Cadagua is developing an Early Warning System for Plankton Blooms
The presence of phytoplankton causes important operating problems for seawater desalination plants using Reverse Osmosis (RO) and, depending on the size of the Bloom, can even totally paralyse such installations, due to the inability to maintain appropriate water quality for this to be fed to the RO racks.
Even though specific pre-treatments to face these phenomena do exist, their operation is usually costly, for which reason their activation should only be performed in situations in which this is really necessary. The decision to activate this equipment is usually taken after visually inspecting the area, which may lead to errors deriving from such inspection, which will have an important impact on the operating costs associated with such equipment.
The availability of more reliable information on the time probability of phytoplankton being present at the desalination plant input, together with a quantification of its size, would make it possible to run the equipment in a more efficient manner, with the result cost savings.
In this scenario, Cadagua is developing in collaboration with the Technological Institute of Galicia, the Agro-food Technology and Research Institute and Ferrovial, the “Phytoplankton Detection” project which consists in designing and developing a pilot early phytoplankton warning system at the water intake in desalination plants, in order to detect the presence of these phenomena sufficiently in advance and with a reliability above 90%. The agile Scrum project methodology is used for its management (a process minimising risks while performing a project in a collaborative manner).
The result of this project will allow for the design and implementation of pilot equipment for algal bloom detection, transferrable to any other area, involving minimum work to calibrate the models developed for the area and point of interest selected.