Back in 2018, Sorigué, a leading group of companies in the technological and water engineering, services, construction and materials sectors, and ICFO signed an agreement
to undertake research projects together to help innovation become one of the company’s business’s strategic axis of growth and differentiation.
Sorigué is known, among others, for its expertise in waste water treatment and the management of these plants. Throughout these years, the business group has been working on the development of membranes to seek innovative solutions that could improve the sustainability of the water cycle, by increasing the membranes’ properties by the use of nanotechnology techniques and thus reducing operation costs.
To be able to do this, Sorigué has taken advantage of its relationship with ICFO and together have put in motion ‘AQUA-GOX’, a project aimed at developing high-impact membranes based on graphene for water treatment improvement. The project aims to use graphene to improve the stability and durability of the synthesized membranes that help filter waste water and verify their performance for use in conventional water purification plants.
Innovation for conventional water plants
Membrane biological reactors (MBR) currently used in water treatment plants are very expensive in terms of energy, operation and maintenance. AQUA-GOX proposes to develop a commercial membrane with innovative materials that ensures low manufacturing and operating costs, without compromising the expected high-quality standards of the material in terms of thermal, mechanical and chemical stability. “We seek to synthesize a membrane that is cheaper and that has a higher permeability and fewer cleaning requirements, without altering its selectivity,” explains Silvia Carrasco, Director of the Knowledge and Technology Transfer unit at ICFO.
By using nanotechnology techniques, the developed synthesized membrane can be used in conventional waste water treatment processes. For this purpose, a future pilot will be built in a WWTP where the surrounding population exceeds the 100,000 inhabitants. The goal of this plant is to treat the water coming out of the biological reactors will be treated and verify its efficiency in a real environment.