The Canary Islands Institute of Technology (ITC), with the support of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, promotes the experimental development of two pilot solutions for high-efficiency seawater desalination through the Pre-commercial Public Purchase procedure.
The public procurement process initiated by the ITC, a centre attached to the Ministry of Economy, Knowledge and Employment of the Canary Islands Government, aims to advance in the development of highly innovative market solutions to obtain fresh water, with energy consumption far below current values and resulting in reduced operating costs and lower environmental impact.
The two pilot solutions to be implemented during 2022 at ITC’s facilities in Pozo Izquierdo, Gran Canaria, are aimed at offering alternatives to reverse osmosis, a globally widely used seawater desalination technology. Specifically, it is planned to achieve an energy consumption ratio below 1,5 kWh/m3 of desalinated water, half of the current consumption, as well as to minimise the volume of brine discharges and the use of chemicals.
The initiative of Pre-commercial Public Procurement (CPP) in desalination, the first of this sector in the autonomous area of the Canary Islands, has led to the contracting of two Spanish research centers, the Tecnalia and Eurecat Foundations, to carry out the feasibility analysis, design, development and validation of both pilot desalination solutions with optimized performance, with the financial support of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria.
This procurement is structured in 3 excluding phases. The first one, with an execution period until the end of May, will define the pilot scale design and the viability of the solution at industrial scale. Once this initial stage is over, between June and December 2022, the construction, installation and operation of the pilot will be carried out at the ITC experimental facilities in Pozo Izquierdo. According to the planned schedule, in January 2023 the results achieved will be presented and, based on them, the commercial proposal of the solution and the analysis of potential business development scenarios will be activate.
Experimental development of desalination technologies
- Tecnalia, the largest applied research and technological development center in Spain, has been contracted for the development and validation of an advanced electrochemical desalination technology, based on the concept of battery operation. The main advantages of this technical solution are high desalination efficiency and low energy consumption.
- Eurecat, private non-profit foundation of specialized services and R&D&I projects, through its Water, Air and Soils Technology Unit, proposes an innovative seawater desalination scheme with low energy consumption, low use of reagents and minimum liquid discharge from the combination of a desalination system based on an innovative reverse osmosis system, to validate in a relevant way in a real environment and with a pilot that integrates the new treatment scheme with adapted modular commercial equipment.
This public procurement initiative for the development of innovative technology is part of the DESAL+ Startups project, promoted by ITC together with the Economic Promotion Society of Gran Canaria (SPEGC) and the financing of the Island Council. It is a commitment to innovation in a strategic sector for the islands, pioneers in Europe in the operation of desalination plants, with an eye toward offering competitive advantages to existing plants in the island territory and also supporting future technology-based companies in the sector.
Through the financing of the Cabildo of Gran Canaria, DESAL+ Startups is integrated into the actions implemented in the experimental and comprehensive program of R&D&I activities linked to the exploitation of island marine resources, within the framework of the collaboration agreement between the Cabildo of Gran Canaria and the Ministry of Science and Innovation. Likewise, this initiative is supported by the DESAL+ Living Lab platform, an ecosystem of excellence in desalination in the Canary Islands coordinated by ITC, with the aim of attracting and generating knowledge applicable to desalination processes with high international projection.
The DESAL+ LIVING LAB R+D+i Platform, coordinated by ITC, was born in 2017 in the framework of the DESAL+ project, co-financed by ERDF funds at 85% through the MAC Programme 2014-2020.