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  • Microorganism sensor in seawater for desalination plants




    Water treatment is essential for survival, and treatment of seawater for domestic use is a solution to cover demand for drinking water.


    A lack of water affects 40% of the world’s population, and it is estimated that around 65% of the population will suffer the consequences of water shortages by 2030. Bearing in mind the decreasing availability of natural fresh water, desalinating seawater for human consumption is something that can offset the problem.


    Among the desalination techniques used, the most common is reverse osmosis, used in 60% of plants. This technique eliminates salt from water by using a semi-permeable membrane that allows molecules to pass through it. Seawater contains a high level of microorganisms that adhere to this filter; they find somewhere to shelter and grow, blocking the passage of the water.


    The appearance of these organisms means that it is necessary to shut down the plant to clean the membranes, whose state is unknown until they are cleaned



    Shutting down a plant to wash the membrane frames is costly and leads to downtime. The biggest disadvantage is not knowing the extent of biofouling, which makes it difficult to predict shutdowns in a desalination plant. This can also lead to penalties on late deliveries by clients.


    The problem lies in the availability of know-how on the evolution of microorganisms blocking the membranes, in order to optimise their use and cleaning.



    We seek start-ups that can adapt their solutions to the detection of microorganism loads in seawater. ACCIONA is interested in a physical sensor that can measure levels directly and functions in a preventive manner, allowing us to know the extent of biofouling with a view to extending the working life of the membranes.


    We support the UN SDGs

    • Goal 6: Guarantee the availability of water and its sustainable management, and sanitation for everybody.
    • Goal 9: Construct resilient infrastructures, promote sustainable industrialisation and foster innovation.
    • Goal 12: Guarantee sustainable modalities of consumption and production (in terms of production of supplies).
  • 6

    months development time

    Up to 50.000€



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