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Bringing the REFRESH waterbag technology to full scale: XXL-REFRESH

REFRESH waterbag towed by tugboatWater is the most vital resource for human life. Scarcity of fresh water is an issue of increasing importance for the Mediterranean area and worldwide: urbanisation, extensive irrigation and the variations in rainfall patterns due to global climate change have led to over-exploitation of existing aquifers and reservoirs across the Mediterranean; in addition, massive tourist influx is putting even more pressure on the already limited resources during the summer season.

Such very large seasonal fluctuation in demand, the already limited availability of water resources and the geographically isolated location of many tourist destinations demand innovative, flexible and affordable solutions for the bulk transport of large quantities of fresh water from water-rich to water-poor regions.

The FP7 project REFRESH developed and successfully tested at medum scale an innovative product/service for the sea transport of fresh water, by developing a flexible and cost effective solution based on the use of modular flexible plastic containers (waterbags) towed by a tugboat.

However, a significant gap has to be bridged to bring the REFRESH technology to full scale - more than ten times the capacity of the original system. 

The XXL-REFRESH project was born to address this challenge. The project, started in September 2013 and running throughout August 2015, will redesign the REFRESH system to produce a commercial scale oceanic version of the modular waterbag, which will be demonstrated in a first-of-its-kind full scale voyage from the mouth of river Manavgat, in Turkey, to a large Mediterranean island (Cyprus, Rhodes and Crete among the candidates).

XXL-REFRESH is a SME-targeted Demonstration project funded within the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under grant agreement no. 606423. 

Learn all about the first REFRESH tests here: http://www.refresh-fp7.eu/page/31/REFRESH_waterbag_test.html  

WATCH THE REFRESH DOCUMENTARY ON EURONEWS