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Demonstrating integrated innovative technologies for an optimal and safe closed water cycle in Mediterranean tourist facilities

Final Report Summary - DEMEAUMED (Demonstrating integrated innovative technologies for an optimal and safe closed water cycle in Mediterranean tourist facilities)

Executive Summary:
demEAUmed has been a European project co-funded by the European Union under the 7th Framework Program deployed over 42 months, from January 1st 2014 until June 30th 2017. Seven countries have been involved in this project: Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, and Spain.
demEAUmed has faced two key challenges; the importance of the tourism economy and water scarcity in the Mediterranean area. demEAUmed has been a critical platform for promoting the use of sustainable and innovative technologies in other Euro-Mediterranean tourist facilities in light of also the global tourism market.
The aim of demEAUmed project has been the involvement of industry representatives, stakeholders, policy-makers and diverse technical and scientific experts in demonstrating and promoting innovative technologies, for an optimal and safe closed water cycle in Euro-Mediterranean tourist facilities, leading to their eventual market uptake. A representative resort placed in Catalonia, Spain, has been considered as a DEMO site, where a representative part of all inlet and outlet waters has been characterised, treated with proper innovative technologies, and reused to reduce the carbon footprint of water management in an integrated approach at demonstration level.
It has been demonstrated that the reduction of fresh water consumption in hotel installations, green and recreational areas, etc. can be achieved by using alternative water sources, such as the reuse of treated greywaters and/or wastewaters within the resort. Several possibilities has been considered for the resort as a whole, taking into account the specific quality/quantity requirements of water at the different areas of the DEMO site, as well as current/future compliance with water regulations. The incorporation of advanced monitoring and control systems and a decision support tool has support in ultimately defining the best water management solutions by means of considered technological solutions. An exhaustive environmental and socio-economic assessment has also been conducted. The project has designed a dissemination plan analysing critical stakeholders/customers to adequately transfer demEAUmed results. The possibility of the creation of new market opportunities to European industry and SMEs has also been addressed.

Project Context and Objectives:
The aim of demEAUmed project has been the involvement of industry representatives, stakeholders, research centres, policy-makers and diverse technical and scientific experts from different Members States to demonstrate and promote innovative technologies for an optimal and safe closed water cycle in Mediterranean tourist facilities, leading to their eventual market uptake. A representative Euro-Mediterranean Resort placed in Catalonia, Spain, has been considered as a demonstrative site, where a representative part of all influent and effluent waters have been collected, characterised, treated with proper innovative technologies and reused to reduce the carbon footprint of water management in an integrated approach at demonstration level.
demEAUmed has faced two key challenges: the importance of the tourism economy and the water scarcity characteristic of the Euro-Mediterranean area. The demEAUmed consortium is, in fact, acutely aware of the complex water related challenges faced by the Mediterranean area: the prevalent reliance on tourism of coastal regions as an engine for their economies as well as the intense use of fresh water in touristic facilities triggered by rising quality standards and combined with constantly rising water scarcity in the area. In this frame, the project has been rooted in the strong conviction that it is crucial to address these challenges by proposing innovative, integrated and affordable solutions, combining not only reliable technologies but also promoting awareness on the need to actually integrate them into day-to-day activity and future strategy of public and private actors in the sector.
The reuse possibilities explored within the project have considered the Euro-Mediterranean resort as a whole, taking into account the specific quality and quantity requirements of water at the different areas of the DEMO site, as well as current/future compliance with water regulations in the sector. Legal barriers and environmental constraints have also been explored. The incorporation of monitoring and control systems to demEAUmed approach as well as a final decision support tool has enabled to optimize the water balance and to define best water management solutions for water treatment in touristic facilities by means of considered technological solutions. To complement the study, an exhaustive environmental and socio-economic assessment has been conducted in order to demonstrate the benefits of demEAUmed in comparison with current non-closed-loop water Mediterranean resorts.
In the last 50 years global water use has tripled due to population increase, economic growth, changes in lifestyle, technologies and international trade. Although there is no global water scarcity as such, an increasing number of regions, such as the Mediterranean, are chronically short of water. Future scenarios for the region include a progressive decline in the average stream flow, changes in important river regime characteristics and major hydrogeological and population changes in coastal areas. This foreseen situation enhances the necessity for improving water management, water prizing and water recycling policies, in order to ensure water supply and to reduce tensions among regions and countries.
At the same time, the Mediterranean is a region predominantly known for tourism and the role it plays for many economies in the area. Tourism is highly dependent on fresh water resources and their use. New touristic concepts or complementary services offered, such as spa, golf, wellness area, as well as the more traditional activities such as swimming pools and Jacuzzi, are highly water intensive and mainly fresh water consuming. At the same time, water is a key element in making tourist locations attractive: from irrigated hotel gardens to rivers or white winter landscapes, golf courses, water and tourism are inseparable. Changes in the water availability can, therefore, have a detrimental impact on specific touristic activities as well as on tourism activity as a whole and this impact is expected to be even more dramatic for the water scarce regions as the Mediterranean.
There is a growing number of hotels implementing eco-friendly practices (green hotels), but a better understanding of eco-friendly resort profiles is needed to formulate better marketing strategies. These new trends in the tourism demand improvements in available technologies and innovations that can contribute to more sustainable practices, such as reducing freshwater or energy use. Water reuse is becoming one of the most promising practices and can give birth to new alternatives for dramatic reduction of touristic water consumption. Promoting the concept of closed water cycle in highly water-intensive economic activities such as tourism is one of the new frontiers to be explored and conquered. The development, test and dissemination of closed water cycle are needed in a sustainable way, and can be achieved through the innovative solutions and market introduction and uptake.
Regarding the specific demEAUmed approach, the whole water fluxes and water composition used or generated in the tourist facility has been identified and quantified (WP3), as well as compared with other representative Euro-Mediterranean resorts. The proposed demEAUmed solution has integrated innovative water treatment technologies (WP4 and WP6), TICs and water management tools (WP5 and WP8). Different proven water treatment technologies at pre-marketable level have been properly combined to treat and adapt the different water flows to the necessities of the different areas in the resort, while saving fresh water consumption and reducing environmental and socio-economic impact in a safe way. Water treatment technologies have been classified according to their target pollutants: organic matter abatement, salinity reduction or disinfection. The final combination of technologies has been confirmed after an exhaustive analysis of water flows’ characteristics and needs of the resort selected taking into account the quantification of key indicators such as pollutant abatement degree, water reuse efficiency, minimum operational costs, etc. An environmental and socio-economic assessment has demonstrated the benefits of demEAUmed project in comparison with current non-closed-loop water Mediterranean Resorts (WP7). Additionally, legal issues have been identified, including recommendation for existing and future water quality regulations. Moreover, the project has deployed a dissemination plan analysing critical stakeholders and customers to ensure a high impact and knowledge of the project and to adequately transfer demEAUmed results (WP9). Creation of new market opportunities to European industry and SMEs has also been addressed both to the water and tourism sectors (WP10).
According to this general idea, in terms of specific scientific and technological objectives, demEAUmed has been able to:
- separate greywater from wastewater treatment and demonstrate an integrated and optimal water strategy by means of innovative pre-marketable technologies at pilot plant scale;
- reduce the content of standard pollutants, micropollutants and salinity in various effluents;
- maximize the reuse and reduce the water consumption towards a safe close water cycle in Euro-Mediterranean resorts;
- implement an on-line monitoring system for the quantity and quality analysis of different fluxes in the DEMO site;
- provide a Decision Support System (DSS) based on deterministic models that will help the qualified personnel in the selection of best water management alternatives;
- take into account not only water treatment in the most efficient way, but also the minimization of carbon footprint of the whole water treatment system.
demEAUmed project has especially contributed to the aims of the proposed European Innovation Partnership on water for three priority areas (water reuse and recycling, water and wastewater treatment, including recovery of resources and water-energy nexus) and supports two cross-cutting priorities (water governance and Decision support systems and monitoring) selected by the EIP in the Strategic Implementation Plan. It has also addressed smart technology, identified to be of key relevance.

Project Results:
During demEAUmed project lifespan, valuable scientific and technical results for demonstrating the feasibility of implementing safe closed water cycles in Mediterranean touristic facilities have been obtained. The project has tried to tackle this demonstration from a broad perspective, considering the baseline situation of touristic facilities in the area of study, the existing legislation framework, the implementation of innovative technological solutions to overcome the previously detected restrains and to prove the potential of water reuse strategies in these facilities, the monitoring of water streams during the validation stage, the evaluation of the impact generated during the implementation actions, and the integration of all the relevant information generated into a decision support system.
Through an intensive water cycle diagnosis in Euro-Mediterranean touristic resorts and a long-term streams monitoring of the demonstration site of Samba Hotel in Lloret de Mar (Spain), accurate characterization and quantification of the water flows were established for all the Mediterranean region and for the specific case study considered in demEAUmed project. Moreover, a detailed legislation review was done to define the water quality requirements of this type of facilities, matching them with the identified Samba Hotel streams and the technological solutions considered within the project.
The validation of an integrated demonstration site including eight different innovative water treatment solutions led to an important development of these technologies. They were driven from laboratory scale prototypes to be tested in a real case scenario, reaching marketable quality systems once the project has ended in some cases. This possibility of deploying demonstration tests with the different technologies working in an integrated and continuous mode has permitted the validation of several combined treatment strategies which have shown promising performance and robustness.
Environmental and socio-economic assessment for these technologies and combined strategies appraised in demEAUmed have been conducted to demonstrate their benefits compared to current non-closed-loop water Mediterranean resorts.
All the information gathered during the diagnosis and the demonstration stages have been also integrated so as to develop a Decision Support System (DSS) to assess possible hotel water reuse strategies to be implemented in other real case scenarios and to provide a preliminary calculation tool for stakeholders to evaluate how demEAUmed technologies would fit in their facilities.

Water cycle diagnose for Euro-Mediterranean resorts
A representative part of all inlet and outlet waters of Samba Hotel was characterized to get a comprehensive water cycle identification, quantification and characterization. A broad overview of the presence of micropollutants, by use and by season, was performed as well. A set of quality parameters and threshold values/ranges established in the Spanish reuse regulation (or proposed by the demEAUmed consortium as beyond SoA) as well as socio-economic or political parameters were fixed and updated throughout the project.
Water quality requirements for reuse are not defined at the European level, instead having specific national regulation for each country. For the Spanish case, where the demonstration site is located, RD 1620/2007 is the current legislation framework. This regulation states that authorization for irrigation of private gardens and toilet flushing with reclaimed water will only be given if each section up to the point of use is a marked dual circuit. The parameters E. coli and turbidity have to be monitored twice a week, TSS have to be analyzed once a week and helminth’s eggs every two weeks. Legionella spp. has to be analyzed once a month. Regarding other contaminants, the water basin organization will assess the analytical frequency based on the effluent disposal permit and the water reclamation treatment. The Spanish regulation states that if there is a risk of water aerosolization, the conditions of use stipulated on a case-by-case basis by public health authorities must be followed, otherwise, such uses will not be authorized.
Analyzing both historical data and values gathered during the project lifespan, Samba Hotel tap water consumption was estimated to vary between 1,500 and 5,000 m3/month depending on the season. Higher water consumption was observed for the rooms, the kitchen, the swimming pool and the basement.
Main water streams in Samba Hotel were also characterized in terms of quality, making possible their division into six main categories.
• High quality water (i.e. tap, collection tank, swimming pool, rain) was found to have no significant variation during day or week, presenting an absence of microbiological contamination or major micropollutants except for limited presence of ibuprofen, methylparaben, caffeine and a few UV filters.
• Greywater (i.e. shower effluent, sand filters backwash swimming pool water) showed limited daily and weekly variation, medium organic content (COD≈200 mg/L; BOD≈160 mg/L), higher conductivity than tap water, limited solid content (TSS≈50 mg/L), presence of some pharmaceutical compounds (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen), limited presence of EDC’s and some microbiological contamination for the shower effluent.
• Laundry effluent was characterized by its high organic content (up to 1500 mg/L of COD), the presence of limited microbiological contamination (Total Coliforms≈102), some pharmaceutical compounds (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen) and few EDCs (e.g. methylparaben, caffeine).
• Kitchen effluent was found to have high variability in terms of most of the parameters during the day and during the week, a high conductivity, solid and organic content, as well as presence of pharmaceutical compounds (e.g. ibuprofen, acetaminophen) and few EDCs (e.g. methylparaben, caffeine).
• Blackwater stream showed important intermittencies and irregularities in the flow and most parameters, high organic content (COD≈1100 mg/L; BOD≈400 mg/L), presence of several micropollutants (pharmaceutical compounds and EDCs) and absence of microbiological indicators .
• Wastewater stream was found to vary significantly daily and weekly in terms of total flow while maintaining standard values for wastewater in terms of chemical contamination for several parameters. Moreover the presence of several pharmaceutical and EDCs was studied and evaluated.
Most of these uses are currently met in the hotel by means of drinking water. The only exception is the greywater system from room shower water effluent for the toilet flushing in the hotel rooms, highlighting the necessity to foster water reuse in the DEMO site and in general in touristic installations.
The DEMO site water uses listed above were organized in terms of use, with decreasing water quality requirements, in six categories:
• Category 1: Potable water used for human consumption, kitchens and showers/tubs;
• Category 2: Swimming pool;
• Category 3: Aquifer recharge through direct injection;
• Category 4: Irrigation of private gardens and toilet flushing;
• Category 5: Irrigation of golf courses;
• Category 6: Aquifer recharge through localized percolation.

According to these water streams and quality requirements, a general roadmap taking into consideration demEAUmed treatment technologies was developed so as to define the definitive water streams and technologies selected to be tested. Three water streams were chosen for being treated independently due to the qualitative and quantitative variability among them (i.e. greywater, wastewater, swimming pool water).
For the greywater treatment line, four demonstration scale treatment units were implemented: Solar Photoelectro-Fenton (SPEF; LEITAT), Smart Air MBR (ICRA), Plimmer (Idropan) and VertECO Green Walls (Alchemia). For the wastewater treatment line, five technologies were tested: Electrocoagulation-Electroflotation (ECEF; LEITAT), Smart Air MBR (ICRA), Electrochemical Ozonation (Fraunhofer), 172nm UV and adsorption treatment of micropollutants (SICO) and Plimmer (Idropan). Finally, UVOX technology (Wapure & IHE) was tested for treating swimming pool water.
In parallel, a questionnaire to theoretically evaluate other Euro-Mediterranean resorts was designed, translated in several languages and sent to a large database of hotels and institutions. Difficulties regarding the number of survey responses were found during the project execution, leading to the development of two survey campaigns to reach statistically representative data for defining a global roadmap associated with Euro-Mediterranean hotels. Finally, data regarding water sources, consumption, saving strategies and maintenance and infrastructural improvements for 73 hotel facilities was gathered. These hotels were represented by different categories, year of construction and bed capacities. The overall objective was to pinpoint overall patterns and bottlenecks in existing water cycles, comparing the general Euro-Mediterranean baseline with the Samba demo site in order to indentify dissimilarities.
The major water source in these hotels was municipal network (73% of surveyed hotels), regardless of the purpose of water usage. The next most frequent water source was from private wells (17%). It is encouraging to note that the treated wastewater seem to be an accepted water source, albeit in fairly small extent.
With respect to water consumption, water uses were mainly focused on needs other than tap/shower water. In particular, hotels were asked to provide information about presence and capacities of indoors/outdoors pools and spa, as well as other infrastructure consuming large(r) amounts of water, such as laundry services (40% of consulted hotels) or green areas. Most of the pools were of small dimensions and located outdoors (76%) and one third of the hotels participating in the survey had neither pool nor spa. The most common water treatment for pool/spa was rapid sand filtration (25%), generally combined with disinfection carried out by Cl2 gas (30%).
Water consumption monitoring was generally restrained to overall control for the whole facility (65%), being the most common saving strategies the water saving shower (34%), even though 30% of them had no water saving measures implemented. Separation of grey and black water stream was not implemented among most of the hotels consulted.
Innovative water treatment technologies for closed water cycles
In order to close water cycles in touristic resorts and hotels, the capability of efficiently treating the available water streams is a major issue to be considered, defining feasible reuse strategies which take into consideration the facility requirements and the legal constraints. In order to properly assess closing the cycle, demEAUmed project has implemented several water treatment strategies at demonstration scale at Hotel Samba facilities. Three main water treatment lines (i.e. greywater, wastewater, swimming pool water) have been defined, combining the eight available technologies for deploying realistic treatment combinations for each of them and analyzing the synergies and limitations for each case.
Furthermore, an adequate characterization of all eight individual technologies is also necessary. Capital and operational costs, water quality parameters obtained after treatment, influent quality constraints, maintenance requirements and energetic consumption estimations, were taken into consideration.
The accumulation of anthropogenic substances when the water is being recirculated has to be prevented. Several pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors have been proven to accumulate in short water cycles in water scarce regions or single installations like hotel complexes, thus making it necessary to focus on the abatement of micropollutants when analyzing any close water cycle strategy. Therefore, the presence of these concerning trace organic contaminants has been assessed in detail in demEAUmed project.
The main results obtained during demEAUmed project execution for the different technologies and treatment lines is presented here, dividing the technologies depending on which treatment line have been implemented (some technologies have been tested in more than one line). General conclusions for each of the water treatment lines deployed are also included.
Greywater and wastewater treatment technologies
As above mentioned, some technologies were tested for both greywater and wastewater treatment line deployed during demEAUmed demonstration stage, making it possible to evaluate their performance with two substantially different water influents and, therefore, analyzing their adaptability capacities and robustness.
Smart Air MBR
The Smart Air MBR pilot plant has been tested during the project treating both hotel greywater and wastewater confirming that it is an extremely flexible option for decentralized treatment in tourist facilities.
A high removal of the organic content was obtained and of course a complete removal for solid content due to the membrane filtration. In terms of Nitrogen the permeate concentration was limited (on average 5 mgN-NO3/L) for greywater treatment and quite high (on average 30 mgN-NO3/L) in the wastewater treatment line. To be noted that, if required, the extra tank (not used in this project but already present in the demonstration plant) can be used in anoxic condition for denitrification. In the case of demEAUmed project a coupling with other technologies (e.g. Plimmer technology), can guarantee much higher nitrate concentration before reuse, if necessary.
In terms of membrane performance, it was possible to obtain on average 32.6 % of air saving treating hotel greywater thanks to the SmartAir MBR patent. Moreover this energy saving was obtained without significantly affecting the standard parameters removal (as presented before).
In terms of micropollutants it can be concluded that the MBR was highly effective removing endocrine disruptors in both greywater and wastewater treatment. It also removed most of pharmaceutical compounds( 10 out of 18 in greywater and wastewater respectively). Further studies and post-treatment with other technologies (like it has been done in demEAUmed with Solar Photoelectro Fenton, 172 nm-UV or electrochemical ozonation technologies) would be necessary in real water reuse scenario, if required to remove all micropollutants compounds.
Plimmer (Idropan)
Idropan is an established research-based water treatment company which developed Plimmer CDI technology, a new way to remove salts from water using low energy consumption and wasting less possible water.
Plimmer CDI technology works with water going through a double layer capacitor with a low voltage applied to electrodes (1.5V). Salts dissolved in water are adsorbed on capacitors’ electrodes and thus the effluent is almost completely demineralized. The salt removal rate can be adjusted by changing voltage applied to cell. After a short time (about 2 minutes), polarity is reversed and all collected ions are discharged in a low volume of water (20% of total water). Time for regeneration is less than one minute and, after this operation, cell recovers the ability of removing ions from water.
Plimmer technology can be applied on multiple streams as long as required input parameters are fulfilled (max. conductivity= 2000 µS; max. temporary hardness= 500 mg/l as CaCO3; COD < 20 ppm; BOD < 15 ppm; no algae, bacteria and other living bodies; absence of oil, grease or tensides).
In European resorts and hotels, a lot of applications are possible and some of the most promising ones have been investigated in demEAUmed project. The most obvious one is to use Plimmer in order to upgrade feed water quality both for technological and human usages, being able to substantially reduce water hardness, chlorides and sulphates, nitrates and ammonia, arsenic and other heavy metals.
Considering Plimmer characteristics, it can be integrated in combined water treatment combinations for both greywater and wastewater streams, apart from other alternatives not considered in demEAUmed project such as kitchen wastewater, hot water production lines, spas, micronized water outdoor chilling, higher salinity thermal water recovery and heating/cooling closed loop circuit, water recovery from swimming pool filters backwash or cloth washing machine water.
Other possibilities of application may be found in optimizing regeneration cycles of Plimmer, being possible to concentrate nitrogen to an extent of maybe 10X.This will produce a stream of about 10% of the water that could be reused as a nutrient source for agriculture and a residual 90% of extremely good quality.
Within demEAUmed greywater treatment line, Plimmer has been used as a final polisher to increase water quality. Test were performed both using a Smart Air MBR and vertECO technology effluents. Treated water quality was similar for both technologies, with average salt reduction of more than 95%. Results about nitrogen compounds are very interesting because other technologies cannot reach Plimmer performance.
Regarding micropollutants, such as estrone, estradiol, bisphenol or ibuprofen, removal rates accomplished by Plimmer were very close or even better in some cases than advanced oxidation technologies. Therefore, a substance with increasing polarity is accompanied by an improving removal rate.
When tested as a final treatment of the wastewater line of demEAUmed strategy, Plimmer had to deal with much higher conductivities, compared to greywater streams (1500 µS/cm for wastewater against 750 µS/for greywater). Under these conditions, Plimmer was able to produce an outlet conductivity of 250 µS/cm, still a very good value for reuse applications.
A selectivity removal of some ions was also found. Selectivity is depending on ionization of the salts. For example, NO2/NO3-, as most ionized salt, are removed in the best way close to 93-94.5 %. Chlorides, which are somewhat less ionized, are still very well removed at 90%; ammonia, which has a neutral pH and less ionized, is anyhow removed above 82% rates. Phosphates and sulphates, the least ionized of the species analyzed, reach lower removal rates of 47 (for P) and 64% (for SO4).
Considering the coupled strategies tested in demEAUmed, performances of Plimmer CDI in nitrogen removal can suggest that a combination with MBR used mainly for organic removal but, where denitrification is not happening, it can be very well followed by a Plimmer device able to remove Nitrogen group very well.
The main Plimmer advantages compared to more established technologies are the absence of chemical usage during operation, avoidance of subsequent environment pollution; lower energy usage because Plimmer CDI technology does not operate against an energy barrier like competing technology (RO) does (energy footprint estimated in only 15-25% of other competing technologies); lower water wastage compared to competing technology like RO (15-25% of total RO wastage); much bigger recovery potential of concentrate effluent water due to the lack of use of chemicals for operation, making it possible to use it for irrigation or spas.
In overall, Plimmer has demonstrated its strength as a widely applicable technology that is already a valuable alternative to more common applied standard water treatment technologies. Plimmer is a salt removal technology, which is opposite to Reverse Osmosis, which is a water recovery technology. For this reason his lower cost of ownership becomes more and more evident with lower level of salinity or where ions to remove are poisoning.

Greywater treatment technologies
Hotel Samba greywater was treated with four different technologies during demEAUmed project (i.e. VertECO, Smart Air MBR, Solar PhotoElectro-Fenton, Plimmer), two of which were specifically focused on treating this water stream (VertECO and Solar PhotoElectro-Fenton, SPEF). Both of them were tested as primary treatments, studying also the possibility of applying SPEF as a secondary treatment within the greywater line.
VertECO (Alchemia-nova)
Alchemia-nova contributed to demEAUmed with its vertical constructed wetland for the biological treatment of water. The Vertical Ecosystem (vertECO) consists of a living wall that combines the aesthetics and compactness of a typical greenwall with the greywater treating capacity of constructed wetlands. The underlying principle is the use of a subsurface flow constructed wetland, grown indoors in a hydroponic-like manner and in different connected vertical stages with an actively aerated root zone. As a result, a compact ecosystem with its useful ecosystem services can be integrated into buildings or tourist facilities and help recycle and preserve water.
In a laboratory scale vertECO unit of alchemia-nova in Vienna, over 90 plant species were tested. Out of these a special mix of species (16 species) were selected based on their cleansing abilities and suitability for indoor growing and were compiled according to specific requirements. The investigated plant species function in symbiosis with rhizosphere specific microorganisms, providing intrinsic water cleaning abilities. A combination of tropical rainforest plants and European marsh plants also provide an optically pleasing appearance with some of the plants producing appealing flowers throughout the year. The results allowed proper dimensioning, planning and design of the demonstration unit to be built in Lloret de Mar.
In early May 2015, the demonstration site unit was installed. It treats greywater that is taken directly from the shower and lavatory effluents of the hotel guest rooms and fed into the vertical ecosystem. The demonstration site unit has an installed root volume of 2 m3, 4 levels and the structure and plant containers are made of stainless steel. The unit is almost 5 m long and 3 m high and weighs almost 3 tones when fully operational; it is located at the pool-bar area of Hotel Samba under a roof. A wooden fence impedes direct access to the unit by guests and visitors, but otherwise the unit is fully visible to all guests that visit the pool bar area. Some posters informed about the technology, demEAUmed and Hotel Samba. See figure 1.
Long term performance trials showed that vertECO provides a robust water treatment and the unit could handle up to 2 m3 of greywater per day without any loss of quality in the effluent water. Pollution abatement is on the order of 85% to 95% for the most relevant parameters (i.e. turbidity, TOC, COD, BOD, TSS, VSS). The effluent from vertECO is sufficiently clean to be used in various reuse applications which include toilet flushing, laundry washing, watering of green areas & golf-courses, and groundwater recharge. The removal of micropollutants (pharmaceuticals and endocrine disruptors) was also very notable, as many of the analyzed compounds where removed by 95% or more (i.e. progesterone, ibuprofen, salicylic acid, diclofenac).
Salinity, as measured by conductivity levels, was not greatly reduced by vertECO. In this case, there is a good synergy with the Plimmer technology from Idropan, which can treat the effluent from vertECO and produce very pure water with very low salinity content and high re-use quality.
Environmental assessment studies performed during demEAUmed indicate that vertECO has one of the most favorable environmental impacts for the treatment of one unit of water (1 m3) compared to the other technologies. All the water treatment technologies have the tradeoff that they consume energy and some resources (materials) in order to recycle water, so the benefits of the preserved water have to be weighed against the environmental impacts incurred to run the technologies. VertECO consumes about 1.5 kWh-electricity per m3 of treated water. In economic terms, that is about 0.25 € in energy costs to safe about 2.0 € to 3.0 € worth of water. Up to 50% or more of the tap water consumed by a hotel can be saved through vertECO and by reusing the water.
One of the unique characteristics of vertECO compared to the other technologies involved in demEAUmed is the fact that it has visually pleasing aesthetics while also being a technical water treatment technology. For hotels to reap the most benefit of the investment in this technology, it is meant to be displayed visibly for guests and communicate the hotel’s contribution to environmental sustainability. The other technologies, on the other hand, usually are stored away in a cellar-like room hidden away from sight. From this fact the commercial exploitation strategy formulated was to focus on markets with strong touristic industry and periods of pronounced water scarcity during the tourist high season, which is typical of many Mediterranean coastal areas. From these, perhaps Spain is the best entrance market, since it has the best developed regulations and legislation for decentralized water recycling. Particularly, hotels and resorts that present themselves as “green” hotels and have undertaken efforts to receive “eco-friendly”-certifications from various certification bodies could be excellent first targets to adopt the vertECO technology. For the purpose of marketing the vertECO technology, a commercial spin-off, the Blue Carex technologies GmbH, was founded in late 2016.
Solar PhotoElectro-Fenton (SPEF, LEITAT)
Solar PhotoElectro-Fenton process is an advanced electrochemical oxidation process (AEOP) that has been developed for the remediation of wastewaters containing hazardous organics. Its operating principle is based on Fenton reaction, a well known oxidative process where hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is used to degrade contaminants present in water. The H2O2 for this reaction to occur is electrogenerated in an electrochemical cell, where oxygen from air is reduced while the addition of small amounts of ferrous iron used as a catalyst, allow generating hydroxyl radicals with high oxidative potential. The catalyst recuperation is done in situ through a solar radiation treatment.
SPEF unit consists of a pretreatment stage for water pH adjustment; the electrochemical cell, where inlet water and air react to generate H2O2; a reaction tank, where iron is added to promote Fenton’s reaction; a collector parabolic compound (CPC) unit, used for catalyst recuperation and further pollutants degradation; and a pH readjustment system for the treated water to be disposed at adequate pH conditions.
For demEAUmed project, SPEF was selected as a secondary treatment for the greywater line after laboratory scale tests performed with different streams (i.e. shower water, swimming pool water, laundry effluent). Consequently, it was expected to process vertECO and Smart Air MBR effluents for greywater treatment line. This initial roadmap structure foresaw important COD and micropollutants content to be removed by SPEF technology but, due to the good performance shown by both vertECO and MBR, an alternative to also test SPEF as a primary treatment for greywater stream was included. Consequently, SPEF technology has been tested for treating three streams: Samba Hotel greywater, vertECO and Smart Air MBR effluents.
Regarding standard water quality parameters, both COD reduction and disinfection accomplished through SPEF treatment for all three inlet water streams were within the expected ranges. Average COD reduction for greywater treatment was above 40%, obtaining lower values for coupling case studies with vertECO and Smart Air MBR due to the already very low inlet COD values. With respect to disinfection capacity, SPEF was proved to reach adequate microorganism removal rates for all water streams treated, concluding that it is an adequate technological solution to guarantee water disinfection.
Micropollutant abatement through SPEF treatment was found to be extremely efficient, reaching high removal rates both when combined with other technologies and when directly treating greywater. The high oxidative potential of the generated species allowed to efficiently removing persistent compounds which are not eliminated by biological treatments. Elimination rates above 95% were found for key endocrine disruptors and pharmaceutical compounds (e.g. estrone, acetaminophen, bisphenol-A, carbamazepine, caffeine, progesterone, naproxen), demonstrating that SPEF is an efficient technology for micropollutants elimination.
The main advantages of SPEF compared to other AEOPs (Advanced Electrochemical-Oxidation Processes), technologies, including other Fenton-based solutions, are the minimization of chemicals addition by implementing electrogeneration strategies, the proven disinfection of treated water, the high recalcitrant micropollutants abatement, the use of solar light for catalyst recuperation, the great adaptability shown for treating different water pollution charges and flows, and its high autonomy and low maintenance requirements.
The limitation for applying this technology for low polluted streams is related to energetic consumption rates per water volume treated. This issue could be solved in a real water reuse strategy implementation by opening the option for discontinuous SPEF treatment strategies, allowing micropollutant content to increase enough and then activating SPEF unit.

Wastewater treatment technologies
Three technologies have been tested exclusively for wastewater treatment in demEAUmed project. One of them was selected as the primary treatment (ECEF), working with Hotel Samba wastewater after a grinder pump, while the other two were foreseen as refining treatments for reaching specific water quality levels (Electrochemical Ozonation and 172nm UV).
Electrocoagulation-Electroflotation (ECEF) is an electrochemical process used as an alternative to conventional coagulation/flotation processes. In this advanced technology, coagulum agents are generated through the electrochemical oxidation of sacrificial metallic plates used as anodic material. Obtained ferrous and ferric ions precipitate with hydroxide ions, generating coagulum particles which destabilize and adsorb water pollutants by surface complexation and electrostatic attraction. These pollutants, creating sludge current, are removed by electroflotation derived from the produced bubbles of hydrogen gas at the cathode surface.
The ECEF unit consists of an inlet buffer tank; the electrocoagulation-electroflotation cell, where the treatment is performed; a sludge tank, where the sludge generated in the electrochemical cell is disposed; and an outlet buffer tank, where the treated water is stored prior to further treatment, also working as a decanting device in case minor amount of coagula had not been removed by flotation procedure.
ECEF technology was initially tested at laboratory scale with different real wastewater streams and configurations. These initial tests were able to verify its validity as a primary wastewater treatment for the demonstration site at Samba facilities, focusing on eliminating the suspended solids, oils and fats contained in the inlet water while substantially reducing COD and turbidity. Solid size limitations, given by possibility of clogging the cell channels due to the distance between electrodes, were overcome by installing a grinder pump to move wastewater into the wastewater room.
The key parameters evaluated during this demonstration period, COD and turbidity, have reached high elimination rates (above 60% and around 95% respectively), maintaining these reductions even when inlet conditions variations took place. This consistency on adequately treating wastewater in a continuous mode has proved ECEF to be a robust primary treatment technology for wastewater treatment with minor maintenance requirements.
The micropollutants analyses developed did not show any relevant removal rates for any of the endocrine disruptors considered, as it was expected. However, lipophylic pharmaceutical compounds, such as dilitiazem and ofloxacin, were consistently removed by ECEF treatment at removal rates above 70%.
Electrocoagulation-electroflotation technology has demonstrated that it is a robust and efficient alternative to commercial coagulation and electrocoagulation alternatives as a primary wastewater treatment. Its capacity to extract the coagula in a single unit (i.e. the electrochemical cell) provides notable improvements compared to existing commercial alternatives in terms of compactness and autonomy, while reducing the overall energetic and maintenance requirements, as well as eliminating the external chemical products addition to the system.
Electrochemical Ozonation (Fraunhofer)
In demEAUmed project, electrochemical ozonation was first tested in the laboratory with an electrolytic ozone production cell evolving ozone to be fed to the wastewater. Then ozone generation directly in the wastewater by feeding it to a special thin film cell was tested and found to be effective.
This Electrochemical Ozonation technology uses electrodes coated with boron doped diamond (RedOx® Cell by Condias and EUT), which produce an oxygen-ozone mixture with higher ozone concentration than can be achieved with conventional gas discharge ozone generators.
In real wastewater treatment plant effluent, the reference substances carbamazepine (initial concentration 1.1 µg/l) and diclofenac (initial concentration 3.5 µg/l), were removed over 90% at a current input of 0.15 Ah/l, corresponding to a residual ozone concentration of 1mg/l and a reduction of the water parameter chemical oxygen demand of about 15%, a reduction of UV-light absorption at 254nm of about 35%, and an electrical energy input of 1kWh/m³. Residual ozone concentration after the first cell pass ranged between 0.34 and 6.21 mg/l (0.05-0.91 mg ozone/mg TOC) and correlated linearly (R²= 0.97) with the energy input and with the current input (R²= 0.95).
The complete treatment train of water homogenization, sieving, electrocoagulation-electroflotation, membrane bioreactor treatment (Smart Air MBR), electrochemical ozonation and capacitive deionization (Plimmer) was then demonstrated at hotel Samba.
During demonstration, the electrochemical ozonation Red OX® Cell was stable and within the operation range determined in the experiments described above, with unwavering stability of the treatment process.
As the membrane filtration of the MBR removes all particulates and microbes, the feed is particle free and has little organic and microbial load. Ozone production was very homogenous in the sub-sets run on the same feed water. As expected, alkalinity, conductivity, pH and TOC were not significantly influenced by the electro-ozonation treatment. COD was reduced by 30-40% and UV-light absorption at 254nm by 15%. No precipitates were formed and the water parameters total suspended solid and volatile suspended solid stayed below detection limit in all samples. While total nitrogen, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, nitrate and phosphate were unaltered by the treatment, nitrite was reduced by 50-70% (effluent concentration 2-3 mg/l).
No bromate was formed. Its concentration was below 1 mg/l in all samples, likely due to the absence (not measured during the analytical study) of bromine in the water feed. A reduction in microbial load could also be measured. The results were, in general, similar to those of conventional wastewater ozonation.
An automated demonstration unit was designed and built for treating 20l/h of wastewater in continuous mode. The system is scalable by the number of treatment chambers to meet the requirements of different installation sites.
In summary, the Electrochemical Ozonation technology can be a valuable part of integrated water treatment systems in volumes of 1 to 50 cubic meters per day by targeting cleaning agent residuals or pesticides, different pharmacological substances and persistent, non-biodegradable organic pollutants. Its specific advantages are that it does not need oxygen feed line and that it is completely automatable. Furthermore, it needs no additional chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide or catalysts. The technology provides disinfection of the treated water as a side-effect and is independent of UV-absorbance of the feed water.
172 nm UV (SICO)
The 172nmUV system treats industrial wastewater, removing non-biodegradable or harmful substances. Its photo reactors convert up to 1.2 kW of electrical energy to UV-irradiation at a wavelength of 172 nm. These high energetic photons efficiently split water into reactive radicals (e.g. hydroxyl radicals).
This system offers a huge advancement in water treatment by use of Advanced Oxidation Processes AOP, compared with current systems and market standards. In AOP processes, hydroxyl radicals are used to degrade any complex and persistent organic molecules present in the water as contamination, focusing on cleaning agent residuals and pesticides, different pharmacological substances and persistent non biodegradable organic pollutants.
For demEAUmed project, Sico built a complete new compact setup to meet the project requirements, because the original 172nmUV system was simply too big to fit into the wastewater room. One of the most successful improvements was the development of a completely new lamp module, including a new electronic driver, which significantly increased the pilot plant efficiency. Several test runs with different pollutants have been performed.
Hydroxyl radical (·OH) is one of the most powerful oxidizing agents known (E° = +2.7 V in acid solution) and reacts with most organic compounds at diffusion controlled rates. Persistent organic pollutants are oxidized either by direct contact with radicals or by radical propagation reaction pathways; while dissolved atmospheric oxygen functions as electrode acceptor.
Removal tests for key micropollutants were deployed during demEAUmed demonstration stage, obtaining very promising results, as 13 of 18 compounds analyzed were removed above 98% rates.
The main advantages of 172nm UV technology are that it is a chemical-free process (no need to add hydrogen peroxide, ozone or catalysts), its adjustable treatment capacity, its lack of gas exhausts or noticeable smell, the disinfection of the treated water as a side-effect, and the fact that it is independent from feed water salinity, hardness or UV-absorbance.
The main conclusion extracted from demEAUmed tests is that the 172nm UV system would be usable at positions where the pollutants in the influent are known before. In those cases, the 172nmUV system can be parameterized to perform very well and is even able to clean out substances where other systems will fail. It is also possible to use the 172nmUV to remove some side effects (smell, color), without the requirement of a complete treatment.

Swimming pool water treatment technology
UVOX technology developed a long term validation, closing the gap to reach real market implementations once the project has ended.
UVOX (Wapure International GmbH & IHE)
The UVOX technology adopts UV ozone generation and it combines the oxidizing effect of ozone with the disinfecting effect of ultraviolet light. Wapure International GmbH installed a unit of UVOX-2000 to treat the swimming pool water of Hotel Samba. The hotel has an outdoor swimming pool (volume 560 m3) and a semi-separated children’s pool (volume 9.6 m3). During normal operation, the pool water is treated by sand filtration followed by chlorination. UVOX was installed complementary to the existing pool water treatment system.
The goal of the study was to investigate the effect of UVOX on the inactivation of chlorine resistant microorganisms and on disinfection by-products (DBPs) formation.
The results showed that UVOX is very effective in inactivating the common indicator for fecal contamination (E. coli) and it is somewhat effective in inactivating a higher resistance microorganism (B. subtilis spores). Various tests were conducted, and if operated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation, UVOX can considerably improve inactivation of chlorine resistant microorganisms and reduce the dependency on chlorine disinfection.
Regarding by products formation, DBPs were initially measured during the regular use of the pool, without the application of UVOX. It emerged that the concentration of some compounds were higher than the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water (e.g. BDCM, DCAN, MCAA, DCAA, TCAA) and, in some cases, higher than the WHO Guidelines for safe recreational water environments , e.g. chlorate (up to 58 mg/L) that exceeded the limit of 3 mg/L. Hence, sand filters, the most common water treatment applied in the swimming pools, showed not to be an effective barrier against DBPs.
The short-term effect of UVOX on DBPs formation or removal was evaluated, and no further increase or decrease of the DBPs already present in the water could be observed. Particularly, no regulated DBPs (THMs, HAAs, HANs) were generated by UVOX. Finally, the results of long-term experiments suggested that UVOX was able to reduce the formation of TCM and DCAA in chlorinated pools. Additionally, UVOX did contribute to the reduction of combine chlorine.

A broad variety of technologies have been tested during demEAUmed demonstration stage. Each of them is focused on improving different parameters regarding water quality, requiring different utilities, spatial and operating conditions. To this extent, the accomplishment of successfully integrating these technologies, evaluating the synergies among them and their feasibility as combined treatments must be mentioned as a key achievement of demEAUmed project.
Greywater strategies tested at Samba Hotel facilities during demEAUmed project have successfully provided an important number of feasible technological combinations to reach multiple water quality requirements for reuse from real hotel greywater, as well as detailed validation of high TRL (Technology Readiness Level) treatment technologies as efficient solutions for individual water treatment in real case scenarios. Results obtained for the primary treatment technologies in the greywater line (i.e. SmartAir MBR, vertECO, SPEF) were above expectations in output water quality and continuous operation robustness, also for micropollutants. These technologies were able to operate in a continuous mode for long periods of time, generating minimum maintenance issues and proving to be highly developed technological solutions for conditioning greywater streams for reuse. The integration of Plimmer technology provided a high cost-effective alternative for further treating greywater streams which potential reuse would require low conductivity values. Salt removal rates accomplished would assure water availability for certain applications under strict quality requirements.
Wastewater line treatment approach for Hotel Samba facilities was designed so as to establish three possible trains of technologies, conformed by two common units (i.e. ECEF, SmartAir MBR) and three possible tertiary units based on radically different treatment approaches. This structure allowed having a robust basis together with a good comparison among these three tertiary technologies, being able to fulfill different qualities for wastewater reuse. The initial set of two treatments were obliged to consistently provide enough water volumes at minimum required quality to feed the three tertiary treatments tested. ECEF and SmartAir MBR successfully complied with these requirements in a very stable and accurate way (more than 50 days of continuous operation), maintaining very low maintenance requirements. The three tertiary treatment alternatives considered (electro-ozonation, 172nm UV and Plimmer) successfully ran their tests, obtaining major outcomes regarding their capabilities of providing diverse water qualities for reuse, accomplishing some very promising results to that extent. Hence, electro-ozonation was capable of reaching very good micropollutants removal rates with a technological solution which could avoid the addition of oxygen at small to medium scale; 172nm UV substantially evolved their technological solution by clearly defining the prior analytical data requirements and operating conditions depending on the specific type of pollutant to be eliminated; Plimmer was proven to be a feasible marketable solution also for wastewater refining treatment.
Swimming pool water treatment line, conformed by UVOX technology, accomplished a full validation of this technological solution for treating swimming pool water, bringing UVOX closer to being a marketable solution with competitive costs, low maintenance and improved performance when compared to current existing solutions.
Environmental assessment
An environmental assessment of the innovative and integrated technological solution proposed in demEAUmed project has been undertaken by demEAUmed consortium under the leadership of the Sustainability Division of LEITAT.
The methodology applied in the assessment is based on the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), analysing the eight demEAUmed technologies and also the seven combined strategies proposed for the greywater and wastewater treatment scenarios.
Results show that the analysed technologies and combined strategies have achieved important environmental impact savings thanks to the greywater/wastewater recovery and water reuse. Results obtained demonstrate that the environmental impact savings are much higher than the environmental impacts caused in some of the environmental impact categories studied (e.g.: ozone layer depletion, increase of particulate matter, climate change) in VertECO, Plimmer, Electrocoagulation-Flotation, UV-172nm and Electrochemical Ozonation. There are other technologies (Solar Photoelectro Fenton and MBR) where environmental impact savings from water reuse are modest, but also important in some environmental impact categories. For the demEAUmed combined strategies, their carbon footprint is reduced up to 136% (greywater scenario) or up to 62% (wastewater scenario) thanks to water reuse. The results also addresses the main environmental impact contributions of the demEAUmed technologies in the construction stage, operation stage and maintenance stage including energy consumption, chemicals used, transportation and structural materials. In this sense, the main environmental impacts are during the operation stage, because of the energy consumption and the environmental impacts associated to energy production. The maintenance tasks have also important environmental impact contributions due to the replacement of specific equipment or components (electrodes, membranes, sensors) and the use of cleaning agents. Finally, the construction stage has important environmental impact contributions in those technology units with equipment or components manufactured with large amounts of metals (stainless steel, copper) or materials that implies complex manufacturing processes (Teflon and boron doped diamond). To reduce the environmental impacts contributions of demEAUmed technologies, some recommendations are given and evaluated. Also environmental assessment is supported by the prospection of verifying demEAUmed technologies under the EU pilot programme on Environmental Technology Verification (ETV). In any case, it is worth mentioning that each demEAUmed technology and configuration has a targeted objective in terms of water treatment and pollutant abatement. Therefore the selection of one or another configuration to regenerate greywater and/or wastewater in a touristic facility will depend on the greywater/wastewater characteristics and the intended water reuse application. Moreover, it is important to remark that many of these technologies are innovative technologies and pilot scale units, so they are not quite optimized in terms of water treatment capacity, energy and reagents consumption. So, improvement measures and optimizations on demEAUmed technologies could reduce environmental impacts and total economic cost of demEAUmed technologies and demEAUmed strategies. As a conclusion, demEAUmed solution it has proven to be a sustainable option to treat greywater and wastewater from touristic facilities to be reused, in order to diversify the use of water sources and address water scarcity in Mediterranean areas.
Additionally, an analysis of the current water quality and water reuse regulation at European, National and International levels is performed within the demEAUmed project. The analysis concludes that existing barriers to reuse greywater and wastewater have to be solved in order to reduce the environmental impact of current water consumption in Euro-Mediterranean areas.
Monitoring and Control Systems
The monitoring and control tool designed and implemented for demEAUmed is a platform that shows, controls, generates alarms and records the information of the different water values throughout the hotel, introducing the use of industrial data acquisition applications for water management in hotels, providing information about water quality and consumption and using Big Data strategies to improve efficiency and reduce costs in resorts & hotel management.
The physical architecture of the demEAUmed control system is a network of 3 PLC’s (Programmable Logic Controller) which takes the information from the different sources, and a SCADA/HMI used for the acquisition, storage, processing and visualization of the information. The PLC installed in the control room works as master of the network, and the other two PLC, which are installed in the main water areas of the facility (grey water area and waste water area), work as slaves.
The SCADA software is installed in a Server located in the Control room, being the core of the system: it gets the data from the different technologies directly through Ethernet connection or from the PLC network. Users can connect remotely, visualizing the information of the SCADA in real time, being able to control, display and acknowledge current alarms, as well as displaying historical data and alarms, trends and reports.
Twenty one flow meters fed the monitor and control tool with real time water flows. Using this network, it was possible to monitor tap and hot water consumptions and different wastewater flows such as kitchen, greywater, swimming pool, laundry and bar facilities of Samba Hotel.
Apart from water flow data, water quality sensors were installed in order to characterize general pollutant loads. It was decided to purchase a multiparametric aquaTest-Mo unit, capable of measuring temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, redox potential and organic matter. Complementary data regarding streams quality was obtained by the instrumentation included in each of the demonstration scale pilot units.
The demEAUmed monitoring control tool applicability ranges from facilities that require efficient water management, as in the touristic sector, to other sectors such as urban use in small and remote communities dealing with water shortages or commercial buildings market in specific water stressed areas.
The monitoring control tool can also be used in other sectors to improve the efficient management of water thanks to the knowledge, in real time, of the different flows, quality and amounts of water. It can also help to improve and manage other resources as room/areas temperature, electrical consumption, machine information (pumps pressure, flow, boilers temperature, etc.).
Decision Support System (DSS)
A DSS system was developed for integrating the information gathered throughout demEAUmed project regarding hotel water cycle, technological performance and environmental and socio-economic assessment, providing user-friendly tools for decision making processes regarding water reuse strategies in hotel resorts.
Versions for both MATLAB and web environments have been developed, allowing the user to enter hotel characteristic data for intuitively set up the corresponding water matrix, choosing among water treatment technologies for analyzing possible reuse strategies to be implemented. The user then obtains the estimated performance results for the specific strategy tested, including water qualities of the different components streams of the hotel’s water management network and the total amount of water saved.
In order to properly reach these final DSS applications, a better understanding of the hotel water cycle was required. Literature review, questionnaires to Hotel Samba, sampling campaigns, and the information obtained from the monitoring system installed provided more insight on how hotels use water. Results from the literature view show that hotel water use is varied in nature, as it depends on the services located at the hotel, the number of stars, and the climate to a degree. Focusing on Hotel Samba, a similar dynamic was seen. It must also be highlighted that the number of guests and diners do affect the amount of water consumption. Based on these relationships, a preliminary estimate could be made of the amount of water that is used based on the number of guests and diners at the hotel during a certain day.
Several water cycle models were also reviewed, considering different water use estimation strategies and developing some preliminary case studies by applying real Hotel Samba data. This work allowed the selection a water cycle model strategy to be implemented in the DSS developed specifically for demEAUmed project, analyzing its main constraints and possible improvements to be considered.
Once this general evaluation of alternatives had been done, the specific design of the DSS architecture, the implementation of the water cycle model for simulating water flows and quality parameters, the integration of the different water reuse technology modules, and the integration of environmental, economic and social impacts was developed. A testing and validation period of the DSS tool was then done, refining the calculation process and the user interface accessibility.

Potential Impact:
demEAUmed project has successfully promoted a conciliation between socio-economic development and key environmental concerns. The demonstration of innovative water reuse strategies within Euro-Mediterranean touristic sector, a core economic industry for the Mediterranean countries, has allowed to promote more sustainable touristic models based on an optimal management of water as a central resource, especially considering the great drought scarcity pressure of the Mediterranean area. To this extent, demEAUmed water consumption characterization, innovative treatments validation and decision-making tool have helped hotels and resorts sector to visualize a more responsible water use to be implemented at their facilities, demonstrating the technical and economic benefits of an integrated water treatment system for safe and close water cycles.
Considering demonstration site results, a 70% reuse of water generated in standard touristic facilities could be foreseen, reducing up to 50% the requirements of drinking quality water consumption of this. By demonstrating the viability, sustainability and comparative advantages of the closed water cycle in a touristic resort, the project has aimed to set a benchmarking example for other facilities in the Euro-Mediterranean coast and - given the high visibility of the Mediterranean as top tourist destination in the world - to target the global touristic market, consolidating demEAUmed project as a key element to redefine the water reuse framework in the coming years and to provide substantial adaptation capabilities for Mediterranean hotels regarding foreseen climate change affectation.
Therefore, demEAUmed project especially contributes to the aims of the proposed European Innovation Partnership on water for three priority areas (water reuse and recycling, water and wastewater treatment, including recovery of resources and water-energy nexus) and supports two cross-cutting priorities (water governance, DSS and monitoring) selected by the EIP in the Strategic Implementation Plan. It also addresses smart technology, identified to be of key relevance.
Furthermore, the promotion of technological innovation and the implementation of water treatment technologies in new economic sectors and geographical areas have facilitated the insertion of demEAUmed EU water technology providers into new markets, enhancing job creation and promoting local employment for installation and maintenance tasks.
Socio-economic impacts and benefits of the innovative and integrated technological solution proposed in demEAUmed project has been undertaken by demEAUmed consortium under the leadership of the Sustainability Division of LEITAT.
The methodology applied in the assessment is based on the Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and the Social Life Cycle Assessment (S-LCA). The results of the LCC and S-LCA have been obtained and analysed involving the eight demEAUmed technologies and also the seven combined strategies proposed for the greywater and wastewater treatment scenarios.
The overall cost of treating one cubic meter (1m3) of greywater or wastewater by the demEAUmed technologies along their life cycle are being studied. For example, the total cost of treating 1m3 of greywater to be reused by VertECO has been estimated around 0.6-0.65 €/m3.. Here main economic costs are localized in the construction stage, because of the investment associated to the equipment and components of the demEAUmed units. The maintenance tasks have also important economic costs due to the replacement of specific equipment or components and the use of cleaning agents and chemicals. The operation stage has the lowest economic costs. If the economic savings from the reuse of reclaimed water are accounted, the demEAUmed combined strategies can reduce their total economic cost up to 200% (in greywater scenario) or up to 13% (in wastewater scenario).
Main barriers and improvement measures detected during this process are summarized in a Policy Brief document and are compiled in the table: Main barriers and improvement measures.
1) Dissemination activities
In terms of dissemination, the activities deployed during project lifespan assured appropriate actions to gain exposure and increase the legitimacy of the demEAUmed technologies towards wider public. The following target groups were identified as target audience of the project results.
• Large public through the demEAUmed website ( its structure was defined in the deliverable D9.1 “Project Website” and it is considered as major communication tool providing comprehensive introduction on the project objectives, involved partners, and tested technologies.
• At water management expert level, the regular attendance of the relevant project partners to international water-related events ( to present the project objectives and achievements contributes to improve the presence and acknowledgement of demEAUmed. In addition, the press releases about recent project results in specialized newspapers ( are also part of the dissemination strategy at this level.
demEAUmed project mainly aims at promoting closed water cycles. Indeed, water reuse technologies globally suffer either from a lack of public recognition or from a poor image due to water quality issues when the concept was first brought to operation years ago. As reflected into the demEAUmed KMP, the image restoration of closed water cycles needs to be done at different levels within the water management sector:
• At the end-user level, meaning customers who are likely to use and benefit from the technology on a daily basis. In the case of demEAUmed and its specific focus on the tourism sector, they are mainly hotels/resorts owners and managers. These actors are not water management specialists and may not be aware of existing opportunities in water treatment and reuse. Moreover innovative technologies go hand in hand with complex installation, management and maintenance. The deliverable D3.3 “Roadmap for a closed and safe water cycle in Euro Mediterranean resorts” is a guideline dedicated to such market actors toward the implementation of a greener tourism sector.
• At the decision-maker level, meaning technical experts deciding which technology is most suitable for a given infrastructure, according to water flows, quality requirement and on-site constraints. The water treatment domain gathers a large range of solutions that all have their pros and cons depending on a set of parameters and it may be quite complex to select the most efficient and economically viable scenario. Deliverables D8.1 “Library of models developed in WP8” and D8.2 “Report on the scenario analysis” provide relevant data, models and associated scenarios to stakeholders to ease the decision making.
• At the policy-maker level, meaning public institutions either at national or European level that define, negotiate and validate policies that rule the water management sectors. The current and strict regulation on water reuse was identified as a main barrier to the massive development of water treatment systems. The deliverable D9.5 “Policy-makers workshop proceedings” gathers the outputs of discussions between policy experts and recommendations to foster the expansion of the technology all over Europe.
The target audience includes socio-economic actors (e.g. hotels, tourism associations, resorts managers, resort users) in order to develop a network of contacts that may provide the social thinking to the project, get to the end users, as well as influence the future market with demEAUmed products.
demEAUmed stakeholders are not approached in the same rate since some are considered as the main targets and have more priority.
demEAUmed targeted audiences are categorized by priority as:
First: From tourism industry:
- Headquarters of tourism facilities (which are water demanding) such as hotels, spas, resorts, etc., on a national and EU level
- Hotels/tourism associations and travel agencies.

Second: From policy makers:
- European Union programs which are water-, development-, innovation- and tourism-related (e.g. FP7 water INNO&DEMO),
- Governmental authorities at national and local level, which are water- and tourism- related (e.g. ministries of tourism/water/environment/industry),
- Policy-supporting institutions (e.g. DG ENV, DG ENTR, DG RTD, EEA),
- Potential funding programmes.
Third: From scientific community:
- Actors from public and private sectors on water (e.g. WssTP),
- Industries operating or/and managing water and recycling it, including the companies working on the DSS sector, RTD, etc.,
- Networks and think-tanks.
Forth: Medias:
- All; with a specific attention to media related to touristic resorts equipment.
Fifth: The rest of stakeholders.
Dissemination channels are the means used to spread the key messages of a project to the target audience.
Several dissemination channels (indicated in the following with letters and sub-divided into categories) were followed throughout the project by demEAUmed consortium.
A) Participation to Events
All partners envisage participation in dedicated workshops, seminars and conferences at national, EU and international level to present the project, research performed, products developed, industrial applications foreseen, demonstrated production cycles and their applicability and marketability, and also to discuss the needs surfaced for future investigation. The list and type of events was defined in the ECDP, being updated by SEMIDE and the other partners regularly.
Policy workshop
A specific workshop was organized by LEITAT, ICRA and SEMIDE for policy-making stakeholders’ institutions back-to-back with the final conference in order to maximize the impact of dissemination within this group and, consequently, the influence that the outcomes of demEAUmed project could have in future regulations.
Final conference
demEAUmed final conference was held in Barcelona on May 18th 2017. Results, benefits and opportunities of demEAUmed technologies in managing, treating and recycling water were presented by demEAUmed partners and discussed with different experts from the tourism and environmental sectors. Around 50 participants attended the event. D9.5 Policy maker WS proceedings gives more explanation about the event objectives and achievements.

B) Online media
Online media consists of software channels such as:
Websites: demEAUmed website was created by SEMIDE under the domain name ( during the first months of the project. The website contains both public and private areas for information transfer.
The public area, which is dedicated to the external dissemination, contains general information about the project, its objectives as well as the involved partners. It also gives an overview of the demonstration site, and the eight innovative technologies, monitoring tool and the DSS demonstrated in project. In the ‘dissemination’ section presents: the news, related events, the publications, the press-book and the photo gallery.
On the other hand, the private area (which is restricted to the consortium only) allows the partners to share the different documents of the project (e.g. documents of deliverables and WPs, communication materials, photos). Each partner has been provided with a user name and password to access to this section.
Social media:
Facebook page:
A dedicated Facebook page was created for the promotion of demEAUmed project. The link to the page is found on the official website of the project. There is the possibility to share content and pages by email and through social and professional networks as well as to print it, etc.
LinkedIn page
A LinkedIn Group was also created for the promotion of demEAUmed project which is continuously updated with the news of the project.
Electronic platforms (such as the online marketplace of EIP, WISE-RTD or SIPE-RTD, CORDIS).
C) Dissemination materials
All dissemination materials of demEAUmed project follow the EC visibility rules. Some dissemination materials are multilingual (e.g. press releases, videos); in order to create a tailored communication.
Presentations in PowerPoint, PDF or any other form are part of the digital materials for the dissemination activities. This is commonly performed during events and meetings with external and internal stakeholders.
Each partner uses the template of presentations uploaded in the private area of demEAUmed website by SEMIDE. Each participation to an event implies preparing a presentation or brief information and sending it to SEMIDE (before or after the event) together with the agenda, and stakeholders’ business cards or a list of them with their contact data (list of participants).
Articles in different languages have been published through the different media forms (print and online). Partners are requested to check them in advance with SEMIDE and the scientific publication must be published “open access”.
Press releases
Press releases are published in different languages featuring different news and updates of demEAUmed project.
The partner responsible for the organization of a meeting should either provide these press releases to SEMIDE (Dissemination Coordinator) for check and validation, or at least send the whole elements of the event (earlier to the event and after it). The information to be provided should include: the date, the place, the participants (clearly highlight VIP participants if any Minister or Personality) the present stakeholders organizations, and the content (the objective, the focus of the discussions, etc.).
The partner organizing an event is responsible for sending the press release to the local media.
A short video ( was developed during demEAUmed project by SEMIDE. It presents the project and the innovative 8 technologies, monitoring tool and DSS in a simple way altogether with the schemas. It also presents different interviews with the director of hotel samba (representative of the end-users), 1st deputy mayor of Lloret del Mar (representative of the policy makers) and the scientific coordinator of the project Gianluigi Buttiglieri (representative of the scientific community). The video includes different graphics and charts to attract the audience and it has been shown in the final conference and is now featured on the homepage of the website.
D) Printed materials
The brochure of demEAUmed (Figure 3) is a 6-page brochure in English. 4000 copies were printed and distributed in different events. An e-version can be found in the Project website.
Roll ups and posters
Roll ups and posters are good materials to present the project during events. Templates for the posters were made by SEMIDE and available in the partners’ area in the website. demEAUmed consortium has made 17 posters and roll ups which were used in different events including the final event.
demEAUmed Noticeboard
A noticeboard was made by SEMIDE and placed at the hall of Hotel Samba to present the project and create some awareness at the demo site
11 Factsheets about individual technological solutions were prepared for disseminating the technical and demonstration outputs of demEAUmed project (
Three newsletters were published by SEMIDE: one at the middle of the project, the second in April 2017; and a third one for the conclusion of the project in autumn 2017. demEAUmed newsletters were sent through the mailing list, made up mostly of hotel contacts (above 4800 contacts for all of them), and they were created by all the partners under the management of SEMIDE before the final conference.
Policy brief
Recommendations and outcomes of demEAUmed project were presented to integrate the use of the innovative solutions in future policies in view of the Water Blueprint and the anticipated European legislation on water reuse. The policy brief presents in an attractive way the executive summary of deliverable 7.2 “Policy brief on water quality legislation and possible recommendations for existing and future legislations”.
2) Exploitation activities
demEAUmed project studies all technological solutions from an exploitation point of view with the objective to design custom made exploitation plans that ensure the easiest and fastest market penetration for the tested technologies.
1. Three technologies out of nine tested and demonstrated in demEAUmed project were identified as sufficiently mature for advanced marketing or imminent market penetration:
• The VertECO (alchemia-nova)
• The UVOX (Wapure)
• The Plimmer (Idropan)
The Vertical Ecosystem (VertECO) consists of a living wall that combines the aesthetics and compactness of a typical living wall with the greywater treating capacity of constructed wetlands. The underlying principle is the use of a constructed wetland indoors, grown in a hydroponic-like manner and in different connected vertical stages and with an actively aerated root zone. A special set of plant species have been selected based on their cleansing abilities and suitability for indoor growing and assembled in a special sequence. The investigated plant species function in symbiosis with rhizosphere specific microorganisms providing intrinsic water cleaning abilities.
The main benefits of the technology are the following:
• Water savings up to 50% for defined greywater flow
• No chemicals or consumables necessary
• Easy maintenance
• Low energy consumption (less than 2 kWh/m3)
• Highly decorative element for interior and exterior design
• Clear image of sustainability and corporate green policy transmitted to guests and visitors
• Modular and scalable for different needs
• Some microclimatic benefits
The UVOX technology (Wapure International) is a chemical-free process that combines the disinfecting effect of UV-lights with the oxidizing effect of ozone that initiates a highly effective advanced oxidation process (AOP) in one single system. The system breaks down chloramines and thus minimizes all negative side-effects of chlorine usually felt by swimmers (reddened eyes, skin-irritations, allergies, unpleasant smell). Consequently, it offers a true wellness experience through natural, non-chemical and ecological treatment of pool water.
The main benefits of the technology are the following:
• Very efficient triple disinfecting process (ozone, UV-Disinfection and advanced oxidation)
• 100% chemical free disinfecting process
• No handling of hazardous or chemical products
• No side effect on bodies (reddened eyes, skin-irritations, allergies, unpleasant smell)
• Natural and environmental-friendly solution
• An average ROI of 2.8 years
Plimmer (Idropan) is a water treatment system that treats ground/surface water (well / river water) or other pre-treated waters (municipal water) to drinkable standards. The technology is a non-membrane technology where the ions are attracted to a pair of electrodes as water flows. The process deionizes water by applying electrical potential difference over two porous carbon electrodes.
The main benefits of the technology are the following:
• Eco-friendly treatment process: citric acid is an organic acid extracted from lemon trees
• Low carbon footprint: 30% less energy required to desalinate water
• Improved water footprint: 80% - 90% of fresh water recovered
• Automatic operation
2. Within the demEAUmed project four technologies were developed by non-commercial organisations, namely LEITAT and ICRA. Out of these four, three were identified as sufficiently mature for an imminent market penetration:
• The Decision Support System (ICRA)
• The Smart Air MBR (ICRA)
Electrocoagulation-electroflotation (ECEF) is an electrochemical process used as an alternative to conventional coagulation/flotation technologies by chemicals addition. In ECEF flocs containing the eliminated contaminants are dragged by an electro-flotation process derived from the gas bubbles (O2, H2) generated at the electrodes’ surface, coupling both processes in one compact modular device.
The main benefits of the technology are the following:
• Compact compared to similar primary systems
• Modularity, easily adaptable to a broad range of treatment capacities.
• No additional chemical products needed
• No air injection needed for the flotation stage
• Easy maintenance (regular cleaning, electrode replacement)
Membrane bioreactors (MBR) are a consolidated technology for biological treatment of industrial and municipal wastewater. They guarantee high water quality which has led to a growing demand for this technology, especially in areas where water is scarce and its reuse must be prioritized. Smart Air MBR® is the innovative product on the market that effectively reduces the energy costs associated with MBR air-scour use according to the online monitoring of permeability and places it in an excellent competitive position.
During the demonstration period it was proven that the technology brings a number of important benefits listed below and which were set up as a basis for negotiations with interested users/integrators of the technology:
• On average 35.2% energy consumption reduction of the air scour in the MBR treating greywater
• Savings up to 35% of the cost of membrane aeration
• Reliable control of membrane fouling parameters evolution without affecting biological process parameters
• Optimization on the frequency of maintenance cleanings
• Stabilization of the biological nutrient removal, maintaining or improving the quality of the effluent, in comparison with existing control systems
• Extension of membrane life
• Adaptation to any membrane configuration
demEAUmed Decision Support System (DSS) defines best water management options in touristic facilities taking into account the considered water treatment solutions. It evaluates different scenarios of water sources, water/wastewater quality, demands and changes in the environmental conditions to define the best management alternatives for each scenario.
The main benefits of the technology are the following ones:
• Estimation of theoretical water savings
• Estimation of output water quality
• Adaptable to all types of hotel (easy and precise customisation of the hotel)
• Open to new water treatment technologies
3. Three technologies out of nine did not reach the critical maturity for launching a detailed assessment and drafting individual recommendations for an imminent market uptake:
• The Electrochemical Ozonation Technology (EUT and FRAUNHOFER)
• The 172nm UV treatment (SICO and FRAUNHOFER)
However, the further development of a technology can also be considered as exploitation opportunities, whether it is on technical or business aspects. Consideration of new collaborative or privately funded projects and/or looking for strategic commercial partnerships via different type of clusters is the options to be considered by the technology owners.
The methodology applied to draft the Exploitation, Business and Knowledge Management Plans encouraged individual approach to take into consideration both technological and strategic and marketing differences among the demEAUmed technologies. This conclusion provides two general and high level recommendations for future entry into market or reinforcing position on existing markets.
For new entry-to-market - focus on your core market at first
The water treatment market is very broad. It gathers different types of stakeholders (public bodies, SMEs, large firms, private customers, etc.), concerns all continents and countries, impacts a large majority of existing sectors (industry, health, tourism, etc.) and covers an important number of potential applications (irrigation, industrial processes, drinking water, etc.). In parallel, there are a lot of emerging water reuse solutions based on different technologies that offer diverse advantages and faces diverse barriers.
Each demEAUmed technology has its own primary market meaning potential customers that benefit most from the specific advantages of the technology. Such primary market is characterized by a well-defined customer segment and an associated value proposition. This situation was also the main barrier to an integrated strategy for different technology solutions. The demEAUmed project has shown that a technological complementarity is not enough to ensure a feasible partnership on the real market. The collaborative efforts in different forms (discussions, visualizing, budgeting, etc.) and joint testing campaigns reinforced the idea that a market entry strategy exclusively focused on the primary market for each technology seems to be the most efficient and acceptable for the partners.
Finally, the communication strategy has to be constantly reconsidered and updated to better address potential customers. Regularly repeating the same sales pitches to the customers is one of the most efficient ways to improve the understanding of the objectives of the technology. As the pitches differ from one customer segment to another, a focused approach may be more efficient when dealing with limited commercial resources.
For all technologies, strongly insist on non-economic benefits
The ‘low-cost’ approach is a recurrent argument brought forward to characterize the most – if not all - demEAUmed technologies. This key word carries the idea that a relatively low investment can generate savings over time through a significant reduction in water consumption. Although water savings are undeniable, economic savings may be more questionable and using the financial related arguments shall be carefully handled during commercial campaigns.
First, all economic savings are defined by comparing the water reuse scenario to a baseline scenario, usually based on the use of tap water. Current low water prices in most of the EU countries make the competition difficult and tend to cause a long return on investment (ROI) for innovative reuse and recycling technologies. Secondly and even if demEAUmed technologies offer an interesting ROI, potential customers can easily question the ROI estimation due to insufficient commercial references.
On the other hand, a number of demEAUmed solutions represent a set of significant and proven non-economic advantages when compared to conventional water supply technologies. Environmental and health benefits can be more emphasized to reinforce the sustainability perception of the solutions. A few examples that support such statement:
• Water savings help preserving scarce freshwater resources assuring the vital human needs.
• Water treatment, reuse of water with advanced on-site monitoring allows a better consideration of local pollutants and prevent from an excessive uses of various chemicals. It guarantees a high water quality while reducing the risk of illness due to water intoxication.
• Low energy consumption systems produce less greenhouse gases emissions than conventional ones, preserving local ecosystems and biodiversity.
These arguments are expected to impact everyday more customers’ decisions as sustainability is increasingly taken into account in investments, whether they are from citizens or businesses. The main reason lies on the growing public awareness of environmental issues. Therefore, citizens, businesses or organizations that highly recognize and appreciate environmental benefits shall be identified as early adopters.

List of Websites:

Scientific Management Gianluigi Buttiglieri PhD - ICRA
Girona, Spain
Phone: (+34) 972 18 33 80

Administrative Management Javier Casellas - LEITAT
Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain
Phone: (+34) 93 788 23 00

Dissemination Management Eric Mino - SEMIDE / EMWIS
Sophia Antipolis, France
Phone: +33 4 92 94 22 90