Are you a membrane user or end-of-life membrane manager? Would you like to avoid the landfill disposal of thousands of tons of membranes every year?

Published On: June 29, 2018

Help us to find alternatives

IMDEA Water Geomatic Lab and Researchers from this institution and from LEQUIA Group (University of Girona) have launched a free online tool “Web Mapping”, offering a global overview of alternative management to membrane landfill disposal.

According to the International Desalination Association (IDA), more than 18,400 desalination plants are installed Globally in more than 150 countries. Among the totally installed desalination capacity (86.8 Hm3/day), over 66% is based on reverse osmosis (RO) technology (which let obtain fresh water from many water resources). During the last decades, great research efforts have been done to improve this technology. Generally, the investigation is focus on i) how to reduce energy consumption, ii) how to sustainable manage brines and iii) how to prologue the membrane lifespan. However, who is interested on end-of-life membrane management?

Annual replacement, together with the continuous growth of RO technology, is creating a nonstop accumulation of end-of-life modules. Some estimates pointed that in Spain (i.e., fourth country worldwide in production capacity of desalinated water) more than 80,000 end-of-life membranes (equivalent to more than 1,000 ton) are annually disposed in landfill. At worldwide scale, estimation shows that more than 800,000 end-of-life modules (or more than 14,000 ton) are discarded every year. According to the 2008/98/EC Directive, landfill disposing is the last preferable option of waste managing (in decrescent order: prevention, reuse, recycling, energy recovery and lastly landfill disposal).

Are you going to replace membranes? Would you like to do something different? What alternative do you have?

IMDEA Water Geomatic Lab together with IMDEA Water membrane group and LEQUIA (University of Girona) have created a Web Mapping tool related to the alternatives management of membrane disposal. This free online tool aims to show an overview of current global alternatives, such as who is investigating (private and public institutions), what they are investigating (reuse, recycling, energy recovery), at what level (laboratory, pilot and large-scale activities) and what are the main results. Go to Web Mapping and help us update it if you know more experiences.

“While we were conducting the Life-Transfomem (LIFE13 ENV/ES/00751) project, we realized that around 20 projects (within the las 16 years) were focus on this topic. We found laboratory studies (mostly focus on membrane recycling), pilot scale (during the last 6 years 6 European projects within Horizon 2020 and Life program have been granted), and even 3 cases of full scale application (2 American companies and 1 German company)” affirms one of the researchers. “Till now all this kind of information was disperse. The Web Mapping gives us the opportunity to centralize the information and to upgrade it periodically. By the way, at industrial level and according this data, there is no alternative management unless you were in EE.UU or Germany”, specifies.  

Life-Transfomem project with contract number LIFE13 ENV/ES/000751 was co-funding by European Community (LIFE+) and by IMDEA Water (coordinator), Valoriza Agua and Sadyt.

How can cooperate?

Help us to improve the sustainability of membranes by filling out this online survey!

It will take 5 minutes!! Click here if you prefer the Spanish version

If you are a person linked with water treatment world (seawater, brackish water, wastewater, industrial water, process..) that uses membrane technology (reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, electrodialysis..) and you have information related to end-of-life membrane, please let us know. Researchers and waste manager are also welcome back.    

Most of the cases are related to reverse osmosis membranes. However one of the objectives of Mem2.0 TecnioSpring+project (TECSPR17-1-0019) is to upgrade this information with other kind of membranes. TECNIOSpring+ grant is co-funded by ACCIÓ and the European Union under Marie Sklodowska Curie grant. 

How does it benefit me to collaborate?

If you provide us information or you contact us ( or we can include you information into the web mapping helping you to disseminate your main results.

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