This solar desalination plant invent by students from Malaga and also produces green hydrogen
A team of young students from the University of Malaga has won the prestigious Green Manufacturing Award 2023 thanks to their innovative project: AdSol. This initiative offers a sustainable and efficient solution to desalinate seawater.
AdSol is an innovative desalination plant that uses condensation and solar energy to transform salt water into fresh water. With nine square meters, it consumes only 17% of energy compared to traditional desalination plants.
Additionally, it offers better brine handling and produces higher-purity water, making it ideal for offshore green hydrogen production. It is a sustainable and efficient solution with a low environmental impact.
The proposal has stood out for its low production cost and for generating minimal amounts of residual brine, which comprehensively addresses two crucial problems: the scarcity of drinking water and the fight against the climate crisis.
A project of the University of Malaga
The team behind AdSol is six students and a director from the University of Malaga.
María Martínez leads the engineering team, Pedro Benito is responsible for information technology systems, Ignacio Colombo is the director of operations, Juanjo Vallejo is the executive director, and Ayman Bouachi and Andrés Florido are the engineer’s mechanical and electrical, respectively. Alejandro Rodríguez is the director of the School of Engineering and the mentor of this project at UMA.
The idea for AdSol arose in 2019 as a final degree project by Juanjo Vallejo, and since then, the team has worked tirelessly for four years to bring it to life.
The inspiration came from looking for a way to combine the abundance of solar energy in the Malaga region, and most of the planet’s water is found in the oceans. The solution was to create a floating desalination plant that collects and uses solar energy to desalinate seawater and turn it into drinking water.
The AdSol system has been recognized not only with the Green Manufacturing Award 2023 but also won other awards, such as the Climate Launchpad, the largest sustainability event at the university and business level in Spain, and the spin-off award from the University of Malaga. These achievements highlight the importance and potential of the project to address global challenges and promote sustainability.
Green hydrogen production
AdSol’s proposal is not limited to the desalination of water for human consumption. The team is currently concentrating on desalinating water for use in offshore green hydrogen production.
That is especially relevant since green hydrogen has positioned itself as a key energy vector for the ecological transition.
The AdSol team is determined to take their project to the next phase, working on the development and commercialization of the floating desalination device. They have received the patent nationally and internationally, which gives protection and recognition globally.
With the support received through awards and exposure in different contests, the team has managed to access resources, mentoring, and financing, which will allow them to advance in the realization of their vision. The objective of the AdSol team for the year 2026 is to have a device finished, operational, and ready for commercialization.