OUR VISION AND OUR ACTION RESEARCH OF THE FUTURE OF WATER

Technology, research, innovation and management models allow us to propose solutions that guide all the processes in the water cycle towards a circular economy. This outlook on water and other resources involved in its processes, and the actions that derive from it, is based on a future that can only be sustainable. Sustainable in technical, economic, social and environmental terms.

OUR VISION AND OUR ACTION RESEARCH OF THE FUTURE OF WATER

Technology, research, innovation and management models allow us to propose solutions that guide all the processes in the water cycle towards a circular economy. This outlook on water and other resources involved in its processes, and the actions that derive from it, is based on a future that can only be sustainable. Sustainable in technical, economic, social and environmental terms.

CETAQUA FOCUSES ON THE
FOLLOWING RESEARCH AREAS:
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BIOFACTORY AND RESOURCE RECOVERY

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CRITICAL INFRAESTRUCTURE MANAGEMENT AND RESILIENCE

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WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT

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ENVIRONMENTAL, ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL SUSTAINABILITY

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WATER 4.0

Biofactory and resource recovery

 

Solutions for transforming treatment plants into biofactories: efficient facilities for obtaining water, energy and materials.

 

CHALLENGES

We are working on a paradigm shift, applying the circular economy concept to water treatment, developing processes and technologies that transform treatment plants into biofactories.

The goal is to maximize the value of resources by promoting an energy-neutral model, which contributes to achieving zero waste and includes the elimination of emerging contaminants and microplastics. Therefore, we promote the recovery and reuse of resources during reclaimed water production processes and treatment of urban and industrial waste water and other waste flow.

 

PRIORITY RESEARCH LINES

 

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Biofactory and resource recovery

 

Solutions for transforming treatment plants into biofactories: efficient facilities for obtaining water, energy and materials.

 

CHALLENGES

We are working on a paradigm shift, applying the circular economy concept to water treatment, developing processes and technologies that transform treatment plants into biofactories.

The goal is to maximize the value of resources by promoting an energy-neutral model, which contributes to achieving zero waste and includes the elimination of emerging contaminants and microplastics. Therefore, we promote the recovery and reuse of resources during reclaimed water production processes and treatment of urban and industrial waste water and other waste flow.

 

PRIORITY RESEARCH LINES

 

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Key results

The European LIFE Nimbus project began in 2020 with the aim of proposing a green energy and transport model in Barcelona by promoting the eco-factory or bio-factory concept.

Through the recovery of waste water treatment plant waste (sludge) from the Baix Llobregat waste water treatment plant managed by Aigües de Barcelona, biomethane of sufficient quality will be produced, to be used as biofuel for public transport. At the same time, power-to-gas technology will be promoted as a solution for storing surplus renewable energy.

Project

Life Nimbus

Duration

September 2020 - November 2023

Coordinator

Cetaqua Barcelona

Partners

Aigües de Barcelona, Labaqua, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB)

Web

https://ris3catenergia.wordpress.com

We promote the circular economy through projects that seek to recover nutrients from wastewater to produce biofertilizers.

We have developed an innovative treatment train that allows the recovery of Nitrogen from wastewater in the form of ammonium salts by adsorption with zeolites and separation by membrane contactors, and Phosphorus in the form of struvite by crystallization. These technologies are being validated at full scale in the framework of the LIFE ENRICH and DIGESTAKE projects.

LIFE ENRICH has evaluated the suitability of recovering phosphorus before anaerobic digestion as a sustainable alternative to increase the amount of this non-renewable natural resource. In contrast, DIGESTAKE has <confirmed the potential of liquid and gaseous effluents from anaerobic digestion of urban WWTP sludge to recover and valorize different resources.

LIFE ENRICH is a project co-funded by the European LIFE program. DIGESTAKE is co-funded by the EU's Fons Europeu de Desenvolupament Regional under the Catalonia ERDF Operational Program 2014-2020.

Project

LIFE ENRICH - Enhanced Nitrogen and phosphorus Recovery from wastewater and Integration in the value Chain

Duration

September 2017 – February 2021

Coordinator

Cetaqua Barcelona

Partners

Emuasa, UPC, UPV, IRTA, Aquatec and Aigües del Segarra Garrigues

Website

http://www.life-enrich.eu/

The DENMASS project is committed to sustainable development in water treatment plants with the installation of InDense, a simple and innovative technology that improves operation, effluent quality and the environment. 

It allows the densification of the sludge inside the biological reactor, using gravimetric separation with cyclones, resulting in more effective removal of nitrogen, phosphorus and carbon in the water. In this way, the Palencia WWTP becomes the first biofactory in Europe, promoting zero waste and improving the quality of its discharges, opening up the possibility of using treated water to irrigate parks and gardens.

Project

DENMASS

Duration

July 2019 - November 2021

Partners

SUEZ Spain (Aquona)

Coordinator

CIRSEE

The Cigat Biofactoría project aims to recover and produce high added value by-products from waste flows, thus contributing to the circular economy. To this end, it is working on two technological lines: the recovery of polyphenols and the production of Volatile Fatty Acids (VFAs).

This 2020, two technologies have been validated at a laboratory scale and, consequently, have moved on to the demonstration phase with the installation of three pilots. For the first line, thanks to the implementation of a demonstration prototype in the Martín Códax winery, work has been done with the liquid and solid by-products generated in the different stages of the winemaking process to obtain polyphenols, high-value resources with high demand in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food. For the second line, the production of AGVs, two pilot prototypes have been designed and built: one of them has been installed at Conservas Dardo to recover liquid industrial effluents from the canning industry, and the second at the Ourense WWTP for the recovery of sludge from urban wastewater treatment plants.

In addition, this project has registered the patent for the polyphenol technology line and is currently preparing innovation proposals for developing relevant patents for the VFA line.

Project

CIGAT-BIOFACTORÍA

Duration

July 2018 - December 2021

Coordinator

Cetaqua Galicia 

Funding entity

Axencia Galega de Innovación (GAIN) - Xunta de Galicia

Web

http://www.umcigat.es/biofactes/

ACV Biofactoría is a pioneering project that takes the life cycle as a reference in its study of environmental behavior, facing the new WWTP paradigm that is currently being proposed; defining the necessary methodological basis for the environmental evaluation of the new concept of biofactory.

To this end, we have developed a tool that enables the identification and quantification of the environmental benefits generated by this new model through the definition of key environmental indicators. Its implementation has made possible the simulation of different scenarios for specific plants in their transformation into biofactories, as well as to compare the environmental performance of their base scenario.

Project

ACV Biofactoria

Duration

April 2019 - Jaunary 2020

Coordinator

Cetaqua Galicia

Funding entity

SUEZ España

ECOVAL proposes a new approach to waste management based on the revaluation of waste to obtain volatile fatty acids. These by-products are useful for the industries of plastics, lubricants, and agrochemical industries. ECOVAL is developing the complete value chain, from waste collection to the commercialization of the final product. The project develops an innovative biotechnological process to improve the conversion of waste into biogas and to close the cycle with the application of the new resources in the agricultural industry.

The project will offer a new environmental management model to be applied in the cities of the Sudoe region, integrating multidisciplinary aspects of legislation, economics, market, environment, and social perception. In this way, it contributes to the integration of the circular economy, promoting waste reduction and environmental protection through the conversion of waste into resources.

Project

ECOVAL

Duration

November 2020 – March 2023

Partners

USC, INSA, ADTA, FPNCYL, Nereus, PA, FEUGA

Coordinator

Cetaqua Galicia

Funding entity

EC-INTERREG

Web

www.ecoval-sudoe.eu

The CONSERVAL project promotes the modernization of the canning industry implementation of a sustainable waste management model. Its main objective is the valorization of by-products and wastewater derived from the production process of this sector in Galicia and northern Portugal.

The different technologies developed aim to transform these solid and liquid flows into products with high added value, such as volatile fatty acids, fish oils with high Omega-3 content, or protein hydrolysates.

In this sense, Cetaqua is developing a technological process for the selective transformation of liquid streams into fatty acids. In this way, the foundations of a circular economy model are being laid, which reduces the volume of waste by converting it back into potential resources and, consequently, minimizes the environmental impact on natural waterways.

Project

CONSERVAL

Duration

April 2019 – December 2021

Partners

USC, FEUGA, ANFACO, UPORTO, ANICP

Coordinator

Cetaqua Galicia

Funding entity

INTERREG V-A España-Portugal 2014-2020 (POCTEP)

Web

http://conservalproject.com/

The HOOP project will offer a Project Development Assistance (PDA) to a group of 8 cities and city clusters of diverse sizes and socio-economic contexts, widely distributed throughout Europe.

The objective is to generate the technical, economic, legal and juridical knowledge necessary to develop concrete investments to valorise OFMSW (Organic Fraction of Municipal Solid Waste) or UWWS (Urban Wastewater Sludge) to obtain bio-based products.

Each PDA will contain detailed implementation assistance and a defined Circular Business Model tailored for each participating “lighthouse” city, as well as financing mechanisms to be used for mobilising investment.

HOOP is a collaborative project framed in the European program Horizon 2020 (H2020).

Project

HOOP

Duration

October 2020 – September 2024

Partners

CETAQUA Galicia, ITENE, SAV, DRAXIS, NAFIGATE, R4L,ACR+, G!E, SfE, 2GOOUT, CSCP, RdA, Bax&Co, SBE,Kuopio, BIR, Almere, Lazio, LIPOR, CluBE, Murcia, AWM

Coordinator

Cetenma

Website

www.hoopproject.eu

The high tidal activity of the Pontevedra estuary generates an increase in the salinity of the river Lérez. The salinity can inhibit the process carried out by the microorganisms in the Placceres WWTP.

PonteRedSal aims to diagnose the points of highest saltwater infiltration in Pontevedra's sewerage network. For this purpose, this project will measure the conductivity along with several points and will identify the critical ones to improve the services in these areas of infiltration of the network in order of priority.

Project

Diagnosis of the salt networks in Pontevedra's collector network

Duration

November 2020 - July 2021

Coordinador

Cetaqua Galicia

Funding entity

Viaqua

Caustic soda is a highly toxic by-product present in wastewater from the petroleum refining and petrochemical industries. This substance is difficult to process, as current treatment solutions are either unable to meet current regulations or are very costly. For this reason, large stockpiles of this hazardous waste have recently accumulated in refineries with no viable way to dispose of it.

The EPC-EqTech project aims to develop an innovative solution based on a water treatment plant that combines electrochemical technologies to create a system capable of processing caustic soda at a low cost and within legal parameters.

Project

EPC-EqTech – an innovative turnkey solution to process spent caustic created in the Oil&Gas industry at lowcost and that meets wastewater regulations

Duration

November 2020 – July 2027

Cordinator

Cetaqua Barcelona

Partners

Aquatec, Dekra, Tüpras

We have developed projects with two companies (a salmon farming company and an environmental technology company) to define operational solutions and design modifications in salmon cells and urban waste digesters.

Virtual piloting and prototyping have several advantages over traditional piloting and prototyping: it reduces on-site construction costs, reduces installation, assembly and start-up times, reduces operational uncertainty due to the availability of multiple types of analysis, and minimises the risk of accidents and contamination.

Projects
  • Development of a tool based on fluid dynamic modelling for the design of anti-bloom systems in salmon farming.
  • Assistance in the design of the piston flow reactor mixing system using CFD fluid dynamic modelling.
Duration

January 2020 – December 2020

Partners
  • Salmon industry company
  • Environmental technologies compan
Contributors

University of Alberta, Canadá

The B-WATER SMART project seeks to optimize water reuse in Alicante and promote circular economy strategies by implementing a Living Lab. That's an innovation space open to the administration and end-users where they can co-create and experiment to address the challenges between the different territorial actors.

To this end, we will develop a digital tool for water resource management focused on reclaimed water, which will allow us to promote reuse in the territory. The project works on the development of solutions aimed at converting the wastewater treatment plant into a biofactory.

B-WATER SMART is a collaborative project, within the European Horizon 2020 (H2020) program, that includes 5 other Living Labs in Europe: Norway, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and Portugal.

Project

B-Water Smart

Duration

September 2020 – August 2024

PARTNERS IN THE SPANISH CASE STUDY

Cetaqua, Aguas de Alicante, UNED-Cátedra Aquae, EURECAT, Turbulent

OTHER PARTNERS

LNEC, EURECAT, SINTEF, KWR, AQUAFIN, entre otros (un total de 35 socios)

One of the environmental challenges of the mining sector is to achieve the reuse of all its discharges into the environment and to recover the high-value metals present in its wastewater.

The LIFE Remine Water project aims to develop a pilot-scale treatment system for the mining industry that will combine electrochemical and Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) technologies to recover copper and zinc for reuse. It also contributes to the circular economy by reusing discharged water and recovering resources.

Project

LIFE REMINE WATER: New water solutions for the mining industry: towards minimum liquid discharge and by-product recovery

Duration

October 2018 – December 2022

Coordinator

Cetaqua Barcelona

Partners

Cobre Las Cruces, NewHeat, IMN

Web

Web: https://www.reminewater.eu/

RIS3CAT LISA seeks to apply precision agriculture to advance towards the efficient management of water, fertilizers and pesticides in crops, at the plot level and in irrigation communities. In addition, it optimizes remote sensing campaigns to monitor crops and identifies complementary on-site sensors. With them, cover crops present in the vineyard are characterized  to control tares. 

At Cetaqua we carry out tasks related to the combined analysis of information from sensors and satellite images, the use of predictive models for water supply/demand and the implementation of a planning model for agricultural campaigns at the irrigation community level. Therefore, a predictive model based on automatic learning techniques has been developed to forecast water availability and drought index, together with a tool for automatic analysis of remote sensing data.

This project is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund of the European Union within the framework of the 2014-2020 ERDF Operational Program of Catalonia, and by ACCIÓ through the RIS3CAT Community of Agri-Food Production Technologies.

Project

RIS3CAT LISA - Low Input Sustainable Agriculture

Duration

March 2018 – March 2021

Coordinator

Universidad de Lleida

Partners

Cetaqua, IRTA, Codorniu, Agropixel y Federació cooperatives agràries de Catalunya

Web

http://www.lisaproject.cat/introduccio/

The European LIFE Conquer project was launched in 2020 with the aim of promoting sustainable irrigation in the region of Murcia, in order to prevent and mitigate water shortages.

The project will develop an innovative system that will make it possible to reuse phreatic water contaminated by nitrates and salts, maintaining the necessary nutrients and eliminating salinity, for the irrigation of parks and gardens.

This will contribute to the circular economy and zero waste through the use of different technologies. On the one hand, nanofiltration will separate the salinity from the nitrates, concentrating the salts in brines; on the other, reversible electrodialysis and electrochlorination will recover the brines generated and thus transform the concentrated salinity into valuable by-products such as sodium hypochlorite, known as bleach, overcoming the barriers that exist in the currently available systems.

Project

Life Conquer

Duration

November 2020 - January 2024

Coordinator

Cetaqua Barcelona

Partners

Aguas de Murcia, Aquatec