Increasing projects’ sustainability

The aim of LIFE DREAMER is to make the reverse osmosis desalination process more sustainable, allowing the recovery of resources present in seawater.

To this end, it is foreseen to recover more water from the desalination process, reduce the energetic consumption, minimize the use of chemicals and reuse the concentrated streams. The project is being developed in a pilot plant installed in San Pedro del Pinatar desalination plant premises (Murcia, Spain).

The LIFE DREAMER project, co-financed by the LIFE programme (LIFE16 ENV/ES/000223), is coordinated by the water business of ACCIONA and counts with the participation of the companies AQUASTILL, a leading company in the field of membrane distillation, and WE&B, a consulting firm focused on the economic and social aspects of the water and environmental sectors.

The technological solution proposed by the LIFE DREAMER consortium consists of the integration of different technologies, including:

  • A pre-treatment based on a granular filtration system with phosphorus adsorption capacity.
  • A filtration-decantation system for the treatment of pre-treatment cleaning effluents with high solids loading
  • An advanced oxidation system treating reverse osmosis cleaning streams with organic loading
  • A brine treatment system, using nanofiltration and membrane distillation.

The demonstration pilot plant, designed and built in the first phase of the project in the facilities of the seawater desalination plant (IDAM) of San Pedro del Pinatar-II (Murcia, Spain), treats a seawater flow of up to 10m3/h with the same catchment water as the IDAM, which ensures the representativeness of the results, and facilitates their subsequent scaling and transfer.


The main results obtained after more than three years of development, demonstrate the feasibility of the proposed concept, as well as the associated environmental benefits. In particular, an increase in the overall conversion of the system of up to 35% over the conventional system, a 99% reduction in the volume of pre-treatment washing effluents, as well as the reduction of biological fouling in the osmosis membranes thanks to the advances introduced in the pre-treatment, have been obtained.

The project thus aligns the desalination process with the Circular Economy concept, considering seawater as a source of resources and contributing to the fulfillment of Sustainable Development Goal 6 "Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all", in line with ACCIONA's commitment to sustainability and care for the environment.

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