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New cutting-edge pilot plant in Italy targets micropollutant removal

  • New cutting-edge pilot plant in Italy targets micropollutant removal
  • Water Living Lab inaugurated in Hera Group’s potabilization plant.

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A pioneering pilot facility designed to eliminate micropollutants from water is currently operational in Ferrara, nestled within the Po River basin, in Italy, reveals a press release by MEDICA.

This project is the fruit of collaboration between Hera Group, Medica Spa—a producer of biomedical equipment—and the National Research Council (CNR). Their joint effort aims to purify water intended for drinking by employing cutting-edge materials derived from recycled waste originating in the biomedical sector.

It serves as an example of successful synergy between industry and academia. Situated at the Pontelagoscuro plant, which draws water directly from the Po River, the new system ensures the comprehensive and safe treatment of water for consumption.

A pioneering pilot facility designed to eliminate micropollutants from water is currently operational in Ferrara, nestled within the Po River basin, in Italy

Unveiled on March 5th, the Water Living Lab marks a pivotal component of the Life Remembrance initiative. The project was introduced by Alessandro Baroncini, Hera’s Central Director of Networks; Letizia Bocchi, Medica’s R&D Head and project coordinator; and Manuela Melucci, senior scientist at the Institute for Organic Synthesis and Photoreactivity of the National Research Council (CNR-ISOF), who serves as the project’s Technical Manager.

The establishment of the Water Living Lab is a direct response to the imperative outlined in the Water Safety Plan to bolster pollution risk management in the Po River. Encouraged by promising results from laboratory tests, Hera opted to engage in the project, evaluating the technology within its own facilities while adhering to pertinent water regulations.

The innovative plant harnesses polymeric granules derived from discarded process membranes in the biomedical industry. By repurposing this valuable yet neglected material within the purification cycle, the initiative champions resourcefulness and exemplifies the circular economy ethos. Tests conducted at CNR-ISOF demonstrated the superior efficacy of these materials in removing various micropollutants, including PFAS, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and pesticides, surpassing the capabilities of granular activated carbon. By diverting a fraction of treated water—whether in its natural state or tailored specifically for the project—the pilot program will evaluate the pollutant removal performance of these novel materials within a real-world context.

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