cartiF Projects


Towards a small & Integral treatment of natual radioactivity in water provision services


One of the current challenges of drinking water is the presence of natural radioactivity.

LIFE ALCHEMIA is an European project co-financed by the LIFE programme of the European Union, whose consortium is formed by the CARTIF, as project coordinator, Diputación de Almería, Solar Energy Reasearch Center (CIESOL) belonging to the University of Almería, Tallin University of Technology, University of Tartu and Viimsi Vesi Ltd., public organization responsible for supplying drinking water for the Viimsi parish.

LIFE ALCHEMIA offers a breakthrough in this problem, through the use of radioactivity removal systems based on bed filters, which will reduce up to five times the cost of the water purification.



  • Remove/reduce the natural radioactivity from drinking water through the use of different environmentally sustainable systems based on bed filters, mainly.
  • Demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of using these systems, through 4 pilot plants, 3 in the province of Almería (Spain), and another in Viimsi (Estonia).
  • To minimize the generation of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Materials (NORM).


  • Selection of filter materials (laboratory scale tests).
  • Design and construction of the pilot plants. Validation and operation of the pilot plants for at least two years.
  • Analysis of costs and benefits of different scenarios tested for the treatment of radioactivity.
  • Development of a database that shows the levels of natural radioactivity in the treated water in DWTPs of the EU.
  • Replication studies of the LIFE ALCHEMIA solutions.

Expected results

  • Reduce the radionuclides concentration in drinking water, such as uranium and radio, between 75% and 90%. And the indicative dose in drinking water will be <0.1 mSv/yr.
  • Reduce the amount of NORM generated during the removal of radioactivity by 90%.
  • Reduce the energy and carbon footprint associated with the urban water cycle.
  • Reduce the cost of the water treatment (energy consumption by 80% compared to RO).


Video presenttion of the project:

LIFE Programme

LIFE16 ENV/ES/000437

Programa LIFE

Total budget: 1,523,450€

EU contribution: 803,960€

Duration: 02/10/2017 – 31/12/2020


Marta Gómez Rincón

Division of Agrifood and Processes


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