The UFTEC project aims at demonstrating the technical, environmental and economic feasibility of direct ultrafiltration (UF) pre-treatment to reverse osmosis (RO) as an alternative to the conventional pre-treatment of surface water. The project has a total duration of three years (01 September 2010 – 31 August 2013), two of which are focused on the demonstration of the efficiency of three UF membrane configurations at prototype scale in parallel with the conventional pre-treatment installed in the Drinking Water Treatment Plant (WTP) at Sant Joan Despí (Barcelona). The impact of the abovementioned pre-treatments, both conventional and UF, on the subsequent RO step will also be assessed at pilot scale.
The alternative pre-treatment proposed would reduce the environmental and economic cost in WTPs owing to the expected lower energy and chemicals’ consumption as well as water losses in the UF pre-treatment of the UF technology. The project results will serve to estimate the potential of the direct UF pre-treatment to be implemented in regions with similar hydric stress and low-quality resources to the Llobregat River basin.