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Open call

Digifed Acciona challenge: Next-generation conductivity sensors for predictive operation of water treatment

Open date: Wednesday 9 June 2021   Close date: Tuesday 28 September 2021 Apply now

With funding 100k€ for the successful startup, Acciona is looking to establish an end-to-end digital wireless solution for measuring, reporting, and visualising the conductivity of each reverse osmosis membrane from pressure vessels part of their desalination facilities. The solution should provide a wireless sensor to measure and report the conductivity and a basic backend application with data storage and a data visualisation dashboard.

About Acciona

Acciona is a global company with a business model based on sustainability and operating in more than 30 countries on 5 continents.

Industry Sector: Water treatment and supply

Funding: Euro 100,000

The company leads the water treatment sector through the design, construction and operation of reverse osmosis desalination plants, drinking water treatment plants, wastewater treatment plants and tertiary treatments for water reuse, and has reinforced its focus on services for cities. It is a worldwide leader in the water treatment sector, especially in the field of reverse osmosis desalination.

In 2020, the company treated almost 1,000 Hm3 of water, 50.4 % in water stress areas, benefiting more than 100 million people throughout history.

For the DigiFed challenge:

Acciona has partnered with DigiFed to address one of its key challenges around water control and monitoring solutions. Acciona wants to know and understand how they can measure and use conductivity data to optimise the operations of reverse osmosis desalination plants.

Acciona is looking to establish an end-to-end digital wireless solution for measuring, reporting, and visualising the conductivity of each reverse osmosis membrane from pressure vessels part of their desalination facilities.

The solution should provide a wireless sensor to measure and report the conductivity and a basic backend application with data storage and a data visualisation dashboard.

Racks of RO membranes with several pressure vessels (white tubes); in each pressure vessel, 7 reverse osmosis elements are commonly placed

Background:

Acciona is one of the market leaders in the reverse osmosis desalination arena. With a treatment capacity of almost 5 million m3/d (+10% of the total global desalination capacity –excluding industrial use-), the company provides water of the highest quality to more than 26 million people.

However, the monitoring of the performance of individual reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is still based on manually probing the product water tube of a pressure vessel at different locations with a plastic or stainless steel (SS) tube, to obtain a conductivity profile that it is compared to the expected one.

Challenge/problem statement:

The manual technique of monitoring the performance of individual reverse osmosis (RO) membranes is very laborious, time consuming and not practical, especially for large size desalination plants in which thousands of RO elements are part of a desalination facility.

Acciona is looking for innovative digital solutions that could continuously monitor the performance of each membrane element in a multi-vessel array.

Who should apply?

The solution should provide a wireless sensor to measure and report the conductivity and a basic backend application with data storage and a data visualisation dashboard.

Acciona is looking to partner with innovative companies in the EU with experience in working in the water, power, pharma, chemicals, food & beverage industry, or developing solutions for monitoring groundwater salinization, soil health monitoring, Clean-In-Place systems etc.

The DigFed challenges seek startups who are:

  • Developing innovative smart solutions worthy of market leaders
  • Bridging the physical and virtual worlds with advanced technologies and industrialised solutions
  • Interested in using premium resources and competencies to speed up solutions development
  • Wishing to access a unique European ecosystem composed of leading industrial companies, world-class research organisations, innovation accelerators and private investors

Why get involved:

  • The opportunity to respond to a real-world industry challenge adding a relevant use case to your unique value proposition.
  • Up to €100k in funding – representing 70% of your project’s declared budget.
  • Added value to your product, through high-level technical expertise, innovation support and access to pilot sites to deploy your solution
  • The opportunity to bid to implement the full solution for the Digital Challenge Owner
  • Innovation management support focusing on sustainable business development – to help your innovation get to the market via DigiFed and the Smart Anything Everywhere ecosystem.
  • Digital Innovation Hub (DIH) services to identify technical partners, commercial opportunities in Europe and receive tailored support, webinars and boot camps through the DigiFed project.
  • Opportunity to start a commercial partnership (manufacturing of the solutions) with Acciona
  • Opportunity to participate to solve additional challenges for Acciona

Next steps

To find out more about this open call here or email the team at [email protected]

Key dates:

  • Open call pre-selection Deadline: 30 July
  • Open call application deadline: 28 September