The European project LIFE PHOENIX is leading cutting-edge R&D research into the elimination of microplastics and the regeneration of wastewater for agricultural use
The LIFE PHOENIX consortium, led by Aqualia and with the participation of CETIM, is made up of 8 partners from Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. Based on low energy consumption technologies, the aim of the project is to obtain reclaimed water from WWTPs of any size and to achieve qualities that allow reuse with full guarantees. Several demonstration plants integrated in sea containers will tour WWTPs in the Iberian Peninsula to test the viability of the selected technologies.
International experts in wastewater reuse met this morning at the first workshop of the European research project LIFE PHOENIX. During the professional event, held in A Coruña with about 130 registered attendees, different aspects related to the regeneration and reuse of wastewater for agriculture such as the new European legislation or innovative technologies were addressed, complemented with practical examples of success stories.
In addition to the heads of CETIM and Aqualia, the project leader, the speakers included experts in techniques and technologies for water reuse from the industrial sector and industrial research, such as the Plataforma Solar de Almería, the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the University of Barcelona; from the companies Repsol, Entrepinares and the Dutch company Waterschap Vallei en Veluwe, and from the public sector, such as the Sanitation and Purification Entity (ESAMUR) of Murcia.
Specifically, this is a European project that addresses the issue of urban wastewater reuse for irrigation in a European and Spanish environment, where water stress is increasingly becoming an urgent problem, including areas of Galicia, especially in the provinces of Ourense and Pontevedra. The research will also address the growing threat posed by emerging pollutants and microplastics in waters.
LIFE PHOENIX is co-funded by the European Union, within the LIFE programme. It started in 2020, and will end in 2024, with partners from Spain, Portugal and the Netherlands. Specifically, the international consortium, of which CETIM is part, is made up of 8 entities under the leadership of Aqualia: two international Águas de Portugal and the Dutch company MicroLAN; national companies such as Newland EnTech; and Spanish public entities such as the University of Almeria, the Provincial Council of Almeria and the Hydrographic Confederation of the Guadalquivir (CHG).
More demanding legal context
Its objectives are set in a context marked by the need to respond to the tightening, by the European Union, of the legal requirements for the reuse of wastewater for agricultural purposes with respect to the current national regulations (RD 1620/2007) through the future implementation of the new Regulation 2020/741.
Faced with this need, the LIFE PHOENIX consortium seeks to convert wastewater into a high-value element for reuse in agricultural irrigation in a safe and efficient way, in accordance with the requirements of the new regulation, which are more restrictive than the current regime, thus anticipating its entry into force within two years’ time.
All the members of the consortium are working together to use low-energy technologies to obtain regenerated water from WWTPs of any size and to achieve qualities that will allow it to be reused with full guarantees by the agricultural sector. Consequently, it is also expected to obtain a 50% reduction in associated C02 emissions.
Among other visible results, within the four years of research and to demonstrate the feasibility of the selected technologies, several itinerant demonstration plants integrated in sea containers will be designed and built. These facilities will be tested in several locations throughout the Iberian Peninsula, including the WWTPs of El Toyo (Almeria), Almonte (Huelva), Talavera de la Reina (Toledo) and Fonte Quente (Abrantes, Portugal).
CETIM en LIFE PHOENIX
CETIM’s role in the LIFE PHOENIX project includes both a technical part and actions related to the monitoring of the success of the project and its dissemination. Firstly, the technology centre will apply its experience in the design and construction of an UCV-LED disinfection unit and a nutrient recovery unit with zeolites.
It will also be responsible, as part of the technical actions, for analysing ecotoxicity, antibiotic-resistant bacteria and microplastics both in the initial wastewater characterisation phase and at the time of validation of the demonstration plants.
CETIM also leads the monitoring of the impact of the project on the environment and socio-economic level and the dissemination of the results achieved.