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.

Participantes: 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.

Entidad financiadora/Programa: Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (MCIU), AEI/European Union NextGenerationEU/PRTR).

Periodo de realización: December 2022-November 2024

Contacto: Dr. Diego C. Alarcón (diego.alarcon@psa.es), Prof. Sixto Malato (sixto.malato@psa.es)


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.

Participantes: 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).

Entidad financiadora/Programa: HORIZON-WIDERA-2021-ACCESS-03-01 — Twinning.

Periodo de realización: December 2022-Noviembre 2025

Contacto: Dr. Guillermo Zaragoza (gzaragoza@psa.es), Dra. Isabel Oller (ioller@psa.es)


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 (ioller@psa.es) and Dr. Sixto Malato (smalato@psa.es)


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.

Participantes: 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).

Entidad financiadora/Programa: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03 (Sustainable, secure and competitive energy supply), Topic: HORIZON-CL5-2022-D3-03-03.

Periodo de realización: January 2024-December 2027

Contacto: Dr. Isabel Oller (isabel.oller@psa.es)


Proyecto regional financiado por la Junta de Andalucia, en la convocatoria 2021 del programa “Proyectos de excelencia del Plan Andaluz de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación (PAIDI 2020)”. Tema: proyectos de investigación orientados a los retos de la sociedad andaluza. Ref (BOJA n.º239, 15 de Diciembre de 2021): ProyExcel_00585.

Monitorización y diagnóstico de la potabilización, depuración y regeneración de aguas urbanas en comarcas con estrés hídrico y desarrollo de tratamientos sostenibles alternativos a la cloración (MODITRAGUA). El objetivo general de MODITRAGUA es proponer soluciones para afrontar los retos del ciclo urbano del agua, que permitan construir ciudades más resilientes a través de la gestión sostenible de los recursos hídricos. Los objetivos específicos que se abordarán en MODITRAGUA son: (i) Definición del plan de muestreo y seguimiento en diferentes ERAR y ETAP de la provincia de Almería; (ii) Análisis de parámetros físico-químicos e identificación de contaminantes: cribado masivo de contaminantes de preocupación emergente (CEC) y subproductos de desinfección (cloración) (DBP); (iii) Análisis de parámetros microbiológicos: bacterias y virus contemplados en el nuevo reglamento del Parlamento Europeo sobre reutilización y el borrador de reglamento de abastecimiento de agua potable; (iv) Propuesta y evaluación de tratamientos alternativos a la cloración en ERAR y ETAP; (v) Análisis del plan de seguimiento y desarrollo de una Herramienta Informática de Decisión basada en técnicas de aprendizaje automático.

Participantes: Universidad de Almería (CIESOL), CIEMAT-PSA, Diputación de Almería.

Entidad financiadora/Programa: Junta de Andalucía, programa “Proyectos de excelencia del Plan Andaluz de Investigación, Desarrollo e Innovación (PAIDI 2020)”.

Periodo de realización: Diciembre 2022-Noviembre 2025.

Contacto: Dr. Isabel Oller (isabel.oller@psa.es), Dra. Inmaculada Polo (mpolo@psa.es)


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.

Participantes: 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.

Entidad financiadora/Programa:HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01 (MSCA Doctoral Networks 2022), Topic: HORIZON-MSCA-2022-DN-01-01

Periodo de realización: September 2023-August 2027

Contacto: Dra. Isabel Oller (ioller@psa.es),


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.

Participantes: 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.

Entidad financiadora/Programa:Horizon 2020 - Research and Innovation Framework Programme.

Periodo de realización: November 2021-Octubre 2025

Contacto: Dra. Inmaculada Polo (mpolo@psa.es),


Proyecto de investigación correspondiente a la convocatoria del año 2021, de referencia: TED2021-129969B-C31. Proyectos orientados a la transición ecológica y a la transición digital, en el marco del Plan Estatal de investigación científica, Técnica y de innovación 2021-2023.

Hacia la mejora de la Resiliencia del Ciclo Urbano del Agua a través de la implementación de herramientas digitales basadas en modelos de “Machine Learning” y Tecnologías de Regeneración de Aguas (DIGIT4WATER).). El principal objetivo de DIGIT4WATER es crear las bases para la implementación de un Sistema de Alerta Temprana (SAT, siglas en inglés) y una Herramienta de Ayuda a la Decisión (DST, siglas en inglés), ambos basados en modelos de Machine Learning (ML). Dichos modelos se alimentarán de una base de datos abierta sobre las características fisicoquímicas de los afluentes y efluentes reales de la EDAR, así como de tratamientos terciarios de regeneración avanzada probados a escala de laboratorio y planta piloto para cumplir con la nueva normativa europea (UE 2020/741) sobre reutilización de agua. Se prestará especial atención a la eliminación de ARB & ARGs, así como a la no generación (o eliminación) de subproductos de desinfección. El DST ayudará a la elección en el diseño de técnicas avanzadas de tratamiento terciario, seleccionando los parámetros más adecuados. El SAT tiene como objetivo generar alarmas cuando la calidad del agua regenerada esté por debajo de los requisitos mínimos legales y sanitarios en función de los fines de reutilización final, y permitir la modificación de las condiciones de tratamiento para garantizar el cumplimiento de la nueva regulación europea.

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

Entidad financiadora/Programa: Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades (MCIU), AEI/Unión Europea NextGenerationEU/PRTR).

Periodo de realización: Diciembre 2022-Noviembre 2024

Contacto: Dr. Isabel Oller (isabel.oller@psa.es), Dra. Inmaculada Polo (mpolo@psa.es)


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.

Participantes: 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

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

Periodo de realización: November 2023-October 2026

Contacto: Prof. Sixto Malato (sixto.malato@psa.es), Dr. Isabel Oller (isabel.oller@psa.es)


Proyecto de investigación correspondiente a la convocatoria del año 2021, de referencia: PID2021-126400OB-C33. «PROYECTOS DE GENERACIÓN DE CONOCIMIENTO» en el marco del Programa Estatal para Impulsar la Investigación Científico-Técnica y su Transferencia, del Plan Estatal de Investigación Científica, Técnica y de Innovación 2021-2023

Revalorización de diferentes aguas residuales mediante tecnologías que permitan mejorar el nexo agua-energía renovable-alimentos (AquaEnAgri). El principal objetivo de AQUAENAGRI para CIEMAT-PSA es aplicar Procesos Avanzados de Oxidación (AOPs) para mejorar la calidad de los efluentes involucrados en acuaponía, así como el agua regenerada para ser utilizada como influente, junto con la valorización del contenido orgánico como agente sacrificante en la producción de hidrógeno solar fotocatalítico.

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

Entidad financiadora/Programa: : Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación MCIN/AEI/ by “ERDF A way of making Europe”.

Periodo de realización: Septiembre 2022-Agosto 2025

Contacto: Prof. Sixto Malato (sixto.malato@psa.es)


Proyecto de investigación correspondiente a la convocatoria del año 2021, de referencia: PLEC2021-007906, Programa Estatal de I+D+i Orientada a los Retos de la Sociedad (Proyectos de I+D+i en líneas estratégicas, en colaboración público-privada).

SOL-Future: Catálisis Solar para un futuro de energía renovable es la base de una estrategia país que consiste en la conversión eficiente de la energía solar en combustibles sostenibles y productos químicos básicos a través del desarrollo de tecnologías eficientes y de confianza. Para llevarlo a cabo, se han tenido en cuenta limitaciones clave como la disponibilidad y durabilidad de materiales críticos, la tasa de retorno energético (TRE), e impactos ambientales y socioeconómicos, a fin de garantizar su expansión y asegurar su exitosa transferencia a industria. Este objetivo tiene consecuencias de amplio alcance y de importancia mundial, como (i) evitar el calentamiento global, (ii) promover la transición a una economía circular y (iii) poner fin a la dependencia histórica de la economía europea de las importaciones de energía.

Participantes: Instituto IMDEA Energía (Coordinador); ICMM; ICIQ; CIEMAT; Apria Systems; CEPSA

Entidad financiadora/Programa: Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación – Unión Europea NextGenerationEU – PRTR / Proyectos de I+D+i en líneas estratégicas, en colaboración público-privada

Periodo de realización: Diciembre 2021-Noviembre 2024

Contacto: Dr. Alba Ruiz (alba.ruiz@psa.es), Prof. Sixto Malato (sixto.malato@psa.es)