In Spain, about 500 reverse osmosis membranes are discarded every day. It is in this context that Remark was born, an innovative solution to reduce waste, costs, and the associated environmental impact.
Remark is a project led by Cetaqua, Water Technology Center, which strives to rethink the current model and bring it closer to the circular economy by avoiding the deposition of reverse osmosis membranes in landfills. In this way, the useful life of the membranes is extended and inert plastic waste is drastically reduced, aligning with sustainability.
“The project focuses on the reuse of reverse osmosis membranes that are no longer useful for certain applications but can be used in other applications with fewer restrictions, such as agricultural irrigation or irrigation of gardens and golf courses, among others. In this way, we achieve not only savings for our suppliers but also a reduction in waste generation,” says Ángel Gallardo, Remark’s project manager at Cetaqua.
The process followed by Remark focuses on reusing discarded membranes from water treatment plants, facilities with very high quality standards, to give them a second life in less restrictive scenarios. After an analysis and quality control, the membranes are packaged and classified to ensure their correct operation and guarantee compliance with the necessary requirements at destination.
The development of initiatives such as ReMark shows that sustainability is not only based on reducing waste but also on transforming practices to achieve a greener future. A project that shows how innovation and environmental responsibility can converge to make a tangible difference in today’s world, helping to care for the environment and combat the negative effects of climate change, annually reducing the disposal of about 150,000 reverse osmosis membranes, emitting no more than 100 tons of CO2, which would mean approximately 250 trees.
A number of significant benefits can be obtained thanks to this sustainable solution. These include savings in waste management and a reduction in replacement costs by up to 4 times. In addition, customers experience increased throughput and production capacity, reduced energy and chemical consumption, and contribute to a reduced water and carbon footprint in line with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.
In their commitment to sustainability, Aigües de Barcelona and Cetaqua have previously worked on the MAESTRO project, the predecessor of Remark. An initiative for the technical, economic and environmental evaluation of the reuse of reverse osmosis membranes at the end of their useful life in seawater or brackish water purification.
As a result of this previous project, the successful case of the Baix Llobregat Water Regeneration Station (ERA) stands out, where the technology of injection of regenerated water into aquifers in advanced tertiary treatment with reverse osmosis and Remark membranes is being implemented.
Currently, Cetaqua also has important clients in the food sector such as PROCAVI (El Pozo Group) and SUNTORY, among others, which operate with Remark membranes in different configurations and produce high-quality osmosis water according to their requirements.
From this first approach, within the Remark project, a more specific process has been developed. In addition to focusing on the reuse of membranes, it has a software through a mobile application that analyzes each installation and, through specialized technical personnel, guides the operator to optimize the operation, maintenance, and efficiency of the process, which translates into guarantee and reliability.