The LIFE CELSIUS project, led by ACCIONA Agua, sets out to reduce energy consumption in wastewater treatment in regions with hot climates by 60% and facilitate the re-use of the resource. The project was selected by the European Union as part of the LIFE program, which supports and develops R&D+I projects with the greatest potential in the field of the environment.
LIFE CELSIUS aims to develop and test an innovative treatment system for wastewater in places with hot climates. Non-conventional treatment techniques will be used, leading to a reduction in energy consumption in comparison with the processes used at present. The energy saving will come from two sources: 1) the use of anaerobic technologies, which need a much lower oxygen intake than the level needed in the most common treatment systems (the intake takes place through forced aeration of the wastewater - representing one of the highest energy costs in the operation of any treatment plant, up to 50 % of the total cost); 2) the average temperature of wastewater in areas with hot climates means that treatment processes can be used that would otherwise require external heating, which means greater sustainability of the process.
These technologies will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with wastewater treatment by around 0.163 kilos of CO2 per cubic meter of water treated.
The first phase of the project involves the design and construction of a pilot plant on the east coast of Spain, an area with an ideal climate for exploiting the potential of the new processes. The applicability of the treatments will be evaluated in this plant and operating parameters will be optimized with the aim of incorporating the technology on a full scale in the wastewater treatment plants operated by ACCIONA Agua in hot climate zones such as the Mediterranean basin, North Africa, the Middle East or desert areas in America.
The LIFE CELSIUS project will mean a total investment of around one million euros and its duration is three years.
With the aim of extending the impact of the project and bringing it closer to society, LIFE CELSIUS has involved the Spanish Press Agency Agencia EFE through its global environmental journalism platform EFEverde. Thanks to this initiative, it will be possible to keep the public up to date not only on progress in the project but also on the importance of the water cycle.
Agencia EFE, present in 120 countries, is a benchmark news agency in the Spanish language worldwide, and its environmental information platform covers all the sectors concerned with the environment together with journalists committed to biodiversity, renewable energies, water and sustainable development.
ACCIONA Agua is a world leader in the efficient management of the limited and scarce natural resource: water. To maintain and strengthen its leadership, the company is strongly committed to Research, Development and Innovation. Its efforts in research have led to the construction of new plants with state-of-the-art technologies that are more efficient and sustainable when applied to the operation and maintenance of already existing plants, reducing energy consumption, minimizing the emission of odors and noise and facilitating the re-use of water.
ACCIONA Agua has a center in Barcelona fully dedicated to R&D+i with a team of 30 highly-qualified people working on new processes and technologies for desalination, the treatment of wastewater and the re-use of water.
The LIFE program is one of the most important European instruments for the development of environmental projects and is one of the spearheads of the European Union’s environmental policy. LIFE contributes to the application, development and improvement of EU policy and legislation in the field, for example, in the integration of environmental considerations into other EU policies. LIFE supports the development of new solutions to the environmental problems faced by the EU and helps in the application of the EU policy defined in the Sixth Action Program on the Environment.
LIFE CELSIUS on Twitter: @LifeCelsius