#10 | LIFE CONQUER solution: how does it work?

By Adriana Romero (Cetaqua)

The LIFE CONQUER solution is an alternative to conventional water reclamation trains that allows to produce reclaimed water at the same time that valorize the brines generated. For the reuse of water contaminated with salinity and nitrates, the LIFE CONQUER solution is a cost-effective process that recovers nitrates with the reclaimed water, while producing sodium hypochlorite from brines.

The whole process has been designed under the LIFE CONQUER project, and it consists of three units:

  • N-rich reclaimed water production unit
  • Brine concentration unit
  • Hypochlorite production unit.

N-rich water unit consists of a nanofiltration (NF) step with 2 membrane stages, controlled by a novel Smart NF digital tool that predicts water profiles of the membranes with an accuracy higher than 90%, optimizing the production of N-rich reclaimed water from contaminated water in terms of quality, flowrate and costs. The rejected stream of this unit, which contains the rejected salts and other ions, enters the brine concentration unit, where a cation exchange adsorption column with resin, a nanofiltration membrane and a reverse osmosis membrane (RO) allow to remove calcium and magnesium, remove sulfates and concentrate sodium and chloride, respectively. Last, the concentrated brine with sodium and chloride enters the sodium hypochlorite production unit. An electrochlorination reactor (EC) transforms the salts into hypochlorite which will be used as a disinfectant in several WWTPs. The innovative reactor is based on a 3D design that enhances the efficiency by reducing the reactor volume while maintaining hypochlorite production, compared to commercial 2D electrochlorinators.

CONQUER solution scheme integrated in Murcia City.

Circular economy applies in LIFE CONQUER solution through the production of N-rich reclaimed water for urban irrigation, and through the production of hypochlorite for WWTPs, but it goes further, as all the secondary streams are integrated and valorized too. Thus, the valorization of Ca, Mg, SO4, PO4 and other ions will be studied, as they are key compounds in the chemical industry, while the permeated water from RO, which is a clean water stream, will be injected to the Murcia’s Urban Irrigation Network as well. In this way, CONQUER solution is based on a circular, zero-waste, resource recovery production model.