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Befesa Agua's R&D&I Department completes construction of two pilot plants to improve desalination processes

Befesa Agua’s R&D&I Department has developed, in close collaboration with the Desalination Department, the R&D projects entitled "Advanced Pretreatment Systems for Desalination" and "High Efficiency for Desalination", both of which were subsidized by the Department of Innovation, Science and Business of the Regional Government of Andalucía, through the Incentives for Innovation and Business Development program.

The objective of the "Advanced Pretreatment Systems for Desalination" project is to develop raw seawater treatment systems that assure optimal quality of input water to the reverse osmosis membranes according to the type of seawater, while also taking possible seasonal variations into account. A pretreatment pilot plant has been constructed for this purpose. It includes several technologies that can be combined in up to 16 different forms or modes of functioning to determine the most suitable in function of each case and optimize the different variables involved in each combination. The plant’s capacity is 12 cubic meters of treated water per hour.

An experimental reverse osmosis pilot plant has been constructed for development of the "High Efficiency for Desalination" project. It will allow study of energy consumption by said process. Different types of membranes and energy recovery systems, configurations, cleaning solutions, and new materials, etc. will be researched. The plant’s capacity is five cubic meters per hour of product water (desalinated).

Both pilot plants are independent, although they can be connected to allow the pretreatment plant to condition the water for input into the reverse osmosis plant.

Befesa Agua has an ambitious R&D&I strategic plan aimed at developing sustainable technologies for the integral water cycle. One of the lines of research, in particular, in which these two pilot plants are included, focuses on studying enhancement and optimization of reverse osmosis desalination processes via reduction of energy consumption.