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  • Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WATIFY (Up-scaling, demonstration and first market application of Hydrokemos’ patented technology as the most eco-efficient and cost-effective solution for nitrate polluted water treatment)

WATIFY Report Summary

Project ID: 711501

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WATIFY (Up-scaling, demonstration and first market application of Hydrokemos’ patented technology as the most eco-efficient and cost-effective solution for nitrate polluted water treatment)

Reporting period: 2015-12-01 to 2016-11-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The main problems that justify the need of this project are:
- Permanent increase in water freshwater demand.
- Nitrate contamination in groundwater.

Problem 1: Permanent increase in freshwater water demand
Freshwater withdrawals have tripled over the last 50 years. Demand for freshwater is increasing by 64 billion cubic meters a year (1 cubic meter = 1,000 liters). Worldwide, agriculture accounts for 70% of all water consumption, compared to 20% for industry and 10% for domestic use. In industrialized nations, however, industries consume more than half of the water available for human use. Some key aspects that will contribute to increase the water demand in the future are:
- The world’s population is growing by roughly 80 million people each year.
- The production of biofuels has also increased sharply in recent years, with significant impact on water demand. Between 1,000 and 4,000 litres of water are needed to produce a single litre of biofuel. In general water demand of industrial use will be one of the categories that will increase the most.
- Energy demand is also accelerating, with corresponding implications for water demand.

Problem 2: Nitrate contamination in groundwater in Europe
Nitrogen fertilizers are applied extensively in agriculture to increase crop production, but excess nitrogen supplies can cause air, soil, and water pollution. Arguably one of the most widespread and damaging impacts of agricultural overapplication of nitrogen fertilizers is the degradation of groundwater quality and contamination of drinking water supplies, which can pose immediate risks to human health.
According to the latest European Commission report there is a high and stagnant level of nitrate concentrations in groundwater. The general trend in nitrate concentrations in groundwater when comparing the first (1992-1994) and second (1996-1998) monitoring exercise is summarised as "stable to increasing".

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

In this first year of the project Hydrokemós (F1) has confirmed the location and capacity of each of the fourth prototypes.
Furthermore waters coming from each of the locations where prototypes are going to be located have been used in laboratory tests to define operation conditions and the electrodes design both in purification and remediation prototypes.
Operation conditions to be used differ significantly depending on inlet water quality and outlet water specifications, so that machinery and control equipment specifications have had to be stablished for each of the 4 prototypes of the project.

• First prototype for water potabilization, HYK- FP of 20 m3/day capacity to potabilize well water from a food industry has already entered in operation on September 2016 (F2).
The end user of the first HYK-FP prototype, of 20 m3/day capacity, to potabilize nitrate contaminated for food industry is located in a farm located in Malla, a town in Barcelona province.

The farm provides milk to an important Spanish milk producer in Catalonia- Llet Nostra and also provides pigs to an important meat industry. Water consume of the whole farm is around 20 m3/day and their water source is a contaminated well of up to 70 ppm of nitrate.
Electrodenitrification plant is potabilising the contaminated water from the well to be able to supply drinkable water to the farm (nitrate content is reduced from 70-45 ppm)
Attached a link with the video of the plant in operation:

• Second prototype, for waste water remediation, HYK- HNR with a capacity to remove 12,5 Kg NO3 per day to remediate wastewater from metallurgical industry will be installed in the metallurgical factory the last week of December (F3)

The end user of the HYK- HNR plant is an important metallurgical factory located in Catalonia that generates a slurry of 100.000 to 150000 ppm of nitrates dues to the use of nitric acid in their processes.
The high concentrated nitrate slurries of around 150000 ppm nitrate (150 Kg/m3), are diluted to 10.000 ppm to be treat in Electrodenitrification plant HYK-HNR and decontaminated to meet the specifications of water discharges (< 100 ppm)
Construction of the plant will be finished on 23 December and it is planned to install the plant on the factory at the end of the month.

• Third prototype, for water potabilization, HYK- PNP of 100 m3/day capacity to potabilize well water to supply water to a village is under construction and will enter in operation on February 2017 (F4).

The end user of the HYK- PNP plant is the Village of Borrassà. Borrassà is a little village in Gerona (Catalonia, Spain) with around 700 habitants and a water consume of 100-120 m3/day of water. Until today the village does not have any drinkable water source, due that the only water source of the village, a municipal well ,is contaminated with 65-70 ppm of nitrates and there is no alternative water source coming from any network. As Hydrokemós plant will solve the problem of being able to supply drinkable water to the population, Borrassa mayor and Girona Deputation are very interested and involved in the project.

• Fourth prototype, for waste water remediation, HYK- HNR with a capacity to remove 5 Kg NO3 per day to remediate nitrate contaminated rejection waters coming from desalination plants (20 % of the treated water) that are thrown to the sea causing eutrophication.

The end user of the HYK- LNR plant is expected to be Murcia administration that would install the HYK-LNR prototype to treat the nitrate contaminated rejection waters from desalination plants, before being poured to Mar Menor (F5) to prevent the eutrophication of Mar Menor. Hydrokemós is negotiating with Murcia administration, very interested in the technology to sign a collaboration agreement.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Electrodenitrification compared to best available technologies (BAT) which are: Reverse Osmosis, electrodialysis, ionic exchange resins and biodenitrification processes.

We expect to reach our commercial and business goals thanks to the significant novelties that electrodenitrification brings compared to available solutions. Currently, best available technologies are based on separation and not removal. They separate nitrate and other ions of the water in a non-selectively way producing that approximately a 20% of treated water reverses into a toxic and hazardous waste. Only biodenitrification, like the electrodenitrification, closes the nitrogen cycle.

Both technologies, electrodenitrification and biodenitrification, allow closing the nitrogen cycle again, converting nitrates in air, nevertheless biodenitrification is slow and very sensitive to temperature. On the contrary, electrodenitrification is cheaper, does not require organic matter and the machinery (and consequently investment) is significantly lower.

Besides not generating waste of difficult and expensive disposal, electrodenitrification, has a total cost savings (investment and exploitation) of around 50% compared to BAT. In this context, the advantage for customers or for suppliers of drinking water or wastewater treatment is clear.

The technology developed by Hydrokemos offers a cost-efficient alternative to remediate nitrate polluted water with the following advantages with respect to the best available technologies for nitrate removal, which are Reverse Osmosis, electrodialysis, ionic exchange resins and biodenitrification processes.

Related information

Record Number: 196342 / Last updated on: 2017-03-29