The European innovation project Watintech, in which ACCIONA Agua is taking part, will mean that waste products generated in treatment processes can be used to convert them into useful products to neutralize odors and avoid corrosion in sanitation networks, and also to obtain energy for self-consumption of plants. In addition, thanks to the technology applied it will be possible to increase the amount of treated water that can be re-used for agricultural or industrial purposes.
The Watintech project won an award in the IWater Salon in Barcelona in the Best Research category for its potential for improving the efficiency of treatment processes, in both economic and environmental terms.
The project involves the use of direct reverse membranes for the filtering of wastewater; this increases the percentages of treated water that is suitable for re-use. The remaining water, containing high concentrations of waste, will be processed in an anaerobic digester where it will generate up to four times more biogas than a standard treatment system. The gas will then be used to generate power for self-consumption by the treatment plant. The by-products of this process will also be re-used because, thanks to their chemical composition, they can be used as odor neutralizers and corrosion inhibitors in the sanitation network itself.
The project has been designed to work in a ‘decentralized’ way, as it uses technologies that can also be incorporated into small and medium-sized plants that are near points where water is re-used (industrial or intensive agriculture facilities, for example).
ACCIONA Agua will carry out the pilot project in its demonstration plant in San Pedro del Pinatar (Murcia, south-east Spain), which processes a flow rate of 3 m3/hour and operates under real conditions. This means that the results obtained can be extrapolated to any other plant.
Watintech is part of the Water Joint Programme Initiative, set up by the European Commission to finance innovate projects in the water sector with the highest development potential. ACCIONA Agua, the Catalan Water Research Institute (ICRA), Universidad Nueva (Lisbon), the Technical University of Denmark and the University of Catania are working together on the project.