The cost of desalinated water could be cut by almost half using new wireless bacteria sensors, according to the technology’s creators.
Researchers from the University of Valencia are leading a €3.5m (£2.9m) European project to design intelligent networks that can optimise the operation of sewage treatment and water-desalination plants.
The Hydrobionets team from the university’s Institute of Robotics and ICT says that the technology could reduce the cost of desalinated water by 45 per cent and reduce energy consumption by 74 per cent.
The aim of the three-year project is to develop the world’s first interconnected wireless network of biosensors that can control bacterial activity by determining the ideal amount of biocides to inject into the water.
Hydrobionets project co-ordinator Baltasar Berefull said that the main goal of the initiative was to fundamentally increase the productivity and reduce the costs of water purification.
‘This would be done thanks to a higher durability of osmosis’ membranes — in the case of the desalination — and a higher durability of bioreactors in the sewage-treatment plants, on the one hand, and thanks to a more accurate use of chemical products.’
Better management of the facilities would be possible because different processes could be accessed and visualised more efficiently, he added.
Other members of the project include the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and researchers from several Swedish, Hungarian, Greek and British research centres, as well as the company Acciona Agua.