A tool will be developed to provide real-time information on the functional and structural state of each reverse osmosis (RO) membrane. Thanks to this information, predictive operation and maintenance strategies will be developed with the aim of reducing the number and duration of shutdowns, extending the working life of the membranes, and reducing energy consumption. The POIROT project is a step further in the commitment by ACCIONA and NAITEC to digital innovation, through the development of a unique solution that combines the concept of the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems and artificial intelligence applied to the field of desalination.
ACCIONA and NAITEC have been working on the POIROT project since 2021. It is an initiative to optimize the performance of desalination plants that use reverse osmosis (RO) technology by applying Industry 4.0 technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cyber-physical systems and artificial intelligence to the field of desalination.
The project sets out to develop a decision-making support tool for the operation of desalination plants. The tool will be based on predictive criteria and will assist the strategic decision-making process for the rotation or replacement of membranes, ensuring their optimal operation for as long as possible.
The solution consists of a physical device that compiles data in real time and feeds modelling software. The information accumulated will enable the early detection of elements that may be damaged. This avoids the need for manual supervision of the membranes, minimizing the need for the number and duration of shutdowns and providing a better service generally.
The POIROT project is a part of ACCIONA’s strategic line of innovation that is based on its ecosystem of open innovation that aims at the development of a range of water quality monitoring tools. The POIROT project ratifies ACCIONA’s commitment to the use of smart technologies in the field of desalination in the water cycle in general, as well as to the sustainable development goals. NAITEC’s contribution is in the area of digitization and sensorization as part of its mission as a technology centre.
ACCIONA, a leader in desalination
More than 300 million people get their daily drinking water supplies from 18,000+ desalination plants worldwide, according to the International Desalination Association (IDA). The current context of water shortages makes desalination plants critical infrastructures in ensuring access to drinking water in many parts of the world.
ACCIONA is a world leader in the field of desalination by reverse osmosis, the most widely used process at present. With an installed capacity of 5.5 million m3/day, the plants operated by ACCIONA supply 28 million people on the five continents every day.
To do this, ACCIONA manages around 500,000 reverse osmosis membranes per day. They are the key elements in the desalination by RO process because their good working order and correct operation have a direct impact on the quality of the water produced and on the associated energy consumption.
During the normal operation of the desalination plant, the integrity of the RO membranes may be compromised by a number of factors; these lead to higher conductivity of the water produced, a worsening of the parameters that make it available for human consumption or use for agricultural or industrial purposes.
Optimizing the operation of these membranes is the ultimate aim of the POIROT project, which has a budget of €410,000 € and is financed by the European Union through the Next Generation EU/PRTR funds and by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation through the State Research Agency (MCIN/AEI/10.13039/501100011033).
NAITEC, a reference company in digitization and sensorization of processes
NAITEC is Navarra’s technology centre for the automotive and mechatronic sectors. It aims to generate business opportunities for its clients by providing them with technological solutions to improve the efficiency, functionality and sustainability of their products and processes.
The centre is a private foundation set up by the Government of Navarra and the Universidad Pública de Navarra (UPNA).
In addition to these two institutions, its Board is made up of SODENA, the technology corporation ADItech, Acciona, Ingeteam, Viscofan, Grupo Meper, Laboral Kutxa, KYB, Dana, Volkswagen Navarra, Grupo Antolín, Entecnia and Integralia.
NAITEC sets out to contribute innovative solutions that care for the environment through the generation and transfer of differential knowledge aimed at the global market. Its solutions take the form of four business units: mobility, mechatronics, technology services and new businesses.