Energy Recovery Case Study: Llobregat Desalination Plant

Solving a Drought Crisis Through Desalination

Energy Recovery Case Study: Llobregat Desalination Plant

Barcelona endured lengthy spells of severe drought, creating serious water shortages. In 2008, the city imported fresh water at substantial cost. To ensure a secure and reliable water supply, the government explored many possible solutions and decided that reverse osmosis desalination was the most viable long-term option. With a capacity of 200,000 m³/day (52.8 million gallons/day), the Barcelona (Llobregat) Desalination Plant is one of the largest seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination plants in Europe. Built on behalf of Aiges Ter Llobregat by a consortium of Aiges de Barcelona (AGBAR), Dragados, DRACE medioambiente and Degremont, the plant will deliver water to an estimated 4.5 million residents in the region, accounting for about 24 percent of the area's water supply.


The plant is located on the left bank of the Llobregat Delta, alongside the Baix Llobregat Wastewater Treatment Plant. It is configured into two production lines, each with a capacity of 100,000 m3/day and consisting of two passes: 10 first-pass trains with a nominal capacity of 23,100 m3/day and a partial second pass of two trains, each with a nominal production of approximately 16,500 m3/day. Each of the 10 trains is fitted with 23 PX devices and a variety of other pressure equipment. The PX devices are estimated to reduce the plant power consumption by 18 MW, saving more than 157 GWh of energy per year, and help it avoid 92,900 tons of CO2 emissions per year.

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