Outstanding Cum Lauden for the thesis of Federico León Zerpa (ULPGC)

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Outstanding Cum Lauden for the thesis of Federico León Zerpa (ULPGC) on proposals for energy efficiency analysis methodologies in desalination plants (MITIMAC project).

On 10 February, Federico León Zerpa, from the ULPGC (partner of the DESAL+ project) defended his doctoral thesis.

The doctoral thesis, which was supervised by Dr. Alejandro Ramos Martín (Secretary of the Dept. of Process Engineering), was defended in front of an examining board made up of Dr. Rosario Berriel Martínez (Former Vice-Rector of the ULPGC), Dr. Fabián Déniz Quintana (Director of the Dept. of Electrical Engineering) and Dr. Baltasar Peñate Suárez (Head of the Dept. of Water of the ITC).

In this defence, Federico presented his research work showing several of the results obtained after implementing an analysis model of the reverse osmosis process in seawater desalination plants, taking the Canary Islands as an example, among others. The dual objective of this study is to propose a methodology for analysing the energy efficiency of desalination plants, from the point of view of the emissions produced, the carbon and ecological footprint of the system; and the design and implementation of pilots in desalination plants, in a systematic way, to evaluate energy improvements in water desalination processes. The development of this doctoral thesis is part of one of the activities associated with the international projects DESAL+ and MITIMAC, co-funded by the Interreg MAC 2014-2020 Cooperation Programme, with codes MAC/1.1a/094 and MAC2/1.1a/263, respectively.  

By analysing the emissions mix factor, a calculation methodology can be established to estimate the carbon footprint of the energy mix in the reference period, taking into account the sum of the energies of each technology and the emissions mix factor of each of them. Within the proposed methodology, the determination of water production per island has been established according to the emissions factor of each territory and taking into account that these are isolated electricity systems. The pollution factor associated with water production is different on each island because they are isolated electricity systems and the energy mix of the electricity system is different. Therefore, a methodology has been established for each island. Because the power system is different on each island, there is also a difference in the pollution factor for water production. For this reason, a technique for the estimation of a factor more appropriate to the reality on each island has been developed. All of this has been developed in different international publications in prestigious scientific journals such as Desalination, Water, Desalination and Water Treatment, DYNA, etc.

The members of the examining board expressed that the contribution that this thesis makes to the body of knowledge is very relevant, considered it very positively and evaluated the research work carried out with the maximum qualification “Outstanding – Cum Laude”. They considered that the development and continuation of this work will allow to increase the improvement in energy efficiency in reverse osmosis desalination plants; and expressed the validity of the future lines of research proposed to be carried out after the completion of this work, considered of high scientific interest.

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