Dr. Lorna Fitzsimons was on secondment to ESAMUR in Murcia, Spain, in Autumn 2018. Her secondment involved several site visits with Pedro Simon and Jesus Chazarra to wastewater treatment facilities, solar farms, pumping stations, desalination plants and a local farmer's cooperative, an excellent example of Circular Economy principles, directly associated with the ALICE project objectives in terms of knowledge exchange and sharing of good practices.     

Secondment to Region of Murcia

Written by Monday, 22 October 2018 13:19
A few months ago, I was seconded from Ulster University by my supervisors Prof. Neil Hewitt and Dr. Caterina Brandoni to the Council of Water, Agriculture and Environment, Water Division of the Region of Murcia in Spain. My role during the secondment was to collect information about the challenges and summarise on the best practices of water reuse in Murcia. This was an excellent opportunity as the Region of Murcia is a leader in this field as I learned from meeting with Pedro Simon of ESAMUR - they actually reuse 95% of water! I visited ESAMUR and got access to their most up to date printed literature (it was printed in Spanish, but I was able to understand the relevant text relating to the data and diagrams) and Pedro explained about energy use in the different processes of water treatment, the current and potential opportunities for renewable technologies and the challenges and improvements they were making to the waste water treatment plants across the region. I also had access to the library of water and to find out about the various projects happening there. I learned about the policy background which lead to the current layout of the water treatment plants in Murcia.   All of the partners in Spain were very welcoming and kind, they took time to explain the background and history of waste water treatment in the region so that I could better understand how they had got the where they are today. Manuel Boluda explained to me how from 1991 on the policies developed from the Royal Directive and the plants were built based upon population and also development happened at a time when industry was growing so this factor influenced sizing. Many changes took place between 1996 and 2011 and therefore a lot of the Waste water treatment plants in the small regions where industry was have now closed are therefore operating less efficiently, using a lot of energy and costing a lot to run. Various bodies are responsible for different areas of the same river and below this the management and payment systems are different. Other challenges they were facing with regard to energy included the Sun Tax applied to solar technologies to be more competitive with HEP, but despite these challenges, the region have some very innovative projects such a solar panels on floating platforms over reservoirs to reduce evaporation and the Albedo…
I am a PhD student at Plataforma Solar de Almería.My research focuses on the development and application of photochemical and photocatalytic processes for disinfection,decontamination and reuse of wastewater. In the period from September to December 2017, I had the opportunity to complete a placement in Northern Ireland Water in collaboration with Ulster University. During this period I collected and analyzed several wastewater samples. The characterization of these samples was focused on the microbiological content, more specifically in the detection, quantification and isolation of wild bacteria (including antibiotic-resistant bacteria,ARB). Moreover, I worked on the optimization of a photoelectrochemical reactor for wastewater disinfection. It was a enriching experience due to I had the opportunity to work with excellent professionals and researchers. *The images show the recollection of samples and their treatment and analysis.
I am a PhD student at Ulster University working on Water and Energy nexus. I am currently on a secondment in Murcia (South of Spain). During my secondment, I had an opportunity to visit the Irrigation Community of Tajo Segura de Librilla. This community has a complete automation system for irrigation that can be operated from any location through any device, that is connected to the internet to optimize the use of water and in turn of eletricity. They have also installed a Solar Photovoltaic system to power their pumping station.  Antonio Perez Vidal, an Engineer at Batchline Control, who is also team member of the Irribatch (a control system for irrigation community), has demonstrated us the Irribatch software working, which is the control system used by the Irrigation Community of Tajo segura de Librilla. Irribatch is a hydrant remote control system developed by Batchline Control for the automation of the irrigation by the Irrigation Community with low intelligence. It is transparent and can be communicated through different modes of transmission, such as radio, UHF, WIMAX, GPRS, WIFI and cables. I hope, by installation of such systems, that we can have substantial changes in electricity and water utilization, and can save electricity and water to certain extent in different parts of the world.

The acceptance of society in innovation

Written by Tuesday, 25 July 2017 13:32
Society's acceptance in wastewater management innovation in urban areas is key to the adoption of new systems and technologies.