LIFE INDESAL progresses towards the commissioning of the pilot unit in 2023

LIFE INDESAL partners gathered in Barcelona, Spain, on 19 April 2023 for the first monitoring meeting of the project hosted by project coordinator, ACCIONA. Together, they reviewed the project rationale, objectives, and structure, with presentations from work package leaders on work performed so far, the current technical status and the work coming up ahead.

During these first months of the project, the three technologies to be combined in the LIFE INDESAL pilot unit have been studied for their further optimization and integration. A preliminary set of tests and modelling were carried out to evaluate different scenarios and configurations.

LIFE INDESAL is developing the Low pressure Multi-Stage Reverse Osmosis (LMS RO) desalination process, for which the team has been working to define the optimal pressure, flux, membrane configuration and type to optimise energy usage during the desalination process.

To further improve energy efficiency by generating energy using Reverse Electrodialysis (RED) process, the team has conducted several experiments and mathematical modelling to assess the performance of the RED technology under different conditions, including flowrate, salinity, number of cell pairs, among others.

Finally, partners working on the Electrodialysis with Bipolar Membranes (EDBM) technology, which allows the recovery of resources to be used in the plant for cleaning in place (CIP) operations and pH adjustment, have conducted experiments and mathematical modelling to simulate real world scenarios and assess the efficiency of the process.

LIFE INDESAL partners during the monitoring meeting.

Partners are now gathering the equipment together to build the pilot unit, where the three LIFE INDESAL technologies will be integrated to be tested under representative conditions, optimised as per the testing and modelling performed for each technological process. The project aims to commission the pilot unit in the San Pedro del Pinatar II seawater desalination plant in Murcia, Spain, by the end of 2023.

Once the pilot unit is operating, the team will assess the LIFE INDESAL technology impact along environmental, technical, and socio-economic grounds. To this end, partners have already defined the corresponding indicators that will be monitored.

The project actions will also include an analysis of the life cycle (LCA) and cost (LCC) based on the results obtained in the demonstration period, and its comparison with a conventional desalination process by reverse osmosis, thus allowing environmental and economic quantification of both scenarios.

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