28. 6. -29. 6. 2022
Visit of the manufacturing progress of the LIFE Hidaqua prototype and EURECAT
In the last 30 years, the intensity of dry periods in Europe has increased drastically. According to the latest data from the European Drought Observatory, many Central and Northern European countries and almost the entire Mediterranean area are currently struggling with water shortages. The Slovenian coast area, which already depends on the import of water from Croatian Istria, is threatened by a reduction in the supply of water to consumers, which will have negative consequences for the economy, especially for companies that use large amounts of water in their production and will be forced to limit or even stop their activities.
The LIFE HIDAQUA project offers integrated sustainable solutions for mitigating the consequences of water scarcity by providing sufficient amounts of water for the needs of industry by exploiting alternative sources of water - industrial waste water, brackish water and rainwater.
In an international consortium of partners from Slovenia (ZAG, HIDRIA, JSI, Geologija Idrija) and Spain (research institute EURECAT, engineering company HIDROQUIMIA), we have developed an advanced prototype system within the project, in which water will be purified from three alternative sources simultaneously, up to quality , which is required in the production processes of the company HIDRIA. This will cover more than a third of the company's water needs and prevent possible production shutdowns due to water shortages. The prototype will make it possible to clean the entire amount of industrial wastewater produced in the Koper business units of HIDRIA, which will reduce the load on the urban wastewater treatment plant in Koper and prevent the emission of difficult-to-degrade pollutants into the environment. This is important from the point of view of maintaining a good ecological and chemical state of the Adriatic Sea.
The LIFE HIDAQUA prototype system is currently in the manufacturing phase. The project partners went to see the progress and examined all the details of the system's individual components at the manufacturer, the Catalan company Protecmed.
On 29th of June, a detailed presentation of the plans and operation of the prototype system was prepared by representatives of Protecmed and Hidroquimia. This was followed by a review of the components and the system in the current stage of production. The characteristics and modes of operation of individual phases of the cleaning system were shown. According to the manufacturer's information, the system will be installed at the location of the HDRIA company in Koper in the fall of 2022. Then there will be a period of optimizing the operation of the mechanical components and the cleaning process, and the company will be able to start extracting water with the help of the prototype system, probably before the summer of 2023.
On June 29, Slovenian partners visited Catalan institute EURECAT - The Technology Center of Catalonia, which is one of the largest research and development institutes in Spain that work on the topic of materials research and sustainable approaches and technologies. As part of the meeting, we visited the laboratories and some advanced prototype systems for water purification and waste recycling that are being developed by the institute. We also outlined possible directions for further more in-depth cooperation and application of new projects.