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SOPHyE team

Topic "Processes for water desalination and salt valorization"

A few words

Processes for the desalination of water and the valorisation of salts

This theme aims at designing sustainable water desalination and salt valorization systems, autonomous by coupling with solar energy and decentralized systems for small communities. It considers different water resources: sea water, brackish groundwater, surface water influenced by tides, very complex and impacted by climate change in many estuaries.

The processes studied include pre-treatment operations and reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, membrane distillation (MD) and membrane crystallization. The approach is based on observation at the local scale with specifically developed tools, on experiments in real conditions and on eco-design.

The objectives are:

  • Understand the limiting phenomena (clogging and wetting) of the processes and define the membranes, pretreatments and conditions required
  • Design membrane modules of MD thermal collectors
  • Eco-design of passive integrated systems
  • Acquire data and model the dynamics related to environmental variations (tides, sunshine, resource quality, etc.)

Ongoing projects


2018 – 2022

"Membrane processes for the desalination of ocean water with solar energy in tropical areas”

in partnership with the company SunWaterlife. MOST has a dual objective of producing scientific knowledge and developing new modules and systems coupling membranes (MD or nanofiltration) and solar energy and usable for small communities and for surface waters influenced by tides. Students from INSA, GP3E (4A, 5A) contribute to the project. Theses : Gina Alfonso and Lucie Castagnet .



"Extracting water, minerals and energy from seawater desalination brines” .

This multidisciplinary project aims at designing membrane materials, innovative processes and an integrated chain to recover salts and energy during desalination. Our contribution concerns the DM and membrane crystallization processes, and the emerging photonic DM process, with a focus on the wetting dynamics of porous materials, in support of membrane screening, and on the modeling of coupled transfers. Theses : Tianyi Zhang and post-doc Tarik Eljaddi

Partners : Univ. of Calabria, Italy; Univ. Center Belhadj Bouchaib, Algeria; Tubitak MRC, Turkey; Univ. Hassan II Casablanca, Morocco; Univ. of Carthage, Tunisia , PC Cell GmbH, Germany).