With over three decades of experience as a teacher and researcher at the Autonomous University of Yucatán (UADY), chemical engineer Jorge Lechuga Andrade dedicated his recent years to developing the invention of his life, an innovative system that allows for the transformation of saltwater into freshwater, an invention that earned him national recognition.
How did this innovative project come about?
In 2005, while pursuing a doctorate in Project Engineering at the Polytechnic University of Catalonia, I developed the idea for this desalination system when I realized the increasing membrane technology or reverse osmosis, based on high pressure that filters saltwater to obtain potable and low hardness water that can be consumed according to WHO standards.
Is it unique of its kind?
There are similar systems, but the one I developed uses the centrifugal reverse osmosis technique with Dean vortices, which provides several advantages.
What are some of these advantages?
Energy recovery and less pollution. In this regard, I made technological innovations through pilot tests to work with less energy, using low-pressure centrifugation and filtration support.
What is reverse osmosis about?
Reverse osmosis involves a static membrane that receives water at high pressure, which becomes dirty in the process and needs to be cleaned. The membranes are self-cleaning, which saves energy and water.
What system could replace your invention?
In desalination processes, there is vaporization, which involves a change of state from vapor to liquid and from liquid to vapor, consuming a lot of energy and polluting the atmosphere.
Has your invention already been patented?
It has already been successfully registered with the Mexican Institute of Industrial Property and the United States Patent Office, undergoing rigorous tests of effectiveness.
What recognition has this system earned you?
In 2015, I was honored with the National Award from the Mexican Institute of Chemical Engineers, but this is not the end. I will continue along the path of research I have set for myself, to increase knowledge, expand projects, and of course, continue supporting student education as a teacher and researcher in the Faculty of Chemical Engineering at the Campus of Exact Sciences.