Event Membranes Europe

Accelerating solutions with the Netherlands innovation ecosystem

Thursday, 21 October 2021

Visitors to this year’s Aquatech Amsterdam can witness the unique innovation ecosystem and collaboration in action in the Netherlands.

Scaling water innovation

To successfully accelerate innovation in a country, it’s often said that it’s necessary to connect the “golden triangle”.

In equal parts, the triangle connects the private, business sector to education and research and finally, the public sector. By linking public to private, academia to investment, it enables new solutions to be developed, funded, commercialised and scaled domestically with a solid foundation to export internationally.

And the Netherlands is one example showcasing how all these elements can come together. During this year’s Aquatech Amsterdam, visitors will get the opportunity to witness the unique innovation ecosystem and collaboration in action.

The Netherlands Water Pavilion is being co-organised by the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), Water Alliance and ENVAQUA, with support from the partners for Water programme.

Furthermore, with water use important within industrial companies, Aquatech, together with partner Wetsus, has organised the Industrial Users HUB.

“It’s great that people can meet again in person.”

Bastiaan Lammers, operations manager from NWP, said: "It's great that people can meet again in person. This time the focus will be about catching up and continuing to build existing relationships."

Showcasing an innovation ecosystem

As part of the Netherland Water Pavilion, the Holland Innovation Park (HIP) will showcase the latest water technology innovations within the Netherlands, with eight companies participating:

  • Acquaint with Pipe Scanner and the Acquarius
  • DeSah with two systems for wastewater treatment
  • EMI Twente with DoReMi (Donnan Dialysis ReMineralization)
  • Ferr-Tech with Ferrate (VI)
  • Hydraloop with the Hydraloop a revolutionary greywater recycling system
  • ROLAPAC, an innovative and patented floating layer remover for sewage pumping stations
  • Van Remmen UV Technology with Advanox- MicrOx
  • UVOX with UVOX Redox.

Other exhibitors in the Netherlands pavilion include: Bosman Water Management, CirTec, City of Rotterdam, D2D Water Solutions B.V., ESEP Milieutechniek, Hal24K, Landustrie, Lenntech, MTD, NIQO systems, NlinBusiness, RWB Water, Titan Salt, Van Essen Instruments B.V.,Van Remmen, Villagepump and the Water Campus.

“At this HIP powered by Water Alliance we will collectively demonstrate and show the importance of the complete ecosystem, not only from the company side but the whole story needed to technology to the market,” says Hein Molenkamp, managing director of the Water Alliance.

“Through the Water Campus innovation ecosystem, we can accelerate innovation by helping companies to reduce costs and bring new technologies to the market. As everyone in the water sector knows, it takes more time than anticipated to bring new technologies successful to the market, but in order to save precious time and thus money we can help."

“For example, if you want to scale up and test an innovation, we have the testing and demonstration facilities and many more. WaterCampus is represented at the Netherland Water Pavilion by Water Alliance, Wetsus, CEW and CiV Water.”

A shifting landscape: nature-based solutions

Historically, the Netherlands has had no choice but to become water resilient. With much of the country below sea level (as low as 7m is some regions), Lammers says it “really forces us to deal with water”.

Innovations in the country’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure also mean that non-revenue water (NRW) is only 5 per cent, while connections to mainline sewers stand at almost 100 per cent.

“This track record is another lesson we can export," he adds. "We have an excellent start-up to scale-up ecosystem that is well connected to the finance community. This is very innovative and a great experience we can also share internationally."

“There's a higher demand for water in the Netherlands now. We are collectively addressing how to collect and reuse water as much as possible to overcome potential droughts in the future.”

Nature-based solutions

Speaking to Aquatech Online ahead of the event, Molenkamp says the challenges facing the Netherlands have changed.

"We have seen a shift," he says. "Historically, from a low-lying country taking care of water moving from rivers to the sea, in order to keep dry feet, through to having to be resilient against drought as well."

“There's a higher demand for water in the Netherlands now. We are collectively addressing how to collect and reuse water as much as possible to overcome potential droughts in the future and at the same we have to keep taking care of dry feet in times of heavy rain."

On Friday November 5th, these topics and more will take centre stage during Aquatech Amsterdam. An engaging programme comprising panels, discussions, and networking opportunities will discuss the role of the water sector to drive reuse and help the energy transition.

“We’re now looking towards nature-based innovations.”

Nature-based solutions, designing with nature instead of ignoring its constraints, is another area Lammers believes provides innovation opportunities. “Previous efforts have resulted in hard coastal protection, for example, using more concrete, but now we're looking towards nature-based innovations. For example, more shallow and gradual land transitions to the water, which effectively take the energy out of the water while positively creating areas for biodiversity and better use of sediments.”

The NWP operations manager references the EcoShape organisation, which develops and shares knowledge on building with nature.

Matchmaking and investment

Lammers adds that NWP is looking forward to meeting new international partners.

“NWP is the gateway for international companies looking for water expertise in the Netherlands and has an extensive international network. We can help with knowledge exchange, matchmaking, market intelligence and network to connect Dutch companies looking internationally with organisations looking towards the Netherlands."

“NWP members represent the whole Dutch water sector, therefore we work with governments, NGOs, engineering and consulting companies, and knowledge institutes to help contribute towards combined, holistic thinking. When it comes to water technology expertise, we work closely together with Water Alliance and ENVAQUA."

“We are keen to connect and help companies around the world.”

Molenkamp discusses how the alliance can help international companies too.

“We are open to discussions with water companies and end users all over the world,” adds the managing director.

“Although the Water Alliance is a Dutch-based network with Dutch members, we are keen to connect and help companies around the world. We have a lot of contact with similar clusters throughout the world, so we can help to orchestrate international partnerships between water companies to see if they match each other's portfolio.”

As well as helping with technology feasibility, the Water Alliance also helps matchmake companies to the correct type of finance and investment needed.

“Depending on the stage of the company, whether a start-up, scale-up or grown-up, they all have different needs to scale up their new technology," adds Molenkamp. “Financing is important but complex. So we create financing tables at the Water Campus to discuss these issues. We can help customers depending on their needs and bring in different levels of investors to talk to them.”

The Netherland Water Pavilion including the Holland Innovation Park are located in Hall 5, Booth 05.280. For more information and to register as a visitor for free to Aquatech Amsterdam, please visit: www.aquatechtrade.com/amsterdam

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