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Brunel to help mine water in €17m EU project

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Researchers from Brunel University London have joined the launch of the EU’s €17m Water Mining project.

The Europe-wide project will draw on the expertise of a consortium of 38 partner organisations in 12 countries and aims to develop new and efficient ways to reclaim nutrients, minerals, energy and water from seawater and industrial and urban wastewater.

Sites will be built in Cyprus, Spain, Portugal, Italy and The Netherlands to demonstrate a selection of new technologies developed by the partners, who hope to drive Europe’s water sector towards a circular economy model.

“In this exciting project, Brunel will work strategically with a range of technology providers, policy makers, businesses and civic society organisations to create a much more effective and resilient resources system – boosting the economy, reducing environmental impact and improving consumer wellbeing,” said Dr Evina Katsou, leader of Brunel’s Water Engineering Group, who will oversee the circularity and sustainability evaluation of the demonstration activities for the project with the assistance of PhD student Eliza Nika and Senior Research Fellow Dr Daniel Dias.

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Brunel’s role, backed by a €460,000 grant from the EU’s Horizon 2020 fund, will also involve supporting the development of tools to evaluate the minerals in water and provide automation and control solutions to factories and mines to help them efficiently extract those minerals.

Dr Ali Mousavi, head of Brunel’s Systems Engineering Research Group, said: “Water mining is a very exciting and interesting concept – when I heard of water and mines, and the idea of water becoming a mine, it blew my mind.

“Our expertise is mainly in translating and transforming the information from the sensors into operational data.

“So, for example, you want to minimise the energy consumption whilst you’re extracting the material, the job of system automation and controllers is to ensure that we build the system in a way that it conforms to those objective functions of the system.”

The project will be led by TU Delft in The Netherlands and is scheduled to last four years.

Dr Katsou said: “We’re excited to work with the Water Mining consortium and contribute to the delivery of a stronger circular economy package in the water sector.”

Reported by:

Tim Pilgrim, Media Relations
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