Institute for Resource Management
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Brackish water - Desalination - Water desalination - E-learning - Advance education - Closed Loop Reverse Osmosis - Energy efficient - Energy self-sufficient - Zero liquid discharge - BMBF

From brackish to irrigation water: accessing new water resources

[Translate to English:] Landwirtschaftliche Bewässerung im Einzugsgebiet des Zayandeh Rud

The use of brackish water resources is becoming increasingly important for agricultural and industrial purposes in the Middle East. Improving current inefficient systems of brackish water exploitation is one of the ways to increase water availability in that region. To make this happen, the existing technological systems need to be further developed and enhanced.

The HighRec project aims to develop and test brackish water desalination technologies with the purpose of reducing energy consumption and minimizing brine concentrate. In addition, the installation and operation of the new technology will be supported with e-learning courses and manuals.

Enabling environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient desalination

One general problem with desalination is the high energy consumption and associated carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions. The second problem is the disposal of brine, a concentrate that has accounted for 40 to 50 percent of the raw water stream in brackish water desalination to date. Disposal of this brine is much more critical at inland sites than in seawater desalination.

The aim of the HighRec project is to develop highly flexible desalination systems using so-called Closed Loop Reverse Osmosis processes, which enable a very high recovery rate of up to 85 percent and a dynamic adaptation to changing compositions of the brackish water.

The system's energy supply is based on renewable energy sources with minimized battery buffering. Since the disposal of brine is one of the main drawbacks of inland desalination plants, a concept for concentration of brine up to Zero-Liquid is being developed and investigated both technically and economically.

Securing agricultural yields in Qatar and Iran

With the help of demonstration plants, corresponding investigations are planned at two different locations: In Qatar, brackish water will be desalinated for hydroponic agriculture and in Iran for the irrigation of saffron. For this purpose, inter 3 is exploring the availability and utilization potentials of brackish water resources in both countries in advance of the technological development.

Along with the development of the demonstration plants, inter 3 will analyze and evaluate the Closed Loop Reverse Osmosis process with comparable technologies using a multi-criteria assessment.

In parallel to the research and development work, inter 3 will didactically prepare the necessary knowledge and skills for launching, operation, maintenance and repair of the demonstration plants and develop self-explanatory digital learning and training units. These are intended to enable the specialist personnel on site to launch the plant independently and to carry out the regular maintenance measures and any necessary repair work in future.

Project Name:

Intensification of the recovery ratio of brackish water desalination systems for agriculture (HighRec)


Dr. Shahrooz Mohajeri, Tel.: +49(0)30-34 34 74 40

Naser M. Reyhani, Tel.: +49(0)30-34 34 74 44


Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)


Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesystem (ISE) (Verbundleitung)

Technische Universität Berlin, Fachgebiet Umweltverfahrenstechnik (TUB)


Deutschland, Iran, Katar


2021 -2024