Over the past decades, the application of membranes to water treatment (i.e. sanitation, desalination, decontamination…) has grown steadily. Membranes offer high selectivity to filter certain compounds, do not need a large surface area, and a reasonable cost in comparison with other treatment technologies. Nevertheless, research work is still needed to address fouling and clogging phenomena, to increase energy efficiency, to define new configurations, to implement control and automation systems, or to develop emergent processes such as forward osmosis.
The workshop “Membranes for water treatment and reuse” held in Girona on June 15th tackled all these topics from a multidisciplinary and multisectorial perspective. Not only several research projects and case studies were presented, but also a fruitful and intensive discussion on the main motivations and constraints for implementing membrane water systems was created. Organized by LEQUIA research group of University of Girona (UdG), the event brought together more than 70 attendants from business, public administration and academia from Spain and France.
Drinking water, wastewater and water reuse
The workshop was opened by Dr Jordi Freixenet, UdG vice-rector or research, and by UdG professors Dr Joaquim Comas and Dr Ignasi Rodriguez-Roda, who highlighted the relevance of technology transfer for university research.
Presentations were grouped into three sessions devoted to drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment and water reuse, plus one session of “elevator” presentations (5 minutes), where membrane manufacturers and users could present new development or case studies in a dynamic and interactive way.
Speakers included researchers from universities and research institutes (H. Monclús, G. Blandin and N. Atanasova, LEQUIA-UdG; R. García Pacheco, IMDEA Agua; and F. Zaviska, Université de Montpellier); technology providers (J. Gabarró, TELWESA); membrane manufacturers (I. Duchemin y O. Lorain, Polymem); and membrane users (P. Emiliano y F. Valero, ATLL).
Projects SSAMBRA and OMBReuse
The workshop was also an excellent opportunity to disseminate the results of projects SSAMBRA and OMBReuse funded by ACCIÓ TECNIOSPRING programme. Project SSAMBRA seeks to expand the applications of air scour automatic system Smart Air MBR® for membrane bioreactors, and has been carried out by the University of Girona and French membrane manufacturer Polymem. Project OMBReuse, by contrast, has as main goal the optimization of osmotic membrane bioreactors (OMBR) in a reuse scheme that complies with current drinking water standards, and has been developed entirely at UdG LEQUIA research group.
Once again, Girona turned into a leading meeting point for all stakeholders involved in water treatment and management.