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ACCIONA leads an initiative to eliminate emerging pollutants in end-to-end water cycle

  • ACCIONA leads an initiative to eliminate emerging pollutants in end-to-end water cycle
  • The LIFE PRISTINE project combines water treatment processes with artificial intelligence-based digital tools to develop a solution that removes emerging pollutants in the integrated water cycle. The integrated and versatile PRISTINE solution will be demonstrated in a representative full-scale operational environment.

  • LIFE PRISTINE, with a budget of 4 million euros, also has the participation of Eurecat, NX Filtration, Xylem Servicies and the Entidad Regional de Saneamiento y Depuración de Aguas residuales de la región de Murcia (ESAMUR), as well as the support of the Consorcio de Aguas de Bilbao Bizkaia (CABB).

About the entity

The water business of ACCIONA concentrates on water treatment and reverse osmosis desalination, a technology in which it is the world leader.

ACCIONA leads the European innovation project LIFE PRISTINE, whose objective is to eliminate emerging contaminants in the integral water cycle, one of the essential measures to promote alternative water resources in the face of water scarcity, which affects more than 2.8 billion people worldwide.

Many forums have alerted on the urgent need to take steps to protect water resources, mainly through a reduction in water consumption but also by promoting alternative resources through desalination or reuse. These non-conventional resources are essential to guarantee water supplies for sectors such as agriculture, the biggest consumer in the EU.

One of the challenges to be overcome fostering the reuse of water is the elimination of emerging pollutants and microplastics. These substances of anthropogenic origin are difficult to eliminate by using existing treatment systems, and they may end up in seas and rivers or even enter the food chain. Despite being present in negligible amounts (ppb or ppt), their presence may create hazards, which is why there is increasing emphasis on regulating the use of these substances or developing solutions to remove them from the environment.

LIFE-PRISTINE is conceived as a sustainable alternative to ensure the elimination of emerging pollutants (+80%) in the end-to-end water cycle

LIFE-PRISTINE is conceived as a sustainable alternative to ensure the elimination of emerging pollutants (+80%) in the end-to-end water cycle. It goes beyond the limits set by Directive 2020/2184/CE on Water for Human Consumption and the new European Regulation on minimum requirements for the reuse of water (Regulation (UE) 2020/741). LIFE-PRISTINE focuses on emerging pollutants of the PFAS type (Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl substances, used e.g. in flame retardants), pesticides, pharmaceutical and personal care products, toxins microplastics and genes of micro-organisms that are resistant to antibiotics . The project will help to strengthen the existing legislation and will guarantee the use of re-use of water to the highest quality and safety standards.

The PRISTINE solution involves processes of absorption, nanofiltration and advanced oxidation using virtual sensors, process modelling and decision-making support tools. It will be capable of eliminating emerging pollutants efficiently (+80 %, -30 % OpEx), both in main water currents as drinking or water streams as well as hard to treat concentrates and reject streams in drinking and wastewater processes. The PRISTINE project will be demonstrated in a representative operating environment on a real scale: treating the secondary effluent of a treatment plant in Murcia and a pre-treatment in making up drinking water in the Bilbao Bizkaia Advanced Water Treatment Centre (CATABB), in the Basque Country.

The LIFE PRISTINE project coordinated by ACCIONA and with a budget of almost 4 million euros, involves EURECAT, NX Filtration, Xylem and the Regional Entity for Wastewater Sanitation and Treatment in Murcia (ESAMUR), as well as support from the Consorcio de Aguas de Bilbao Bizkaia (CABB). 

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