The main objective of the project, called Urban-Block, is to directly reuse the water from the rain, preventing it from entering the public sewer and thereby being purified or lost.
As Antonio López, Prototec’s head of R&D, explains, the filtering system “is made through porous materials and ecological resins, capable of blocking granules from 0.5 cm. of diameter contained in the water of the puddles of the roads ”. The procedure is as follows: the curb filters the water that accumulates on the roads in the form of puddles. From there, a channel inside leads the water to a cistern (which can be located in flowerpots, tanks under roundabouts, etc.). Thus, the water is stored free of solid waste and ready to be used for cleaning streets, irrigation, fountains, etc.
The invention, in the process of being patented, has been developed entirely by two Sevillian companies: Prototec and Emaplicada. According to Juan José Giraldo, Prototec’s manager, sustainability has been especially sought as an objective. “Rainwater does not need to be treated, so letting it reach the sewer system – where it is treated – represents a loss of energy and an economic cost. Its storage is our best option ”, he clarifies.
Another advantage of this ecological curb is that it uses exclusively waste materials from construction, thus achieving the dual objective of reducing costs and recycling waste materials. According to Giraldo, another great advantage of Urban-Block is its versatility. “The collected water can be stored or distributed anywhere, since the pipeline included in the curb can easily connect with other structures, such as roundabouts, public buildings, pipes of all kinds, etc. And the price of the module is totally competitive due to the use of waste materials for its manufacture, as well as the simplicity of its design ”, he clarifies.
The invention is still in the development phase, as companies are studying various alternative materials for the filtering process. “A possible problem could be the clogging of the pores by granules and sediments from the water in the long term, so we are investigating different materials that are easily cleanable or even replaceable”, explains Antonio López from Prototec.
Regarding the means that have been used to develop the curb, López places great emphasis on the use, at all times, of free software. “At Prototec we are specialized in the development of open source software and solutions, so of course we also use them in our projects,” he clarifies. In this way, they have exclusively used this type of free and freely available programs for the design of their invention. On the future of the same, they are “open to collaborate with other companies interested in the project.”