Non-intrusive desalination project at UAlg's Culatra wins international award

Cláudia Sequeira, André Pacheco, Manuela Moreira da Silva and Ewan Rochard are the UAlg researchers involved in the project

The project “Culatra2030 – Non intrusive water desalination”, coordinated by researchers from the Center for Marine and Environmental Research (CIMA) of the University of Algarve, won the “SMILO – Zenon Islands fund call”.

Cláudia Sequeira, André Pacheco, Manuela Moreira da Silva and Ewan Rochard are the UAlg researchers involved in the project that received the prize, which has a monetary value of 15 thousand euros.

“SMILO, Sustainable Islands has launched an international competition for innovative proposals for sustainability on islands. CIMA, in collaboration with the Culatra Island Residents’ Association, proposed the development of a non-intrusive desalination prototype, that is, desalinating sea water to produce non-potable fresh water using surplus photovoltaic production», explains Cláudia Sequeira.

As for the added value of this project for Culatra Island, the CIMA researcher and professor at the Instituto Superior de Engenharia, considers that «the great advantage will be to study new modular solutions of easy implementation, low cost, which do not require filters, membranes, nor chemical products and that are low maintenance”.

One of the objectives of this project, he says, “will be to be able to use the excess energy produced on the island, and integrate it into the new desalination system, which will allow an increase in the yield in the production of fresh water and a reduction in transport costs. of water to the island and, consequently, the reduction of the carbon footprint'.

The «decrease in energy consumption for water transport, increase in water availability for irrigation of the island's green areas, washing common spaces, production of ice for fish and production of salt, as well as improving the efficiency of water use» , are some of the expected results.

The project will be implemented in the Social Center, so there will be strong community involvement in sustainable water management, which will be accompanied by composting actions, creation of community gardens, reactivation of rainwater storage in cisterns and production of photovoltaic energy.

«Everything that contributes to the insertion of Man in the environment in a sustainable and balanced way», concludes the researcher.

Only small islands of less than 150 km2 can be supported by SMILO, which are not connected by bridges, inhabited or not, and must be in protected areas.