Thousands of innovators descended on the Northumbrian Innovation Festival last week to help tackle the challenges faced by UK water utilities.
Global water technology company, Xylem, sponsored and coordinated a hackathon at the event, which set the task of mapping carbon emissions from water utility suppliers to help them achieve their net-zero emission targets by 2050.
The event, which was held in collaboration with Northumbrian Water, was hosted at Newcastle Racecourse and saw more than 2,500 people from over 700 global organisations join forces with local schoolchildren from across Tyneside.
The winning team, Phloem, developed a sample dashboard as a tool to measure suppliers’ excellence and incentivise supplier carbon accounting. The team, whose members hailed from CK Delta, Northumbrian Water Group, Selwood Ltd and ista Energy Solutions, took home a $3000 prize.
Alexis De Kerchove, Europe Client Sustainability Leader at Xylem, said: “We recognize the mounting environmental challenges impacting humankind and the need to prepare the next generation of young talents to solve water issues.
“Ofwat is mandating that utilities tackle the emissions from the entire value chain by 2050. To do this we need to gather and manage 8 billion data points to support decision-making on reducing the carbon footprint of purchased goods and services.
“Through the development of a data management system and an optimization model, we aim to enable utilities to engage with the stakeholder of their value chain, to prioritise their business activities and investments towards achieving net-zero emissions while meeting the regulator's mandate.
“All our hackathon participants demonstrated a real passion for solving these issues, with the winning team devising an innovative idea that we will further develop into a possible solution to this challenge.”
The hackathon supports Xylem Ignite, the company’s global youth program which aims to build a strong network of passionate student leaders and empower them to drive real changes in the water industry. Over the last [two] years, the program has engaged thousands of students in learning about and solving water challenges.