A holistic approach to resource recovery from wastewater.

LOGOS AEI, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación.
Actuación RED2022-134350-T financiada por MCIN/AEI /10.13039/501100011033

SolarChem 5.0

Research project corresponding to the 2021 call, reference: TED2021-130173B-C43. Projects aimed at the ecological transition and the digital transition, within the framework of the Spain Plan for scientific, technical and innovation research 2021-2023.

Towards Digital Transition in Solar Chemistry (SolarChem 5.0) focusses the suitability of the application of AI in the development of Solar Chemistry technologies covering from the synthesis of highly efficient and stable hybrid photoelectrodes with improved and selective enzyme co-catalysts to the design and construction of a Solar PEC reactor. PSA will be concentrated in the conceptual design and development of a Solar photoelectrochemical (PEC) reactor using Artificial Intelligence tools for the selection of the most suitable configuration. The research activities will be managed by researcher from two different institutions: PSA-CIEMAT and ICMSE-CSIC. The lack of large-scale PEC solar reactors and standardized protocols are important obstacles for the PEC technologies development. This is mainly because having a controllably large area of high-performance, photoelectrodes for scaling up still remains challenging. So, it is essential to design solar PEC reactors able to work with different feedstocks. such as wastewater, seawater or CO2 from atmospheric or industrial flue gas and biomass-derived products (i.e.,pbioethanol, glycerol), among others. Due to the low flux density of available solar radiation on the earth's surface, concentrating solar power technology is the most viable current technological option to increase this density value and thus improve the efficiency per unit area of solar energy conversion systems.

Partners: IMDEA Energy Institute (Coordinator), Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Madrid-CSIC, ALBA-CELLS, Institute of Computational Chemistry and Catalysis-UdG Instituto de Química Física “Rocasolano-CSIC, Instituto de Ciencia de Materiales de Sevilla-CSIC, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, PSA-CIEMAT.

Funding Institution/Program: Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (MCIU), AEI/European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTR).

Period: December 2022-November 2024

Contact: Dr. Diego C. Alarcón (, Prof. Sixto Malato (


Project funded by the European Commission within the Horizon Europe Program. HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03-01 — Twinning. GA 101079305.

European Twinning for research in Solar energy to water (H2O) production and treatment technologies (Sol2H2O). Clean water and sanitation is one of the Sustainable Development Goals. However, water availability itself is essential to achieve most of the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, industrial and agricultural developments are dependent on a resource that is becoming increasingly scarce: United Nations recognize that 40 per cent shortfall in freshwater resources by 2030 coupled with a rising world population has the world careening towards a global water crisis. The availability of new water resources is of paramount importance to alleviate this crisis. Desalination and wastewater treatment are in increased demand to mobilize new water resources. However, they are associated with large energy consumption. Engaging three top-class leading partners around a scientific strategy for stepping up and stimulating scientific excellence and innovation capacity on Solar-driven Water-Energy Nexus solutions, Sol2H20 aims at enhanced networking with the Coordinator Widening partner (Univ. Evora), raising its research profile through the exploitation of their staff and infrastructural synergies in the establishment of a reference European facility for the development and testing of Circular Solar-driven Water Production & Treatment technologies.

Partners: Universidad de Evora (Portugal) (coordinators), Solar Thermal Applications Unit and Solar Treatment of Water Unit from CIEMAT-PSA (Spain), Instituto Tecnológico de Canarias (Spain), Universita degli studi di Palermo (Italy).

Funding Institution/Program: HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03-01 — Twinning.

Period: December 2022-Noviembre 2025

Contact: Dr. Guillermo Zaragoza (, Dra. Isabel Oller (


Project funded by the European Commission within H2020 program. H2020-INFRAIA-2018-2020/H2020-INFRAIA-2018-1. GA: 823802.

Solar Facilities for the European Research Area-Third phase (SFERA-III). The SFERA-III project aims to engage all major European Solar Research Institutes into an integrated structure to promote innovative research, to improve services offered by research infrastructures and to train researchers and engineers on these technologies, being both, academia and industry users targeted. These activities include (i) networking activities to further develop the cooperation between the research infrastructures, the scientific community, industries and other stakeholders; (ii) transnational access activities aiming at providing access to all European researchers from both academia and industry to singular scientific and technological solar research infrastructures; and (iii) joint research activities whose sole purpose is to improve the integrated services provided by the infrastructure. Solar Treatment of Water Research Unit is specifically active in the networking activities and transnational access to their facilities, but it also participates in the joint research activities within WP7: Development and testing of new technological concepts for solar desalination and water treatment facilities.

Partners: CIEMAT-PSA (Spain), CIESOL (UAL), DLR (Germany), CNRS (France), IMDEA (Spain), ETHZ (Switzerland), ENEA (Italy), LNEG (Portugal), CEA (France), INESC-ID (Portugal), UNIVERSITY ÉVORA (Portugal), FRA (Germany), CYI (Cyrpus), METU (Turkey), EURONOVIA (France), ESTELA (Belgium).

Funding Institution/Program: H2020-INFRAIA-2018-2020/H2020-INFRAIA-2018-1.

Period: January 2019-January 2024

Contact: Dr. Ricardo Sánchez (coordinator), Dra. Isabel Oller ( and Dr. Sixto Malato (


Project funded by the European Commission within the Horizon Europe Program. HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03 (Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply), Topic: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03-03. GA 101122323.

From solar energy to fuel: A holistic artificial photosynthesis platform for the production of viable solar fuels (REFINE). REFINE develops and demonstrates a system of artificial photosynthesis by combining both dark and light-dependent reactions for the direct production of high energy density and essential chemicals, such as alcohols. To achieve this, a direct hydrogen storage into hydrocarbons through CO2 capture and transformation in an advanced bio-refining system is proposed. In this, hydrogen produced by water photoelectrolysis is combined with captured CO2 and directly fed to biocultures that selectively produce isopropanol and butanol as high energy solar fuels, and the only energy input to drive this radical technological system is sunlight. To realise and bring to the market such a system of artificial photosynthesis it is necessary to converge the fields of materials science, biotechnology, engineering and social sciences. The project organisation is multicentred and operates at different levels; from raw materials supply considerations, societal acceptance, materials engineering and nanostructuring to device assembling and applicability. The true converging nature of REFINE provides a holistic, ground-breaking approach that addresses major challenges of our modern societies such as the extensive CO2 emissions and inability for efficient and widely accepted CO2 recycling. REFINE is the seed for a multidimensional approach to critical scientific and societal challenges.

Partners: University of Oslo (Norway) (coordinators), RWTH Aachen University (Germany), University of Strathclyde (United Kingdom), University Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis (Greece), University of Oslo Sykehus HF (Norway), Solar Thermal Applications Unit and Solar Treatment of Water Unit from CIEMAT-PSA (Spain), Loughborough University (United Kingdom), Institute for Energy (Norway), APRIA SYSTEMS S.L (Spain).

Funding Institution/Program: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03 (Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply), Topic: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03-03.

Period: January 2024-December 2027

Contact: Dr. Isabel Oller (


Regional project funded by “Junta de Andalucia” belonging to the 2021 call R+D+i Excellence Projects in the framework of the “Proyectos de excelencia del Plan Andaluz de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación (PAIDI 2020)” program. Topic: research projects oriented to the challenges of Andalusian society. Ref (BOJA n.º239, December 15, 2021): ProyExcel_00585.

Monitoring and diagnosis of the potabilization, purification and regeneration of urban water in regions with water stress and development of alternative sustainable treatments to chlorination (MODITRAGUA). The general objective of MODITRAGUA is to propose solutions to face the challenges of the urban water cycle, which would make building more resilient cities through sustainable management of water resources possible. The specific objectives that will be addressed in MODITRAGUA are: (i) Definition of the sampling and monitoring plan in different ERAR and PAAP in the province of Almería; (ii) Analysis of physical-chemical parameters and identification of contaminants: massive screening of contaminants of emerging concern (CEC) and disinfection by- products (chlorination) (DBP); (iii) Analysis of microbiological parameters: bacteria and viruses considered in the new regulation of the European Parliament on reuse and the draft of the drinking water supply regulations; (iv) Proposal and evaluation of alternative treatments to chlorination in ERAR and PAAP; (v) Analysis of the monitoring plan and development of a Computer Decision Tool based on machine learning techniques.

Partners: University of Almería (CIESOL), CIEMAT-PSA, Council of the Province of Almería.

Funding Institution/Program: 2021 call R+D+i Projects in the framework of the “Proyectos de excelencia del Plan Andaluz de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación (PAIDI 2020)” program.

Period: December 2022-November 2025.

Contact: Dr. Isabel Oller (, Dra. Inmaculada Polo (


Project funded by the European Commission within the Horizon Europe Program. HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01 (MSCA Doctoral Networks 2022), Topic: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01-01. GA 101119555.

Human footprint on water from remote cold areas to the tropical belt. INtegrated Approach TO secure water QUAlity by exploiting Sustainable processes (IN2AQUAS). IN2AQUAS will train 15 doctoral candidates (DCs) for facing the complex challenge of envisaging the pollutant impact on the environment and of tailoring the proper treatments for the production of safe and clean water -also in extreme environments- using green approaches through high quality research, training, management and innovation. This goal will be attained via a structured training-through-research programme, consisting of original individual research projects and education on technical and transferable skills. Experts from 10-degree awarding universities, 4 national research centers, 1 associated university, 4 companies and a highly qualified mindfulness-in-the-workplace facilitator will join forces to facilitate the successful training programme that will allow DCs to be awarded with a double doctoral degree in two different countries. These aims will be pursued by applying different actions, which include the study and development of innovative technologies against the water pollution, paying attention not only to the sustainability of the water management systems (in a circular economy vision), but also to the reuse of water, the recovery of nutrients and the green synthesis of functional materials. The developed technologies will be tailored to variegated scenarios with particular emphasis to three case studies: aquaculture, arid areas and (remote) cold areas. The overall research goals will imply three main steps: 1) the assessment of water quality and the prediction of its response toward the increased environmental stresses; 2) restore water quality while approaching the zero waste discharge and 3) scale up and process integration. The multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and intersectoral network will forge creative entrepreneurial and innovative scientists, who will be equipped with the skills, tools, insights and flexibility that enable them to be the next generation of Urban Water System management innovators.

Partners: Universita Degli Studi Di Torino (Italy) (coordinators), Universita Degli Studi Del Piemonte Orientale (Italy), Aalborg Univerity (Denmark), Clermont Auvergne INP (France), Solar Thermal Applications Unit and Solar Treatment of Water Unit from CIEMAT-PSA (Spain), Panepistimio Ioanninon (Greece), Universidad Politécnica de Valencia (Spain), Alma Mater Studiorum - Universita Di Bologna (Italy), ULTRAAQUA S.A (Denmark), Institut National De´l Environnment Industriel Et Des Risques – INERIS (France), Institutt For Energiteknikk (Norway) and different associated partners.

Funding Institution/Program: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01 (MSCA Doctoral Networks 2022), Topic: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01-01.

Period: September 2023-August 2027

Contact: Dra. Isabel Oller (


Project funded by from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, Green Deal Call.
Topic: H2020-LC-GD- 2020-1 (H2020-Societal Challenges-Climate action, Environment, Resource). GA 101037428.

ENERGy access and green transition collaboratively demonstrated in urban and rural areas in AfrICA (ENERGICA). The main objective of ENERGICA is to demonstrate the efficient implementation of renewable energy technologies to match local contexts’ needs. To do so, three different demonstration sites will rely upon local Energy Transition Boards, which will manage community-scale Integrated Community Energy Systems. Based on these methodologies and respective innovative technologies, ENERGICA will demonstrate positive social, environmental, technical, and economic impacts from the high-energy efficiency and low carbon emission renewable energy technologies. The main role of CIEMAT in this project is related to the implementation of water treatment solar-based solutions in two different countries: Madagascar and Sierra Leona.

Partners: Technische Universitat Berlin, United Nations Environment Programme, Universite Abdou Moumouni de Niamey, Norges Teknisk-Naturvitenskapelige Universitet, Trialog, Finergreen Africa, Hudara GGMBH, Association Energy Generation, Ecowas Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Fundacion Tekniker, Centro de Investigaciones Energeticas, Medioambientales y Tecnologicas, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, The Waste Transformers Nederland, Freetown Waste Transformers, Ecosun innovations, Arenys Inox, Nanoe Madagascar, SADC Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Association Africaine pour l electrification rurale (cluber), East African Centre of Excellence for Renewable Energy and Efficiency, The Kenya Power and Lighting Company, Odit-e, Hive Power, Opibus, Stima sas, Untapped Water Limited, Jokosun, Euroquality.

Funding Institution/Program: Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

Period: November 2021-Octubre 2025

Contact: Dra. Inmaculada Polo (


National Research Project from the 2021 call, with the reference: TED2021-129969B-C31. Projects aimed at the ecological and digital transition, within the framework of the State Plan for scientific, technical and innovation research 2021-2023.

Towards the improvement of the Urban Water Cycle Resilience through the implementation of Digital tools based on Machine Learning models and Water Reclamation Technologies (DIGIT4WATER). The main objective of DIGIT4WATER is to create the bases for the implementation of an early warning system (EWS) and a decision support tool (DST), both based on Machine Learning (ML) models. Such models will be fed by an open database on physicochemical characteristics of actual MWWTP influents and effluents, as well as advanced regeneration tertiary treatments tested at laboratory and pilot plant scale for compliance with the new European regulation (EU 2020/741) on water reuse. Special attention will be paid to the elimination of ARB & ARGs, as well as the non-generation (or elimination) of DBPs. The DST will assist the choices in the design of advanced tertiary treatment techniques, selecting the most adequate parameters. The EWS is intended to create alarms when the quality of reclaimed water is below the minimum legal and sanitary requirements depending on the final reuse purposes, and allow modification of the treatment conditions to ensure compliance.

Partners: Unidad de Tratamientos Solares del Agua (CIEMAT-PSA) (Coordinator), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) y el Centro Internacional de Métodos Numéricos en Ingeniería (CIMNE).

Funding Institution/Program: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU), AEI/Unión Europea NextGenerationEU/PRTR).

Period: December 2022-November 2024

Contact: Dr. Isabel Oller (, Dra. Inmaculada Polo (


Research project corresponding to the Call HORIZON-EIC-2022-PATHFINDERCHALLENGES-01. GAP-101115182

Green valorisation of CO2 and Nitrogen compounds for making fertilizers (CONFETI). CONFETI aims at developing a lab-scale validated autonomous technology to capture and photo-electrochemically convert CO2 and N2 directly from air or flue gases to urea, which will be produced and delivered in situ in the agricultural fields. The technology will be powered through renewable energy sources by combining soil microbial fuel cells (SMFC) and solar panels. The final proof-of-concept system for urea production will result from the combination of three pocket-scale reactors that will pursue the following goals: 1) An electrochemical reactor for capture, storage and transformation of CO2 and N2 into urea; 2) A soil fuel cell capable to produce energy from the microorganisms present in the roots of plants to perform the electrochemical reactions; 3) A photochemical cell devoted to the reduction of nitrate (NO3-) to ammonia and/or urea based on a sunlight-driven photocatalytic technology.

Partners: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Fundació Privada Parc de Recerca (PRUAB), CSIC, Universiteit Antwerpent, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Università di Pisa, Arkyne Technologies SL, Iowa State University, PSA-CIEMAT

Funding Institution/Program: EUROPEAN INNOVATION COUNCIL AND SMES EXECUTIVE AGENCY (EISMEA). Horizon Europe – the Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2021-2027).

Period: November 2023-October 2026

Contact: Prof. Sixto Malato (, Dr. Isabel Oller (


Research project corresponding to the 2021 call, reference: PID2021-126400OB-C33. "KNOWLEDGE GENERATION PROJECTS" within the framework of the State Program to Promote Scientific-Technical Research and its Transfer, of the State Plan for Scientific, Technical and Innovation Research 2021-2023

Revalorisation of wastewater through technologies that improve the water-renewable energy-food nexus (AquaEnAgri). The main objective of AQUAENAGRI for CIEMAT-PSA is to apply Advanced Oxidation Processes (AOPs) to improve the quality of the effluents involved in aquaponics, as well as regenerated water to be used as influent, jointly with valorisation of the organic content as sacrificial agent in photocatalytic solar hydrogen production.

Partners: Univ. Politécnica de Valencia (Coordinator), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, PSA-CIEMAT

Funding Institution/Program: Ministry of Science and Innovation MCIN/AEI/ by “ERDF A way of making Europe”.

Period: September 2022-August 2025

Contact: Prof. Sixto Malato (


Research project corresponding to the call 2021 and reference: PLEC2021-007906, within the State Program of Research, Development and Innovation Oriented Challenges of the Society (RDI projects in strategic lines, in public-private partnership).

SOL-Future is the base of a country strategy foundation for the efficient solar energy conversion to sustainable fuels and commodity chemicals through the development of reliable and efficient technologies. To carry it out, key limitations such as the availability and durability of critical materials, energy return on investment (EROI), environmental and socioeconomic impacts have been taken into account in order to guarantee its expansion and ensure its successful industrial transference. This objective has wide-ranging consequences of global significance, such as (i) averting global warming, (ii) promoting the transition to a circular economy, and (iii) ending the European economys historic dependence on energy imports.

Partners: IMDEA Energy Institute (Coordinator); ICMM; ICIQ; CIEMAT; Apria Systems; CEPSA

Funding Institution/Program: Ministry of Science and Innovation – European Union NextGenerationEU – PRTR / RDI projects in strategic lines, in public-private partnership

Period: November 2021-November 2024

Contact: Dr. Alba Ruiz (, Prof. Sixto Malato (