Two Scottish innovation centres and a world-renowned research institute are at the forefront of an international drive to unlock innovation potential in the global water industry.
Experts from Scottish Water and the James Hutton Institute have teamed up to lead and deliver the Water Test Network which also links specialists in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France.
Fourteen locations across North West Europe form the network of operational-scale facilities which allow innovative new technology to be brought to market-ready status quicker for the benefit of water users and consumers.
Waste water and water development centres in Bo’ness and Gorthleck, near Inverness, provide innovators with facilities to test and develop their processes and products under live conditions but in a safe and dynamic environment which does not risk public health or safety. These two Development Centres are Scotland’s first full-scale testing facilities dedicated to supporting research and innovation in water and waste water treatment.
The first trial to take place via the new network is due to start in February. Belgian company AcquaNovus will test their technology which deals with waste water contaminated with organic pollutants such as leachates from landfill sites and other industrial operations.
The James Hutton Institute will provide expertise in the area of laboratory testing, verification, accreditation and regulation as well as working with SMEs to improve their understanding of the market they aim to enter and prepare the ground for new technologies.
The UK’s role in Water Test Network is being highlighted at a leading bio-tech conference taking place today and tomorrow (Jan 30 & 31) in Glasgow. The Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre focuses on collaboration between industry and academia to bring products and processes to commercial reality.
The 5th annual Industrial Biotechnology for a Sustainable Future conference is providing a forum for the Scottish joint team to speak to hundreds of professionals, experts and academics and highlight the new innovation network.
Paul Kerr, of Scottish Water Horizons, the water utility’s commercial subsidiary, which operates the development centres, said: “Bringing bold new solutions to market that will benefit water users wherever they are will significantly enhance how we protect and enhance water quality and ensure our environment is safeguarded.
“Working collaboratively with international partners both commercially and academically unlocks great potential across the industry to ensure water supply and management is as resilient as it can be. It’s great to be able to speak to so many people here in Glasgow with an interest in how biotechnology can assist water and waste water management, sustainability and the environment.
Dr Richard Allan of the James Hutton Institute highlighted that “The Water Test Network represents a unique partnership of organisations which is fully focused on supporting small to medium businesses to accelerate their innovations to market."
“For the first time industry and academic partners have created a network of assets that come under a common virtual campus and provide dynamic testing facilities tailored to the water sector ambitions.”
The five-nation link-up was unveiled in Brussels in December and today marks the launch of the network in the UK.
To date there have been seven trials completed by Bo’ness (waste water treatment) and Gorthleck (water treatment). They focused on a number of different areas of water and waste water management and have included trials by DeMontford University and Californian company Microvi MicroNiche Engineering.