Digitization and nanotechnologies of water in the rural environment

Implementation period

September 2020 – March 2021

Scope of work

Digital technology


This project has been funded by the national programme for clusters support “Ayudas a Agrupaciones Empresariales Innovadoras” (AEIs).


Rural areas require affordable and reliable wastewater treatment systems that support a strong seasonality in the discharge. GEEZAR and ACAI Depuración have combined their wastewater treatment and digitalization expertise, obtaining a system capable of working autonomously and remotely. One of the main challenges in water treatment is the development of solutions adapted to the rural environment. Many Spanish municipalities discharge their wastewater without sufficient treatment because they lack the necessary means. The causes of this situation are varied but can be summarised in the impossibility of affording traditional water treatment systems and in the high variation of the discharge flow throughout the day and in the different seasons of the year.


REURAL has had the following specific purposes:

Use 4.0 technologies (data collection through IoT and fast response intelligent control) to ensure the optimal operation of plants (existing and new).

Design and set up a facility using nanotechnologies that have been successfully tested in the laboratory.
Establish the steps to be followed to reach a demonstration level of operation in a real environment (TRL 7) of the nanotechnologies facility at the end of the Project or later.

Execute the tests and carry out the necessary measurements to improve the effluent quality and its reuse according to RD 1620/2007.

Evaluate the impact of the 4.0 technologies deployed on the operation and maintenance costs of both plants.


REURAL has developed an innovative solution that allows treating the effluents produced in the municipality of Alcalá de Gurrea through ultrafiltration and nanomembrane technologies, obtaining water at the outlet with sufficient quality for its reuse.

This achieves a double benefit: less environmental impact and better water use. The commitment to circularity is especially important in given the increasing scarcity of water, a key resource in the growing environment of water scarcity.

The digitalisation of the wastewater treatment plant allows it to operate autonomously, reducing costs and eliminating the need for personnel to use it on-site. This has been achieved by implementing sensors, control algorithms and a cloud-based management platform.

This plant has been operating in the municipality of Alcalá de Gurrea since March 2021, and the company plans to export it to other municipalities. Cheese factories, wineries and agri-food industries are potential sectors to implement this system, being necessary to increase the flow that the system can support.

This project has designed and installed a new regeneration and reuse system based on ultrafiltration and nanomembranes. This development responds to the needs of rural areas in terms of efficiency, autonomy and costs.

REURAL is an effective system to treat wastewater, even in areas with high seasonality and daily variation, with a minimum operating cost.
Finally, thanks to the high quality of the water at the outlet of the system, it can be reused for irrigation nearby areas.