A second life for discarded membranes used in desalination plants
IMDEA Water of the Community of Madrid leads the INREMEM 2.0 project, providing a second life to the membranes discarded from desalination plants, therefore contributing to a Circular Economy. It is estimated that more than 80,000 membranes end up in landfills in Spain every year.
Spain is one of the largest reverse osmosis membrane users in Europe as leader of the desalination processes. Once membranes used in desalination plants reach the end of their useful life, they can be recycled to treat wastewater, especially high saline wastewater.
The INREMEM 2.0 project, in collaboration with the University Complutense of Madrid, focuses on the combination of different hybrid systems based on these membranes. In addition, the recovery of valuable compounds from wastewater, such as the water itself, nutrients, and other salts. For this reason, research is key to contribute to a circular economy, both nationally and internationally, aimed at reducing waste and making the most of those products already generated – the membranes, in this case.
The objective and first results of this project are aligned with the European Union and its commitment to create a recycling society, which focuses its efforts on creating alternative management routes for reverse osmosis filtration membranes once they are discarded.