The Water Test Network links specialists from Scotland’s James Hutton Institute and Scottish Water with their counterparts from Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands and France. The five-nation link-up was unveiled in Brussels in December and this week marks the launch of the network in the UK.
The first trial to take place via the new network is due to start in February. Belgian company AcquaNovus will test technology that deals with wastewater contaminated with organic pollutants such as leachates from landfill sites and other industrial operations.
Fourteen locations across North West Europe form the network of operational-scale facilities intended to allow innovations to be brought to market-ready status more quickly.
Wastewater 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 environment that does not risk public health or safety. The two Development centres are Scotland’s first full-scale testing facilities dedicated to supporting research and innovation in water and waste water treatment.
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 conference taking place this week in Glasgow.
“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,” said Paul Kerr of Scottish Water’s commercial subsidiary, which operates the development centres. “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.”
Dr Richard Allan of the James Hutton Institute said 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,” he said.