Two experimental technologies intended to improve the efficiency and sustainability of seawater desalination have been installed in the project area that Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias, ITC (Canary Islands Institute of Technology ) has in Pozo Izquierdo.
This is the result of the DESAL+ STARTUPS initiative, promoted with the support of Sociedad de Promoción Económica de Gran Canaria, SPEGC (Public Company for the Economic Promotion of Gran Canaria).
Obtaining desalinated seawater with a higher performance, a lower energy consumption and reducing the use of chemicals in the process. This was the challenge that ITC launched in late 2021 with the support of Cabildo through SPEGC. The initiative was a Pre-Commercial Public Procurement procedure aimed to seek disruptive technologies in seawater desalination still not available in the market.
After assessing different proposals, Fundación TECNALIA and Fundación EURECAT were the companies selected to install 2 pilot plants in the demonstration area of DESAL+ LIVING LAB, located in ITC’s facilities in Pozo Izquierdo. The emerging solutions have been installed and are being tested, allowing these 2 companies to experiment in a real-life environment, in order to provide a solution to the challenges faced by the Canary Islands in the desalination industry.
Both plants aim to reach a specific energy consumption below 1.5 kWh/m3, a figure that would improve the usual efficiency of conventional desalination plants, with a consumption above 2.0 kWh/m3. In addition, the initiative also aims to reduce the environmental impact associated to seawater desalination, minimising the chemicals used in the process and the generation of brine.
This Pre-Commercial Public Procurement procedure has also sought to reduce the production costs of desalinated water. One of the requirements that the designs submitted had to meet was to reduce the operating costs below €0.60 per cubic metre of water produced.
The proposal installed by Fundación TECNALIA consists of an electrochemical desalination process. EURECAT, in turn, has put forward an innovative change in reverse osmosis, the most used seawater desalination technology worldwide, capable of operating at lower pressure than conventional technology. Both proposals aim to improve the efficiency and reduce the energy consumption and the cost of conventional technologies.
For further information about the Public Procurement procedure and about these two technologies, an explanatory video is available: here.
This initiative is carried out within the framework of the DESAL+ STARTUPS programme, launched by ITC together with SPEGC and with the funding of Cabildo de Gran Canaria. This project is included in the actions implemented within the comprehensive programme of experimental R&D activities linked to the exploitation of the marine resources of the island, within the framework of the collaboration agreement between Cabildo and the Ministry of Science and Innovation of the Government of Spain. Besides, this initiative is included in the DESAL+ Living Lab Platform, coordinated by ITC, in order to attract and generate knowledge applicable to desalination processes worldwide.