29 Jun ONE OF THE EUROPEAN PROJECTS PARTICIPATED BY THE CATALAN WATER PARTNERSHIP BEGINS: THE SEA4VALUE PROJECT
The Sea4Value project is funded by the European Union’s Horizon2020 program, has a total of 15 partners from 7 different European countries and has a budget of 7 million euros.
The aim of Sea4Value is to recover scarce metals and minerals with a high economic value from the brines from seawater desalination processes.
The Sea4Value project implementation period begins in June 2020. This project is led by the Eurecat technology center and has a total of 15 participating entities, among which are 5 universities and 2 European entities. The consortium also includes the Catalan Water Partnership, FCC Aqualia and a total of 5 other international companies.
This project was born as an initiative from the recognition by the European Union of the strategic importance of certain metals and minerals, in relation to their use as a raw material by various relevant industrial sectors in Europe. Despite the importance of these materials, they are expensive to obtain and it is estimated that the costs of extracting and / or importing a large part of them will increase significantly in the coming years. In order to respond to this problem, the Sea4Value project was conceived with the aim of putting technological innovation at the service of industry, within the framework of the Circular Economy. Thus, the main idea of the project is to obtain a total of 9 key metals and minerals for the industry from the brines generated during the seawater desalination process. These brines are currently considered a waste in their entirety, although they contain a large number of trace elements in volumes large enough to become a resource in the coming years.
The project also has a great ambition from a technical point of view. The main objective of Sea4Value is to identify, combine and optimize methodologies that allow the separation, concentration and crystallization of metals and / or minerals of interest, in order to be able to be used later as a resource by the industry. . In this way it is possible to ensure the supply of minerals and basic metals for industrial activities in Europe, while creating new value chains from the brines that to date are treated as waste. .
In order to achieve this goal, the 15 project partners will collaborate in order to optimize a total of 10 pre-identified industrial processes, worked together to ensure that the extraction of target minerals and metals is technically and economically viable. . These processes are related, among others, to solvent extraction, dissolved ion extraction, selective membranes, microfiltration or 3D printing of adsorption modules. All of these technologies are still in the testing phase, are not marketable and will require the combination of the fields of expertise of the various partners involved for their development and optimization for the achievement of final performance.
The project also has two demonstration plants. These plants will be responsible for the implementation of the extraction, concentration and crystallization processes designed and optimized during the execution of the project. Specifically, these are two desalination plants: one in the Mediterranean Sea (Denia) and the other in the Atlantic Ocean (Fonsalia). All these activities involve the collaboration of 7 European countries and have a significant budget of 7 million euros.