NATUCER collaborates with REMEB, backing diversification in the ceramic sector

  • FACSA, the Institute for Ceramic Technology (ITC) of the Universitat Jaume I (UJI) of Castellón and the Valencia Region Council of Chambers of Commerce participate in a press conference in NATUCER company.
  • NATUCER, ceramic tile industry, is manufacturing the REMEB low-cost eco-friendly ceramic membranes to be used for water treatment.

Castellón, February 17, 2017 Last Friday, FACSA, ITC-UJI, and the Valencia region Council of Chambers of Commerce presented the REMEB project in a press conference together with the ceramic manufacturing company NATUCER, which is manufacturing the REMEB ceramic membranes to be used for water treatment. In the event, covered by multiple media from the province of Castellón and Valencia region, the several representatives talked about the project background, its objectives, the advantages of using this technology and the difficulties faced during its development.

The initiative is part of the European project REMEB, funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Grant Agreement 641998, with a budget of 2.3 million Euros, starting in September 2015 and concluding in August 2018.

The REMEB consortium is developing a novel membrane bioreactor (MBR). It is an ecological and competitive technology equipped with low-cost ceramic membranes, made from ceramic and other agroindustrial wastes, which allows, after filtration, the reuse of water in urban and industrial treatment plants.

“We saw that there was a market niche and we considered creating ceramic membranes to replace the polymers that are being used today, since they have less durability and resistance compared to this new product,” explained Juan Antonio Llopis, responsible for the Area of Sanitation and Purification of FACSA.

In fact, these new membranes are more economic than the polymeric ones. This will mean a significant cost savings for wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). Among other advantages, Elena Zuriaga, R&D technician at FACSA and project coordinator, also emphasized that “they have better chemical, thermal and mechanical properties, which allow the membranes to work under severe conditions and that more aggressive cleaning procedures can be applied” In addition, Enrique Sánchez, Professor in Chemical Engineering and researcher of the ITC, certified that “the water obtained through this system has an excellent quality”.

The membranes manufacturing process follows the typical process of ceramic tile manufacturing through extrusion. NATUCER, always focusing on innovation, agreed to collaborate in the project, providing its technology and transferring its know-how.

Javier Rubert, NATUCER Technical Director, admitted that the project has been “a challenge” for the company, which has had to adapt its production process. Rubert also emphasized that although in the beginning these ceramic membranes will be developed in Spain “it is a project that can be exported to the whole world, which can be applied to treat both urban and industrial waste water.”

Although for the time being the manufacture of these membranes is centralised in NATUCER facilities in Spain, the project will be replicated on a pilot scale in other countries, such as Turkey and Italy. The REMEB MBR will be validated at the Aledo WWTP (Murcia) in order to reuse the water obtained for irrigation in an area with water shortages.

In addition to FACSA, REMEB consortium is integrated by ITC-UJI (Spain), IPROMA (Spain), ESAMUR (Spain), Valencia Region Council of Chambers of Commerce (Spain), Centro Ceramico di Bologna (Italy), IMECA PROCESS (France), Biowater Technology (Norway), Atlantis Consulting (Cyprus), Seramik Arastirma Merkezi AS (Turkey) and Universidad Antonio Nariño (Colombia).