Functional Units | Photosynthesis and Desalination

The “Desalination and Photosynthesis” unit is made up of researchers from the Chemical Engineering Department of the Universidad de Almeria and from the Plataforma Solar de Almería who are starting a new independent research group with synergies from two fields. The researchers of this unit also are adscribed to the Plan Andaluz de Investigación research groups “Ingeniería de bioprocesos y tecnologías del agua, BIO263”, “Biotecnología de microalgas marinas, BIO173”, and to Plataforma Solar de Almería. This unit was started in 2014 and began with the set up and operation of new installations and facilities dedicated to water desalination with solar energy by using hydrophobic membranes as well as the application of solar energy in biological microalgae-based depuration processes. Both lines present ample opportunities for synergy and for collaboration with other units within CIESOL which raise frequent colaborations.



The group works in two parallel lines dealing with solar energy application in desalination using membrane systems and microalgal cultivation particularly oriented to recycling by solar energy-driven synthesis of commodities such as biofertilizers or biodiesel and value products such as carotenoids and essential fatty acids. Seawater is the main raw material the research deals with although other types of feed, such as freshwater, brines, rackish waters or wastewaters are also considered. The core research lines are:

  • Development of membrane-based solar desalination and water treatment systems.

  • Application of solar energy to the treatment of hypersaline media.

  • Recovery of value compouds from brines and hypersaline effluents.

  • Design of photobioreactors for the cultivation of microalgae.

  •  Applications of microalgae to the purification of wastewaters and industrial effluents.

  • Valorization of microalgal biomass obtained from wastewater.



Jose M. Fernández Sevilla  -  Scopus Author ID 6602856181

Professor of Chemical Engineering at Universidad de Almeria, currently affiliated with the Engineering Department at Universidad de Almería. He obtaines a Degree in Industrias Chemistry (Químico Industrial) at Universidad de Granada in 1991 and a PhD. In Cheminstry in 1995 at the Universidad de Almería. He has worked in in twelve I+D projects in the international and spanish national levels, as lead reseacher in  five of them. He has participated also in 15 research contracts funded by companie, has also advised  six PhD. Theses and is the co-author of seven patents and over one-hundred scientific publications in peer-reviewed internationa journals.


Guillermo Zaragoza del Águila -  Scopus Author ID: 6701505211

PhD in Applied Physics by the University of Granada, Spain (1996). Has held academic positions in the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas of Spain (CSIC), the University of Oxford, and is currently a senior researcher in the Department of Energy of Spanish CIEMAT (Centre for Energy, Environment and Technology Research), at the Plataforma Solar de Almería (Solar Desalination Unit). Has published more than 60 papers in peer-reviewed international journals, presented more than 100 papers on international conferences, authored 8 book chapters and co-authored 3 books. Teaches in international courses on Solar Desalination organized by the European Desalination Society and is presently coordinating the Renewable Energy Desalination Action Group of the European Innovation Partnership on Water of the European Commission, as well as the Working Group on the same subject in the European Water Platform WssTP.