Biostability of drinking and ultrapure water

The project aims to study the application of reverse osmosis in the production of drinking water from groundwater.

• To investigate the application of RO in the production of drinking water from groundwater.
• To assess the remineralization processes in terms of biological stability.
• To develop a method to study biological stability in low nutrient waters.

Duration: 2014-2018
Sponsor: Oasen Drinkwater
Budget: 420,000 euros
Staff: Maria Kennedy, Walter van der Meer, Sergio Salinas, Gang Liu
PhD student: Mohaned Sousi


Biofouling assessment in seawater desalination

The project aims to develop a new method to measure ATP and the bacterial growth potential of seawater to monitor biological fouling in SWRO.

• To develop a new ATP method to monitor the bacterial activity of seawater.
• To develop a method to measure AOC in seawater based on ATP (using a natural consortium of bacteria).
• To establish if a correlation exist between AOC concentration in the feed water of SWRO systems and the biological fouling on RO membrane surface (MFS).
• To applying the newly developed method for ATP and AOC in pilot and/or full scale SWRO plants.

Duration: 2014-2018
Sponsor: Promega, USA
Budget: 140,000 euros
Staff: Maria Kennedy, Sergio Salinas
PhD student: Motasem Abushaban
Partners: Dr. Said Goueli, Dr. Subhanjan Mondal

Scaling control in brackish water reverse osmosis

The project aims to maximize the recovery in BWRO plants while controlling calcium carbonate scaling.

• To test and validate the scale monitor in BWRO system
• To have the scaling monitor to continuously monitor scaling in BWRO
• To determine the lowest dosage for the preferred type of antiscalant at the maximum recovery of the system

Duration: 2016-2020
Sponsor: OASEN Drinkwater, Grundfos
Budget: 175,000 euros
Staff: Dr. Maria Kennedy, Dr. Sergio Salinas
PhD student: Nasir Mangal
Partners: Dr. Bastian Blankert, Dr. Walter van der Meer


EU-H2020 MIDES: Microbial Desalination Cells

Desalination of seawater is a method of significantly increasing freshwater resources for drinking, industrial use, and irrigation around the world. However, one challenge that remains with current desalination technologies is the energy requirement, with widely-used reverse osmosis (RO) desalination units consuming energy of around 3 kWh per m3 of fresh water produced.

The MIDES project (for microbial desalination) is overcoming energy barriers of using RO to provide greater freshwater access by using microbial desalination cells (MDC) to naturally generate energy for desalination – with the concurrent treatment of wastewater. For example, MDCs can potentially produce approximately 1.8 kWh of bioelectricity from the handling of 1 m3 of wastewater. This MDC energy can be used in feed water pre-treatment to lower the salinity to a brackish level, and thus drastically reduce the energy needed for the RO process.

The MIDES project consortium of 10 research and commercial organisations is working to advance MDC technology by addressing current challenges such as low desalination rates, biofouling on ion exchange membranes, scaling up, and economic feasibility. To achieve this goal, much of the progress is focused on nanostructured electrodes, antifouling membranes, electrochemical reactor design, as well as process engineering and control. Large-scale demonstrations of this innovative low-energy technology for drinking water production will take place at sites in Spain, Tunisia and Chile.

Duration: 2016-2020
Sponsor: EU H2020 (Total: 7.9M euros)
Budget: 460,000 euros
Partners: FCC Aqualia, Leitat, FujiFilm, SimTech, Univ. Gabes, IMDEA Water, OnControl, Mikrolin
IHE Staff: Maria Kennedy, Sergio Salinas, Angeles Mendoza


Wetsus: New pretreatment technologies for biofouling control in seawater desalination

The project aims to develop a new generation of seawater reverse osmosis pre-treatment to eliminate organic and biological fouling.
• To investigate the application of low MWCO UF pre-treatment in controlling organic and biological fouling in SWRO system.
• To evaluate the use of phosphate removal technology (PRT) in limiting bacterial growth in SWRO system.
• To study the effectiveness of combining low MWCO UF with PRT in eliminating organic and biological fouling in SWRO.

Duration: 2013-2017
Sponsor: Wetsus
Partners: Pentair X-Flow, BiAqua, Zeeschelp BV
Staff: Maria Kennedy, Sergio Salinas
PhD student: Nirajan Dhakal