- The Redawn project, a European initiative to promote efficiency in water networks, and organized by Feragua and the Watef group of the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, has served to put the pilot plant in Spain into operation, located in the farmhouse Calonge, in Palma del Río.
The aforementioned initiative is a three-year European innovation project that studies how to improve energy efficiency in water distribution networks in the Atlantic area through innovative technology based on the use of microturbines and inverse pumps. Endowed with a budget of 2.9 million euros, co-financed by Feder funds through the Interreg Atlantic Area program.
Among the Spanish partners are the University of Córdoba -which will define the technical requirements and develop the field research- and the Association of Irrigation Communities of Andalucía (Feragua).
Through this project the possibilities of mini-hydraulic energy will be evaluated in the water networks of the Atlantic area, including supply networks, industry networks and irrigation networks. To do so, it will have three pilot plants, such as the one installed in Palma del Río, where mini-hydroelectric power generators with medium power will be installed in the environment of 10 kilowatts.
The general secretary of Feragua, Pedro Parias, explained that 3% of global energy consumption is associated with the production, distribution and treatment of water, “sector that is the fourth that consumes the most energy and contributes greatly to the emission of CO2 “.
80% of the water cost for water supply is associated with the energy required for its collection
To the environmental impact, water treatment must be added the economic cost, “since up to 80% of the cost of water for water supply is associated with the energy required for its collection, treatment and distribution and in the case of irrigation, it represents average 30% of the budget of the farmer and in some cases exceeding 50%, “he added.
Parias has detailed that localized irrigation, which already represents 50% of the irrigated area in Spain and 75% in Andalusia, manages water more efficiently but consumes more energy, having doubled its electricity costs since 2008, and rising in Andalusia, the electricity bill for irrigation costs around 180 million Euros.
This data, together with the forecast of the 33% growth of the world population by 2050 and more than 50% of the energy demand, is necessary to promote this type of hydroelectric energy recovery technology in water networks, which in the case of The Calonge farm estate pilot plant will help recover “around 12 megawatt hours and generate an environmental saving of more than 9.5 tons of CO2,” he said.