Site Visits

All technical visits will take place on 29 September, scheduled according to the time slot assigned to each one. Each technical visit will be limited to a maximum number of participants who must thus enrol in advance for each visit. All technical visits include return transportation between Porto and the site to be visited.

The registration on each site visits has a cost of € 20. The amount raised with these registrations will fully revert to a social responsibility project in Macia, in the south of Mozambique. If you want to know more about the Aqua - Water4Health project, please go to this link.


Águas do Porto, EM

Description of the visit

Águas do Porto is responsible for the integrated and sustainable management of the urban water cycle in the city of Porto. The company works in the following areas: water supply, wastewater drainage and treatment, storm water drainage, management of watercourses and coastal areas (beaches), environmental education and public participation.

The visit includes

The first part of the visit will be to the Nova Sintra Water Tank and Pumping Station. With a capacity of 45,000 cubic metres. This is the water supply system’s largest pumping station built in 1929.

The Freixo Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) is the second stop on the visit. This innovative WWTP is ideally located in an urban area landscaped with vegetation cover. The plant provides tertiary water treatment.

The third part of the visit will be to the Ouro Shone Ejector, which was built in 1903 and is a strategic point in the city´s wastewater system. This visit will allow us to study the oldest technology used in the system.

The fourth stop on the visit is to the Granja Stream, the city’s largest watercourse. This urban stream, which has undergone various rehabilitations, makes a major environmental contribution to Porto’s urban area.

This visit ends at a 4-km strip of seafront where 4 bathing areas have evolved (8 Blue Flag beaches). These beaches attract bathers and visitors from across the municipality and have become major tourist attractions.

What is innovative about it?

Águas do Porto applies the concept of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), as required by the City Council. This is an innovative approach that supports healthy ecosystems, lifestyles and livelihoods through sustainable management of all the city’s waters.

The Águas do Porto innovation strategy is supported by Big Data and Analytics, Mobility and Cloud solutions. Currently, the Innovation Unit is running 12 innovation projects linked to smart management, smart grids and smart metering, IT applications and e-infrastructures.

Location, time and accessibility

Meeting point: Barão de Nova Sintra Street (Águas do Porto building)

Duration: 4 hours


Águas de Portugal Group

Description of the visit

Situated on the left bank of the Douro River, the Lever complex is one of the finest structures of its kind in Europe and is much sought after as a site for research and development projects in the field of water treatment technologies. The complex has so far attracted numerous international technical delegations and is equally open to civil society through its state-of-the-art Environmental Education Centre.

The Lever WTP (Water Treatment Plant) produces an average of 270,000 cubic metres per day, to supply a total of 1.39 million people in Greater Porto and parts of the Vale do Sousa region.

The visit includes

The Lever complex includes a surface water catchment installation, a reservoir for raw water and another for treated water, a pre-treatment unit, a water treatment plant (WTP), a sludge treatment unit, two electrical substations, two pumping stations and three deep wells.

What is innovative about it?

This sophisticated set of water treatment technologies has an excellent environmental performance and, in physical terms, it has been perfectly integrated with the surrounding landscape.

The Lever complex is a one-of-a-kind infrastructure in Portugal, insofar as it combines surface water treatment with deep ground water abstraction in a sandy riverbed (at a depth of 25 metres). The surface water treatment has a number of unique features, such as the removal of solids at the pre-treatment stage, high-speed ozone injection and simultaneous flotation and filtration

Location, time and accessibility

During the visit, participants will be accompanied by a technician from the WTP operations staff and will have the opportunity to see the whole facility from the water inlet to the final effluent. Participants will see the changes in water quality across the water treatment process (duration 60-90 minutes).

Visitors will attend a presentation of the Lever WTP (demo sites visit duration: 60-90 min). The number of attendees is limited to 25, to ensure there is ample opportunity for technical discussion and an exchange of experiences. The bus journey from the venue to the WTP takes less than half an hour.


Águas de Portugal Group

Description of the visit

The Ilhavo and Cacia WWTPs, located in the Ria de Aveiro region, just to the south of Porto, were used as case studies for an R&D project that has been developed by Porto's Higher Institute of Engineering (ISEP). This project, based, amongst other things, on a student's master’s thesis, aims to apply artificial neural networks to the optimization of anaerobic digestions in treatment plants. The overall objective is to maximise the increase in production and/or quality of the biogas generated by these anaerobic digestions and, so, generate more electricity from this fuel. A new approach is underway for 201 and it is hoped that this will result in better advantage being taken of the features of the biogas produced.

The two treatment plants are medium-sized and include, in the solid phase, an anaerobic digestion stage with two digesters each and the respective equipment necessary for the heating of sludge and production of electricity. Together, they have made an outstanding contribution to the marked improvement seen in the Ria de Aveiro since the beginning of the last decade. Today, the lagoon is in a much better condition, thanks to the integrated system of sanitation that is mainly based on these two WWTPs. For all these reasons, the operations teams have been putting a lot of work into the different forms of research and collaboration they do with academic institutions. This work focuses on management efficiency and the reduction of operating costs for these infrastructures. Both WWTPs are near Porto and motorway access is good. Although the Ílhavo WWTP is located a little further away, it has the additional attraction of an innovative biogas treatment system and is, therefore, ideal for a visit focused on innovation.

The Ílhavo WWTP is located in the parish of Gafanha da Encarnação (Ílhavo municipality) and has been designed to treat 39,278 m3 per day of urban wastewater produced in the municipalities of Aveiro, Cantanhede, Ílhavo, Vagos and Mira (159,700 HE).

The plant, which cost around 14 million euros, has been in operation since August 2002 and plays a key role in the treatment of industrial wastewater produced in the region.

The treatment at the Ílhavo WWTP is secondary, and the treated wastewater is discharged into the Atlantic Ocean through the São Jacinto Submarine Pipeline (Aveiro). The plant also includes, as mentioned above, anaerobic digestion of sludge and cogeneration.

The visit includes

Ílhavo WWTP

Cacia WWTP

What is innovative about it?

Demonstration sites in the area of anaerobic digestion, particularly with regard to:

  • Biogas treatment through a biological percolation bed;
  • Optimization of anaerobic digestion by neural networks: Neural AD.

Ferric chloride is added to the mixed sludge (before shipping to digestion) to control the hydrogen sulphide concentration in the biogas. The final treatment of the biogas is carried out in 2 sets of chemical odour treatment scrubbers that have been adapted to act as biological percolation beds. Both the application of scientific knowledge and the efficient use of available resources at the WWTP have meant that out-of-service equipment now has a new use. The facility has been operating since 2013, with excellent hydrogen sulphide removal efficiency rates. This has meant that less ferric chloride needs to be used in the initial stage.

The Neural AD (Neural Networks + Anaerobic Digestion) project, involving ISEP and Águas do Centro Litoral (AdCL) (a subsidiary of AdP), has been in development since 2013. This is applied R&D with artificial neural networks being used to optimise anaerobic sludge digestion. The research has resulted in better prediction of the behaviour of the process under different conditions. This, in turn, has led to maximised energy recovery from the biogas produced in the sludge digestion project generated in the WWTP. The methodology was applied in 3 AdCL WWTPs (Cacia, Espinho and Ílhavo) and is still evolving. Initially designed in 2013 by Águas de Portugal (AdP) and ISEP, in the second year of development the Technical Higher Institute (IST), the Faculty of Science and Technology of Lisbon's Nova University, and the University Minho joined the project, by running case studies at other AdP Group WWTPs.

The Neural AD project won an International WEX Global Awards 2015 award, in the ‘Water and Energy’ category.

Location, time and accessibility

During the visit, participants will be accompanied by technicians from the WWTP operations staff and by the department coordinator responsible for the infrastructure operation, as well as a management representative. They will have the opportunity to see the whole facility from the water inlet to the final effluent, giving them the possibility of networking, at the same time, with the staff. Participants will see the changes in water quality across the water treatment process and the relation between the water treatments and the production of sludge and energy (duration 60-90 minutes).

Moreover, visitors will attend a presentation of the Neural AD project and biogas treatment and the applied results at the Ílhavo WWTP (demo sites visit duration: 60-90 min). The maximum number of attendees is 25, to ensure there is ample opportunity for technical discussion and an exchange of experiences. The facility is not adapted to people with reduced mobility. The participants will get to the WWTP by bus.


Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP)

Description of the site visit


The Faculty of Engineering at the University of Porto is engaged in education, research and innovation at the international level. Its work has led to the creation and transmission of knowledge, the training of competent and ethical professionals and future leaders in the fields of engineering and similar areas, and also the promotion of the wellbeing of our society as a whole.

FEUP hosts more than 25 R&D Centres, Interface Institutes, Associated Laboratories and Competence Centres dedicated to the different areas of engineering, including: water resources, environment, urban hydraulics, coastal infrastructures, offshore applications and water-related energy.

The proposed visit will be to FEUP’s Hydraulics Laboratory, which is a part of the Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division (SHRHA) of the Civil Engineering Department.

The Hydraulics Laboratory at the SHRHA is a top research facility with several ongoing R&D and innovation projects carried out by Ph.D. and post-doc researchers, M.Sc. students, senior engineers and professors in cooperation with national and international stakeholders in water research, innovation and the business sector.


The Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division has the mission of enhancing the local, national and international role of the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto in multidisciplinary research, training and consultancy with a clear focus on coastal and offshore zones, marine and fluvial environments, and urban areas.

SHRHA contributes with R&D activities related to water management, urban water infrastructures, water supply chains and infrastructures, such as dams.

It also has major projects and makes major contributions within the marine renewable energy sector, namely in wave energy research and offshore energy infrastructures. It also plays a crucial R&D role within estuarine, coastal protection and management activities, and ports, shipping and ocean engineering.

SHRHA supported by its Hydraulics Laboratory develops collaborative research through national and EU research, innovation and development funding programmes. It also contributes to the integration of research results – knowledge transfer and dissemination – by means of contracts established with national bodies, e.g. the Ministry of Environment and Regional Planning and Water Authorities, regional bodies, including several harbour authorities, and local authorities, as well as with the private sector (mostly planners and engineering enterprises).

During the several years of its existence, SHRHA and its facilities have contributed to the improvement of FEUP’s international profile and scientific productivity, by means of increasing the number of papers submitted to international journals and conferences with peer review, and by participating in scientific meetings, within the broadly defined water resources field.

Moreover, SHRHA is responsible for the support and maintenance of the Integrated Master’s degree and Doctoral Programme in Civil Engineering, more precisely in modules concerning hydraulics, water resources, marine, hydrology and fluvial issues.

SHRHA brings together more than 25 collaborators, including professors, researchers and technicians, with a percentage of Ph.D. holders of around 65%. The Hydraulics Laboratory staff form a highly skilled and specialized team, with complementary and multidisciplinary expertise and a notable international component.


The Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC) is an Associate Laboratory with more than 30 years of experience in R&D and technology transfer. Operating at 6 sites in the cities of Porto, Braga and Vila Real, INESC TEC includes 13 R&D Centres and one Associate Unit with complementary competences, always with the international market in mind.

INESC TEC brings together more than 650 researchers, of whom more than 300 have PhDs, forming a robust cluster with complementary skills and with a notable international presence. INESC TEC invests in scientific research and technological development, advanced training and consulting, technology transfer and also supports the creation of new technology-based companies.

INESC TEC was created to act as an interface between the academic world, industry and services, and public administration.

The visit includes


The Hydraulics, Water Resources and Environment Division, part of the Civil Engineering Department, with the support of its Hydraulics Laboratory (Figure 1), develops R&D projects in the field of hydraulics (fluvial, urban, coastal and offshore), water resources and the environment.

The Hydraulics Laboratory has recent and high-quality experimental facilities and equipment, occupying a total area of 1500 m2. It is one of the largest research facilities at the University of Porto and is among the most advanced hydraulic engineering laboratories in the country. The laboratory undertakes extensive physical and numerical modelling activities within the scope of R&D projects and consultancy contracts.

The laboratory houses three major facilities: two current flumes and a wave basin.

The wave basin is 12 m wide, 1.2 m high and has a total length of 28 m (Figure 2). It includes four side glass windows to allow visual observation of the flow and uses advanced technologies for velocity field characterization (e.g. Laser Doppler Anemometry). The centre pit located in the middle of the wave basin provides an additional water depth of about 1.5 m.

The wave basin is equipped with a multi-directional, piston-type wave generation system (Figure 3) enabling the simulation of user-defined regular and irregular waves and therefore the experimental testing of coastal, port and offshore structures in realistic conditions.

The wave generation system allows the simulation of 2D and 3D sea-states, with a direction of propagation perpendicular to the paddles or at an angle. Short crested waves can also be generated.

The wave basin is also equipped with several resistive-type wave gauges to record the water free surface elevation. In addition, several other high tech systems are currently used in R&D projects, namely: LDA (Laser Doppler Anemometry); ADV (Acoustic Doppler Velocimeters) for high accuracy velocity measurements; 2D sea-bed profilers for fluvial, coastal and offshore bathymetry and morphology evolution studies; pressure transducers; six degrees of freedom motion capture systems for measuring the motions of floating bodies; force transducers; and a laser scanner, among others.

The two current flumes are mainly used for fluvial research purposes and the study of hydraulic structures, such as dam spillways. The smallest one has a rectangular cross section, 0.40 m wide and 0.60 m high, a useful length of 17.00 m and its longitudinal slope can be adjusted .

The flow rate and flow conditions are controlled by an upstream valve and a downstream floodgate. Glass walls cover the full length of the flume for observation purposes and for the application of optical/laser measurement techniques.

The largest flow flume has a width of 1.00 m, a depth of 1.33 m and a length of 32.3 m . It is equipped with 7 glass walls and has a fixed slope of 0.5%. The flow height and velocity of this flume are also adjustable.

Besides the wave basin and current flumes, the laboratory also has other smaller and movable equipment which may be used in training, teaching and research activities, namely: a compact grey water treatment system (Figure 10 – left), dam spillways (Figure 10 – right) and hydraulic pumps, among others.

Several multidisciplinary research studies and consultancy activities can be performed at SHRHA. Examples of recent projects are:

2017 – MORPHEUS - River bed MORPHology and Erosion studieS - PTDC/ECM-HID/6387/2014|16825.

2016 – OPWEC - Optimizing Wave Energy Converters, PTDC/MAR-TEC/6984/2014|16882.

2015-2019. HYDRALAB+ Adapting to climate change. H2020, European Commission.

2014 - Numerical and experimental study of the flow around complex bridge piers. EXPL/ECM-HID/1663/2013.

2013 - Experimental study on a Wave Energy Converter, physical modelling study for CORPOWER.

2012-2015 - EnviCOP-Environmentally Friendly Coastal Protection in a Changing Climate. FP7-PEOPLE, European Commission.

2012 – Study of the new container terminal at Leixões Port.


The second visit will be to INESC TEC, to the Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS) of INESC TEC, consisting of two laboratories at FEUP and ISEP. Both labs have the required equipment and tools to integrate payload systems on-board robotic platforms, and are also equipped with water test tanks where underwater systems can be tested (depth of 2 m at FEUP and of 5 m at ISEP).

These institutions have extensive experience in R&D projects funded by the European Commission.

What is innovative about it?


A wave basin equipped with a multidirectional, piston-type wave maker able to generate realistic sea states (the largest wave basin based in a Portuguese university).

Information about multidisciplinary R&D projects covering the main domains of hydraulics, water resources and environment.

Ongoing experimental R&D studies using a wide variety of advanced equipment.


The Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems (CRAS) of INESC TEC conducts research and development activities in autonomous robotic systems, mobile robotics and mobile multi-robot systems for inspection, monitoring and mapping, with applications in security, power systems, environment, aquaculture, oceanography, marine biology, resource extraction, among other sectors. These activities are supported by research in perception, navigation, control, localization, coordination, and automatic data collection and processing.

Both laboratories are part of the research infrastructure TEC4SEA, which is a unique and pioneer platform in Europe to support research, development, and testing of marine robotics, telecommunications, and sensing technologies for monitoring and operations in an ocean environment.

INESC TEC is deeply committed to becoming a centre of excellence in maritime technology (particularly in deep sea technology). It is strategically located, with fast access to deep sea areas, and has been steadily evolving its skills, capabilities and resources. It is presently in the process of implementing an open research infrastructure, in preparation to become capable of providing services and open access to the European academic and industrial communities and thereby become recognized as a European maritime research asset.

Location, time and accessibility

Location: Municipality of Porto

Meeting point: Asprela Campus (FEUP)

Duration: 3 hours


Port Authority of Douro, Leixões and Viana do Castelo

The visit includes

Port Area and all Cargo Terminals;

Porto Cruise Terminal;

Vessel Coordination Centre.

Description of the site visit

Port of Leixões

Strategically located on the Northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula with a hinterland rich in industry, the Port of Leixões is the largest seaport facilities in northern Portugal. The port functions as a hub for an area containing 14 million inhabitants within a 3-hour drive, which inevitably makes Leixões a junction for major national and international routes.

The Port of Leixões handles 18 million tonnes of cargo per year, which represents 25% of Portuguese foreign trade by sea. Approximately 2,700 vessels per year call at the Port of Leixões, transporting over 600 thousand TEU comprising a wide range of goods.

With 5 km of quays, a 55-hectar yard and a 120-hectar water basin, the Port of Leixões is permanently open to navigation and has excellent road, rail and maritime accesses to swiftly forward or receive the different types of goods.

It operates 365 days a year, boasts high productivity levels, fast vessel turnaround time at quays and maintains a clear focus on sustainability. Equipped with modern facilities and advanced ship management information technology resources, the Port of Leixões is a versatile, efficient and competitive port guaranteeing safe, reliable, effective and quality services.

Port of Leixões Vessel Coordination Centre

The Port Authority of Leixões has endowed its Vessel Coordination Centre with the latest technology to supervise all port areas. Navigation and shipping safety is a differentiating factor of its services to vessels and cargo handling operations. The Coordination Centre plans the allocation of berths, manoeuvres and services to vessels. The centre provides security and safety control for the whole port area and also monitors and controls all port operations.

Porto Cruise Terminal

In the current scenario of steady growth in the global cruise industry and considering northern Portugal’s tourist attractions and favourable conditions, the Porto Cruise Terminal is a project that will boost cruise ship tourism in the region.

This innovative architectural structure was designed by the architect Luís Pedro Silva and comprises a berth for cruise ships up to 320 m long, a marina for 170 vessels, a River-Sea Quay for vessels offering tourist trips on the Douro River, among other amenities.

The project’s truly unique feature is its use of a single space combining a cruise terminal, with dedicated areas for transit and turnaround passengers, and the Science Park and Sea Technologies of Porto University, which occupies part of the Terminal building and hosts more than 200 researchers involved in sea-related projects

Time/accessibility/other information

Location: Matosinhos City

Visit Meeting Point: APDL Headquarters – Leça da Palmeira

Duration: 1h30m


Municipality of Porto

Description of the visit

City Centre and World Heritage Walking Tour.

Enjoy the old palaces, the robust churches, the traditional neighbourhoods, the people of Porto and the most picturesque corners the city has to offer. This whole setting is framed by the iconic iron bridge engineered by Teófile Seyrig (apprentice to Gustav Eiffel), the Port wine cellars and, in front of these, the characteristic Rabelo boats lined up along the quay preserving the memory of former times when they used to transport wine casks.

The visit includes

Experience a journey into Porto’s true heart and founding place, the Historic Centre. Let your eyes enjoy this immense sightseeing spot, which conglomerates a large number of landmarks (churches, a cathedral, mansions, and ancient military walls) and hear the history and legends that shaped and transformed this beautiful spot.

This striking trip will take you from downtown to the riverside wharfs, where you will be amazed by the extraordinary landscape in front of your eyes.

Places of interest: Carmo e Carmelitas Church |Lello Bookshop |Clerigos Tower| Aliados Avenue |São Bento Train Station | Cathedral | Stock Exchange Palace |S. Francisco Church |Ribeira riverfront area | Miragaia.

The tour includes

A first-aid certified tour guide plus liability and personal accident insurance;

Guided tours in English (other languages upon request).

Location, time and accessibility

Location: Gomes Teixeira Square (Leões Square)

Meeting point: Gomes Teixeira Square (Leões Square)

Duration: 4 hours