Innovation in water treatment and management

Discover our main lines of research to improve water quality and access


At the Water Technology Centre in Barcelona, Spain, ACCIONA creates necessary solutions to face the challenges of water shortages and sanitation problems around the globe. 

The Centre also supports all phases of the water cycle, with activities ranging from laboratory activity to studying technologies in pilot plants and their subsequent industrial scale-up. To this end, it works on developing cutting-edge technologies for water desalination, purification, reuse and distribution.

The facilities are a technological benchmark in the industry and have the most modern analytical techniques and state-of-the-art equipment to develop new, more efficient and sustainable water treatment processes, which are evaluated in pilot plants designed by the R&D team.

In addition to the R&D activity carried out at the water technological centre, the R&D department have various permanent demonstration units at the Spanish desalination plants and the wastewater treatment plants operated by ACCIONA, where R&D technologies are demonstrated and tested prior to large-scale deployment. All of these demonstration units treat real water, ensuring that the results obtained are fully representative and thus allowing the optimal functioning of the technologies developed to be demonstrated.

    Main lines of research in water treatment:

    Water innovation projects

    Innovation with organisations, platforms and working groups

    In addition, we actively participate in different national and international organisations, platforms and working groups in order to form strategic alliances and contribute to the development of research agendas and priorities.

    Innovation with a collaborative approach

    ACCIONA's Water business takes a collaborative approach to its R&D&I activities, cooperating with public and private institutions, as well as universities and research centres, such as industries and companies providing public and private services, expanding the scope of innovation to different areas of specialisation and from different levels of technological maturity, enabling the company to position itself at the forefront of technology and become a leader in the sector.

    2019 Highlights

    LIFE DREAMER Project

    The LIFE DREAMER project seeks to demonstrate a new concept of desalination in line with the Circular Economy concept in which principles such as recovery, valuation, reduction etc. prevail.

    The percentage of water recovery in sea water desalination systems in reverse osmosis (RO) treatment plants has increased from 50 % to 75 %.

    It has also been possible to increase the conversion of the desalination process from 45/50 % to 75 %, and to eliminate 70 % of dissolved organic carbon contained in reverse osmosis washout streams, minimising final discharge.

    This also contributes to reducing energy consumption specific to the desalination process.

    STARNIT Project

    The STARNIT project is evaluating the use of sludge treatment by-products to optimise nitrogen removal in water purification.

    This project focuses on population control in the partial nitrification/anammox process and makes the purification process prioritise a pathway with lower energy demands and less sludge production.

    Our own technologies


    Water scarcity and sanitation are two major challenges that we contribute to mitigate through technological solutions in water treatment, developed in our water technology center.