NEXT GENERATION DESALINATION
Our Mission : Solving water crisis through circular & carbon-neutral desalination
Which problem are we addressing?
Water-stressed regions are increasingly relying on desalination to satisfy their water supply needs. Particularly for Southern Europe (and most notably the Mediterranean islands e.g. in Malta, Sicilian and Greek islands, Cyprus etc) where sometimes the dependence can be as high as 100% on desalination to provide drinking water. Desalination is providing solution to their water crisis BUT IT SHIFTS THIS CRISIS to the environment.
Linear desalination systems are being implemented with the use of Reverse Osmosis (RO) technology. This solution comes with 3 important limits:
- biodiversity loss : critical marine ecosystems (protected by Natura 2000) belonging to the seagrass species (Posidonia Oceanica) are being destroyed even with small salinity increases.
- loss of significant materials in the wastewater brine effluent. In seawater there are materials that are critical for our EU economy, and which are now being imported by a percentage as high as 90% from China (e.g. magnesium). The economic value of each m³ of brine is reported to be around 8 EUR – this value cannot be captured by the existing solutions and thus leaks from our economies.
- RO can only be driven by high-quality energy (electricity), something that excludes low-grade heat possibilities (e.g. solar thermal), while linear desalination has very low water recovery rates (~40%), with the rest of the water being wasted.
High energy consumption and detrimental marine environmental impacts are associated with brines. According to the United Nations, desalination brines comprise an urgent threat to the Mediterranean Sea environment (as they kill precious marine ecosystems like Posidonia Oceanica), while from recent evidence the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from the desalination sector can represent as high as 50% of the total industrial emissions of the islands. To enable the transition to sustainability, desalination urgently needs to become decarbonized & circular.
What new are we offering?
Currently, there is no Circular Desalination system applied at a global scale. Linear desalination systems comprise the state of the art, with the market being dominated by Reverse Osmosis (RO).
Our Circular Desalination solution is disrupting this status quo.
If seen as a black box, with the same input of (sea)water we are able to deliver three times more freshwater compared to existing solutions, as well as recover salts with very high purity and market value. The technology developed within the PhD of our CEO (supported by the EU-funded project “SOL-BRINE”) is of high innovation character and has been tested in different industrial settings to reach the pre-commercial development stage of TRL7. Besides that, through connecting different value and supply chains, we create the conditions to meet the policy targets (and subsequent market needs) of climate and circular transitions.
SEALEAU in today's business landscape
The new industrial revolution wave (Industry 4.0 & Industry 5.0) is building upon sustainable solutions. This is a transition. Only companies offering disruptive solutions that can transform the current regime and create system-level impact, will become successful. The sustainability paradigm is articulated through the Sustainability Development Goals at a global level, but also within Europe through specific policy. More particularly, after the adoption of the EU Green Deal in late 2019, the Circular Economy Action Plan was adopted calling for the recovery of secondary raw materials from wastewater (and minimization of virgin raw materials extraction). Further, earlier this year the Zero Pollution Action Plan and the Sustainable Chemicals Strategy were adopted. All these create the enabling framework for transforming the Linear Desalination into a Circular Desalination solution in the next five years, bringing our work into a perfect timing for impact generation and market success.