CTC boosts the efficiency of floating elements in the H2Olock Project

The CTC Technology Centre has enhanced the performance of the floating devices used in the European LIFE H2Olock project. This project introduces an innovative approach to the sustainable management of agricultural ponds with a modular cover designed to prevent water evaporation. Within this framework, the Cantabrian research team has successfully ensured that the protective elements consistently return to their designated positions in all instances.

This is crucial for achieving one of the proposal’s objectives: to ensure water evaporation control efficiency of up to 80-85%, compared to the 75-80% offered by current market solutions. Verónica González de Lena, CTC’s Industry and Energy Manager, oversees this research, which has now surpassed its midway development milestone.

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At the recent monitoring meeting in Lorca, attended by European Community supervisors, Ms González de Lena explained how they had achieved the self-righting capability of the devices and ensured they consistently return to their original position. She also outlined the key features of the monitoring system that controls the performance of the floating elements.

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The development of an interface displaying all relevant parameters for real-time monitoring of water resource states marks the final phase of a system whose deployment began in November 2023. CTC researchers travelled to the La Jeresa pond in Murcia, where they installed a weather station to gather environmental data, load cells to track forces on the moorings of the floating devices, cameras to observe the pond’s covered surface and a pressure sensor to measure the non-evaporating water percentage in the pond.

Four months into the project, these indicators can now be monitored in real time and historical data can be accessed for comparative analysis. With these advancements, the project completes its second work package. The next challenge involves validating this monitoring system in an agricultural pond in Portugal, another test site identified by the consortium. The installation of the modules has commenced, and the sensor system associated with the project is slated for subsequent installation.

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Balsa La Jeresa

The LIFE H2Olock project is supported by a budget of EUR 1.8 million and features a consortium comprising a European interdisciplinary team, including Arana, the coordinating company known for pioneering sustainable water pond coverings for agricultural use in Europe; the Lorca Irrigation Community (Comunidad de Regantes de Lorca, CRL), among Spain’s largest irrigation communities; Avipe, the Portuguese Farmers’ Association with a focus on the vine sector; Arada, an engineering firm specialising in hydraulic infrastructures with expertise in water and energy conservation projects; Global Factor International, a consultancy firm specialising in climate neutrality and sustainability; and the CTC Technology Centre.

Beyond water evaporation control, the project aims to curb algae growth without resorting to algaecides and generate renewable energy for irrigation systems through solar panels installed on the covers. The project is scheduled for completion by 31 October 2025.