Enterprise Ireland and Wet Networks initiative brings UK water utilities and Irish innovation closer together
Enterprise Ireland and Wet Networks (an Arup and WRc sector initiative) hosted a water innovation seminar in Dublin on February 27th to discuss the key challenges and enablers facing the UK water industry as it approaches new investment cycles in England and Wales (2020-2025), and in Northern Ireland and Scotland (2021-2027).
UK water utilities including Welsh Water, Yorkshire Water, United Utilities, Wessex Water and South Staffordshire Water discussed their innovation priorities and challenges, while Irish supply chain companies, supported by Enterprise Ireland, presented a range of innovative products and services.
Among the Irish companies to present were SwiftComply, who provided an overview of their software platform solution, which connects water companies and food businesses to improve the management of fat, oil and grease (FOG) and reduce in line blockages. Swiftcomply has teamed up with both Yorkshire Water and Anglian Water to reduce the impact of FOG on their water systems.
Attendees also heard from NVP Energy, who have developed a unique Low Temperature Anaerobic Digestion technology. The new technology is an energy positive and carbon neutral process designed to treat low-strength wastewater effluents, while producing a high-quality biogas by-product that is 100% available for reuse in on-site heat & electricity generation. NVP Energy has recently completed a project for Welsh Water.
Another innovative company that presented was OxyMem, who has recently agreed a workplan with Severn Trent. OxyMem solves OPEX intensive wastewater treatment and makes incremental plant expansion possible using Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor (MABR) modules. The OxyMem solution delivers up to 75% energy saving, up to 50% less waste sludge and can be installed within days, with no need to drain tanks or stop processes.
Darragh Cotter, Cleantech Market Advisor based in Enterprise Ireland’s London office noted that it was, “excellent to hear utilities reaffirm their commitment to innovation and to speeding up the rate of adoption. With leakage, asset health, resilience, energy and environmental considerations at the forefront of everyone’s minds, this seminar was a perfect opportunity for UK water utilities to further open the dialogue with the supply chain and become ever more aware of the solutions and technologies available in the market”.
With water utilities planning a total expenditure of £50 billion from 2020 to 2025, including more than £6 billion to be spent on environmental delivery, continued engagement between utilities and the supply chain is needed to meet Ofwat’s demands for increased adoption of innovation as well as improved customer service, affordable bills, and consistent water supply.
Darragh Cotter added that, “There was a clear consensus from both the utilities present and the supply chain that innovation should be demand led. Innovation seminars like this are an important mechanism for effective communication between utilities and the supply chain. The supply chain needs to know exactly the challenges that water utilities have so that they can respond accordingly. Irish innovators stand ready to help”.