Aqualia’s water production is 20% more efficient with CLEAR membranes

To make municipal drinking water treatment more energy efficient, we have joined forces with Aqualia, the fourth-largest water management company in Europe. With positive results from six pilots and small commercial plants across Spain, our companies are now deciding how Aquaporin will continue to support Aqualia on their mission to serve no less than 43.5 million people with clean water.

Improving performance in municipal water treatment

In their constant drive for improved performance, Aqualia turned to Aquaporin’s CLEAR membranes to increase their energy efficiency while combating problematic contaminants such as fluoride, nitrate, and sulfate. As an example, one pilot treats well water to reduce high concentrations of nitrate and comply with the Spanish drinking water directives. CLEAR membranes were piloted to produce over 4 m³/h of permeate water, and results show that they enable a 20% higher permeate flow rate compared to the currently used membranes, while still rejecting nitrate effectively and meeting permeate quality requirements, thereby reducing the municipality’s energy consumption.

In another Spanish municipality, CLEAR membranes were installed as part of the local water treatment plant's facility upgrade. The plant operates a brackish water reverse osmosis system treating well water to supply safe and high-quality drinking water to residents. Installing CLEAR membranes enabled the plant to operate with 13% lower feed pressure, while also achieving a better contaminant rejection rate compared to the replaced membranes. In sum, the water treatment plant has been able to better fulfil the local drinking water requirements while reducing operating costs. Download the full technical case here.

Our long-term collaboration with Aquaporin was initiated at an early stage and has evolved into the commercial CLEAR membranes. Our pioneer validation studies have led to promising results that have reached the market, providing safe drinking water in a sustainable manner. We have experienced a significant reduction of energy consumption compared to state-of-the-art membranes and high-quality water, resulting in equivalent benefits for our clients.

Victor Manuel Monsalvo Garcia
Head of Eco-efficiency, Innovation and Technology

Aqualia and Aquaporin collaborate within the framework of the EU project REWAISE with the aim of creating a smart water ecosystem to secure sufficient water supplies in the future. To achieve this purpose, Aqualia is using Aquaporin’s CLEAR membranes, and at conferences across Europe, our companies have promoted and presented the positive results we have achieved together in our pilot projects.

Meet permeate quality requirements with lower energy consumption

Water demand is growing across the globe. Municipalities are under pressure. The search for energy efficiency is pervasive. Not least in water treatment. And the reason is clear: Reducing the energy use of reverse osmosis systems allows for water treatment and pure water production to be more energy efficient while minimizing carbon footprint and protecting water treatment plants from energy price fluctuations and supply shortages. However, reducing energy consumption while maintaining permeate quality is a delicate balancing act.

With our energy-efficient biomimetic CLEAR membranes, the balance will be intact. Utilizing biomimicry, advanced membrane chemistry, and smart element design, CLEAR membranes are the ideal choice to optimize municipal water treatment systems, as they bring:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Stable operation
  • High permeate quality

Innovating together                                                                              

Innovation is on everybody’s mind. An abundance of companies describes themselves as innovative. To a point where the word innovation has in many ways been worn down. So, how do you spot it when someone actually takes innovation seriously and doesn’t just use it as a sales point?

To Aquaporin, there was no doubt when Aqualia reached out to us in 2016. They had read about this “cool technology”, and they were looking for new products to test and a partner that does things differently. We saw the vision match instantly – and Aqualia’s first-mover spirit and genuine desire to be an innovative player in the water industry was unmistakable. In the spirit of our open innovation philosophy, we were hooked. Also because Aqualia is a world-renowned player in the water industry and we are aware it takes more than one company to make a difference. So, we listened to them and responded. And now, seven years later, we are switching from a collaboration based purely on R&D to investigating and evaluating products for commercial opportunities.

With a sack full of successful results and valid references, we are preparing for the next steps of our joint journey. A long list of opportunities has been made, and together with a technical working group, we are now in the process of deciding our next chapter. Where it will take us is still unknown, but one thing is certain: We are expanding our collaboration from focusing purely on municipal drinking water applications to water reuse, containerized solutions, industrial wastewater, water reclamation, desalination, and much more.

Published on December 2023 in