology, using a strategy of adaptation of these bioelectrochemical devices to existing designs in water treatment plants.

AQUAELECTRA researchers have developped a electrically conductive biofilter for wastewater treatment, for which already a patent of invention has been requested. More information about this biofilter.


Bacterial wiring for energy conversion and bioremediation (BACWIRE)


The aim of the project is to develop a new paradigm for the simultaneous cogeneration of energy and bioremediation using electro-active bacteria. A new nano-structured transducer that efficiently connects to these bacteria will be developed, aimed at the production of devices with higher performance across a range of applications including microbial fuel cells, whole cell biosensors and bioreactors.

Elucidation of mechanisms by which bacteria transport electrons to solid electrodes is crucial. In this way, well-defined surfaces of single crystals and multilayered gold deposits on quartz elements will be used to resolve the interfacial electrochemistry of both, bacteria and isolated bacterial surface redox molecules. The spatial distribution of cytochromes in the cell surface will be determined by AFM and those involved in the electric connection to electrodes will be studied in detail.

More information: http://www.bacwire.eu/Unión EuropeaSeventh Framework Programme


Elimination of sulfate in water by bioelectrogenic methods (BIO-SO4)

Project funded by the INNPACTO program (2012-2015) which aims to apply microbial electrochemical technologies to reuse brackish water with high sulfate content.

Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad



Electricity and Hydrogen Production Based on Residual Water Bacteria

The main goal of this research proposal is to use Geobacter to convert the chemical energy stored in organic matter from wastewater into electricity and hydrogen. One of the most exciting features of this technology is the possibility of harvesting clean energy from waste during its treatment, so the classical methane-generating stage in wastewater treatment could be eliminated.

Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación


Madrid Advanced Wastewater Treatment Network with Non-Biodegradable Pollutants

REMTAVARESThe Madrid Advanced Wastewater Treatment Network with Non-Biodegradable Pollutants (REMTAVARES) is the reference point in terms of advanced technologies in wastewater management to ensure sustainable development for the Community of Madrid.

The lines of research that support these technologies are: adsorption, hydrodechlorination, advanced oxidation (Fenton, ozonation and photocatalysis), catalytic wet oxidation and catalytic oxidation in supercritical conditions.

More information: http://remtavares.com/Comunidad de Madrid


Treatment and reuse of wastewater for sustainable management

imagen del premio a la innovación en la realización práctica de gestión sostenible de aguas urbanas

Consolider TraguaThe main objective of Consolider Tragua is to harness the expertise of 24 research groups in different areas to address the reuse of purified wastewater in an integrated manner. For this, there is a strong multidisciplinary team with proven research experience. The team carried out a study of the application of water treatments from the WWTP’s, based on advanced technologies. This set the criteria for chemical and biological water quality and for determining their impact on the environment. As with any other activities aimed at sustainability, there are also economic benefits, so the proposals have relevant socioeconomic value. During the Science Gala 2012, Consolider Tragua was acknowledged by the Directorate General of Technical and Scientific Research as one of the five projects that represent the quality of the Spanish science and that have been recently funded by the Spanish National Research Plan.

Consolider Tragua Network (TRAGUANET)In December 2014 the Consolider Tragua Network (TRAGUANET) became operational. This network is funded by the MINECO in the last call for Networks of Excellence "Consolider". During two years TRAGUANET will allow the communication and collaboration among the 24 groups that were part of the project Consolider Tragua.

More information http://www.consolider-tragua.com/Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad


Water purification through capacitive deionisation

The main aim of this project is to study and develop the components of high performance supercapacitors, based on the use of low-cost nanomaterials for use in the deionisation of water with high saline content, or pollutants with heavy metals in solution or any organic species with electrical charge.

The use of these supercapacitors will reduce the amount of energy used compared with traditional water purification systems, since there is an accumulation of electrical charges on the electrodes during deionisation. This energy can be released during the regeneration cycle, which is very simple and efficient since it would be a procedure similar to the discharge of a capacitor.

This research project began with the TAPCAP project, funded by the former Ministry of Industry, Tourism and Trade (MITYC).


Ministerio de Industria, Turismo y Comercio



Water and mining

Water and mining industry

The water resource is especially sensitive to the mining activity due to the intense environmental affection that it generates that in many cases includes generation of acid waters, pollution by heavy metals, modification of the hydrogeology conditions of auriferous, etc. To these effects, is added specially in areas with shortage of resource, the own demand of water, which often competes with the demand of other productive sectors as the agriculture.

IMDEA Water has initiated two lines of work in the field of the water and the mining industry: one in relation with the characterization of the environmental direct affections provoked by the mining industry, and other one in relation to the water reuse and recycling for mining uses.

Concentrate (salt) management from inland desalination

IMDEA Water works to find solutions for the management of the concentrate obtained as a by-product in inland desalination and water treatment plants. It was observed that all usual processes for concentrate disposal (discharging on the surface, evaporation lagoons, and so on) lead to a loss of water and an extra economical charge, in addition to the negative aspects associated with each one of them. Therefore, this line is mainly focused on the only viable option for manage this kind of concentration nowadays, which is the deep well injection, but only where the geology and hydrogeology of the area meets certain conditions and perform a deep injection in isolated storage. In the same way, IMDEA Water examines different methods currently under research and development to achieve a sustainable and viable management of concentrate by-product from large interior desalination plants. All of these emerging methods tend to achieve virtually zero liquid discharge that means a higher use of the water (as a resource) and, occasionally, the possibility to use the solid waste in function of it composition.


Water LabPilots plants