The first pilot-scale demonstration site of the MIDES technology in real conditions will operate from  April 2019 until March 2020 in Denia, Spain. MIDES coordinating partner organization, Aqualia, operates the Brackish Water Desalination Plant (BWDP) at Racons on the east coast, where the latest technologies are being validated by experienced professionals, with support from the company and local institutions.

The MIDES project began at Racons in September 2016, with the consortium working on pre-treatment strategies for desalination by Microbial Desalination Cells (MDC). All the technologies and process developed during the project – such as membranes, electrodes, instrumentation and control, process optimization – will be integrated at this demonstration site to comprise the largest MDC system ever built.

This MIDES pilot demonstration is expected to produce 150 L/h of drinking water, while treating between 1-3 m3/day of wastewater, with an extremely low energy consumption of less than 0.5 kWh/m3.  The production of drinking water will have to fulfil strict quality requirements through the process:

  • Salt water will be pre-treated with ceramic membrane technology, providing a clean effluent at low energy consumption. The application of nanotechnology – with nanoparticles coating the membrane surface to reduce membrane fouling – can reduce energy demand and improve overall performance.
  • After pre-treatment, water is fed into the MDC to reduce the salinity. The MDC will be powered by energy gathered from wastewater, without any external energy source.
  • Reverse osmosis is then used as a post-treatment step, which will operate at low pressure with low energy consumption.
  • The resulting water will be mineralized to fulfil the potable water quality standards.

The Racons desalination plant plays a key role to meet water demand of Denia, because the main potable water source is salty water from brackish wells and a brackish river. This desalination plant uses conventional reverse osmosis with pre-treatment by ballasted sedimentation and conventional media filtration. One of the advantages of working at this demonstration site is the possibility to evaluate the MIDES pilot plant performance compared with a conventional BWDP, working with the same feed under the same environment to validate the solution feasibility.

Two other MIDES demonstration sites are being built in Huechun, Chile; and Djerba, Tunisia; they will be operated between July 2019 to March 2020. The MIDES process will be replicated treating different streams in different conditions at these sites, in order to be able to broaden applications of the project.

See the MIDES contact page to obtain more information on the demonstration sites and other aspects of the project.