ADU-RES is a Coordination Action aiming to bridge the gap between successful R&D work and commercialisation of renewable energy powered desalination systems. The financial support of the European Commission started on April 2004 and was completed by the end of September 2006. However, the ADU-RES network is still active, building on its success and further pursuing its main objectives.

The work is focused on stand alone systems, which will cover part of the pressing water needs of arid rural areas in the Mediterranean region. The international consortium has focused its work on the following two main objectives:

  1. Further development of integrated plant designs for mature and cost efficient autonomous desalination units (ADUs) based on renewable energy systems (RES)

  2. Formulation of political strategies for boosting implementation of autonomous desalination units within the existing political and legislative frameworks in the Mediterranean

1. Many pilot systems producing few cubic meters of fresh water per day are operating successfully under the supervision of research institutes. Still, commercial applications remain rare. Now is the time to strengthen and unite research work for the design of robust and cost-effective desalination plants that operate autonomously. Some of the remaining scientific and technical challenges are:

• Radical cost reduction

• Advanced management and control system

• Improved long-term reliability

• Environmentally sound set-ups

2. Wide-scale implementation of autonomous desalination units requires favourable legislative and institutional framework conditions. Within ADU-RES we examined the relevant legislation in the EU and in various Mediterranean countries and elaborated policy strategies for boosting renewable energy based desalination. Concrete suggestions on how to improve existing EU legislation, such as the EU Water Framework Directive, were formulated.

ADU-RES reaches policy makers and think tanks, providing them with expert analysis and recommendations for the promotion of desalination units. Widespread circulation of reports, methodology and guidelines amongst the research and industry communities will maintain a fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue on the issue.