DEMONSTRATION OF A COST-EFFICIENT SOLUTION TO PREVENT EVAPORATION LOSSES, ENSURE WATER QUALITY AND PRODUCE RENEWABLE ENERGY IN AGRICULTURAL WATER RESERVOIRS

Reference: LIFE21-ENV-ES-LIFE H2OLOCK/101074546 | Acronym: LIFE21-ENV-ES-LIFE H2OLOCK

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

The European Environmental Agency estimated that around 30% of EU citizens and 20% of the Europe’s territory is affected by water stress on average every year. Agriculture accounts for around 22.5% of the total freshwater abstracted in the EU, with significant differences occurring between Member States. In arid or semi-arid conditions (typical for southern EU), irrigation accounts for nearly 80% of agricultural water use. Agricultural water reservoirs (AWR) play a significant role in agricultural irrigation systems in Europe, especially in areas where water scarcity is a critical issue, such as the south of Spain. However, AWR are open to the atmosphere most of the time, leading to significant losses. In the Segura basin alone, annual losses amount to 78 Hm3, with evaporation affecting 6.5% to 11.7% of the water level.

Existing solutions, however, for minimising this loss are not cost-efficient for agriculture. Furthermore, the sector’s energy demand has increased due to the installation of more efficient irrigation systems. This has led to the installation of solar panels on AWR to produce clean energy and balance costs. The panels also partially cover AWR, helping reduce evaporation without offering a cost-efficient solution.

Moreover, AWR are vulnerable to excessive algal growth (eutrophication) that negatively affects the quality of the water and can give off unpleasant odours. Algal growth can also block pumps, filters and pipes, while its decomposition depletes the oxygen levels in the water, thus further reducing its quality problems and releasing iron and nutrient from sediments. A range of methods can treat algae blooms, but their effectiveness is highly variable and demands more research. A common solution is to cover the basins with windbreakers or floating covers on the surface of the water.


OBJECTIVES

The LIFE H2OLOCK project aims to demonstrate a versatile and cost-efficient solution, specifically designed for medium to large AWR, for decreasing water evaporation, suppressing algae growth without the use of algicides (after 15-30 days of use) and producing renewable energy for irrigation systems. The goal is to improve evaporation performance from 80% with existing solutions to 85-90%. These aims will be achieved by applying a novel combination of floating modules, floating blankets and flexible solar cell panels integrated in floating blankets. The project’s approach helps reduce the pressure on water resources, promoting sustainable water management and contributing to the transition to the use of sustainable, renewable energy by the agricultural sector.

Specifically, the project aims to:

  • Demonstrate the technical feasibility of the cost-effective integrated solution;
  • Implement photovoltaic panels on AWR covers that fully supply irrigation energy demands (production of at least 50 W/m2), thus demonstrating a energy solution that is particularly attractive for farmers in isolated areas or developing countries with intermittent access to fuel for generators;
  • Reduce costs by 30% compared with the installation and maintenance of conventional technologies, with the aim  of keeping costs below €9/m2 by the end of the project;
  • Demonstrate a versatile system design and configuration that can be transferred to all types of AWR across Europe and elsewhere regardless of climate and weather conditions; and
  • Carry out a lifecylce analysis to show the environmental and social benefits of the solution.


RESULTS

Expected results:

The main expected results of the project are:

  • Decrease of the evaporation of agricultural water ponds saving 70-120 000 m3 during the project and 1.3 Mm3 in 5 years.
  • Sustainable water management avoiding the use of algicides: avoid the use 700kg of algicides during the project and 15 tons in 5 years.
  • Increase of the cost-efficiency of the solution: savings of €59 006.21 for the Spanish demo site and €21 064.7 for the Portuguese demo site. In 5 years, €1.5 M for AWR in semi-arid areas and €0.472 M for greenhouse areas.
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions from agricultural exploitations: 77% reduction of CO2 emissions derived from irrigation and reduction of energy consumption in around 95%.
  • Social impact in employment with the creation of 35-60 employments in 5 years.

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE21-ENV-ES-LIFE H2OLOCK/101074546
Acronym: LIFE21-ENV-ES-LIFE H2OLOCK
Start Date: 01/09/2022
End Date: 31/10/2025
Total Eligible Budget: 1,782,371 €
EU Contribution: 1,067,258 €
Project Location:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: ARADA INGENIERIA SL
Legal Status: PRIVATE
Address: CALLE DEL ALAMO NUM 23 PLANTA 1 PTA, 30800, MURCIA, España
Contact Person: Jose Miguel GIMENO
Email: Send Email
Website: Visit Website


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Water scarcity and drought
  • Renewable energies
  • Supply
  • Water saving

KEYWORDS

  • eutrophication
  • scarcity
  • water saving
  • water supply
  • irrigation
  • energy supply
  • climate change mitigation
  • renewable energy
  • drought

TARGET EU LEGISLATION

  • Directive 2000/60 - Framework for Community action in the field of water policy (23.10.2000)
  • Recast Directive 2018/2001/EU (DIRECTIVE (EU) 2018/2001 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 11 December 2018 on the promotion of the use of energy from renewable sources (recast)
  • COM(2012)0672 - Report on the Review of the European Water Scarcity and Droughts Policy (14.11.2012)

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
COMUNIDAD DE REGANTES DE LORCA Participant
FUNDACION CENTRO TECNOLOGICO DE COMPONENTES Participant
GLOBAL FACTOR INTERNATIONAL CONSULTING SL Participant
ARADA INGENIERIA SL Coordinator
ARANA WATER MANAGEMENT SOCIEDAD LIMITADA Participant
AVIPE-ASSOCIACAO DE VITICULTORES DO CONCELHO DE PALMELA Participant