Novel solution to optimize the reverse osmosis desalination process

The objective of the WITNESS project is to design and develop a new biological indicator linked to fouling in reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, so that preventive operation strategies can be developed.

A preventive diagnosis of the quality of the feed water will help to optimize the membrane cleaning processes, reducing the amount of chemical reagents needed and adjusting the operating conditions of the pre-treatments. All this results in an important advantage in the operation and maintenance of desalination plants. The goal of the project is to extend RO membranes lifespan and maximize the production of permeated water.

To this end WITNESS will consider not only the biological indicator developed in the project but also its complementarity with other (pre-) commercial sensors whose integration with Artificial Intelligence models will allow establishing membrane fouling preventive strategies.

The WITNESS project is supported by the Center for Technological Development and Innovation (CDTI), under the Ministry of Science and Innovation, and will be developed at ACCIONA's Water Technology Center located in Barcelona, as well as at the Leading Experimental Accelerator in Desalination platform (LEAD®) of ACCIONA, located in the seawater desalination plant (IDAM) of San Pedro del Pinatar-II (Murcia), property of the Mancomunidad de los Canales del Taibilla and operated by ACCIONA.

The project started in October 2021 and will end in December 2023.