Today (May 14) SusChem and the Water supply and sanitation Technology Platform (WssTP) announced plans to renew their long-standing alliance for the benefit of sound water management in Europe. The reinforced strategic partnership will combine assets and develop innovative water management systems on an unprecedented scale. With wide-ranging support from European institutions, this collaboration on key priorities will include the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership on Water also announced today by the European Commission.
The agreement is a new approach to advancing water management in Europe. It pairs the chemical sector’s track record of game-changing solutions across industry sectors with the water industry’s strong innovation potential. It is also a natural fit: the chemical industry is one of the biggest water-consuming industries and one of the biggest providers of water treatment materials and technologies.
The partnership is breaking new ground, allowing both sectors to speak with one voice – a real asset in a fragmented water area where multiple approaches coexist at the national, regional and sectorial levels. WssTP and SusChem will be mapping the way forward in critical fields such as:
- Best practices in integrated water management systems: Urban-Industrial-Rural
- Development of enhanced materials, process technologies, systems and services
- Process efficiency of water use, including energy aspects.
"Together, the chemical and water sectors are ready to provide high-impact, cutting-edge solutions to one of Europe’s most pressing challenges and, clearly, no one sector can tackle this alone,” SusChem chairman Klaus Sommer says. “Value chain collaboration is engrained in SusChem’s vision and the focus is on impact: along the way, we expect to deliver value well beyond what either of our industries can accomplish individually.”
“WssTP’s vision is that by 2030 the European water sector will be regarded as the global leader in the provision of sustainable water services. We realize that climate and demographic changes, together with rising environmental standards mean that we must find step change solutions to these challenges,” WssTP President Mike Farrimond says. “Working with SusChem will enable us to avoid replication of effort and ensure that together we have a voice which will be listened to.”
Water has been a key priority for SusChem for some time. As water is used intensively in agricultural and industrial sectors and for public use, integrated water management has become an imperative. A symbiotic approach holds the key to deliver safe, clean, affordable water to all European citizens.
Water EIP announced
The news comes as the European Commission announced the launch of a new European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on water, in which the chemical industry is positioned to be one of two main actors. The partnership is part of the EU’s Innovation Union strategy and aims to boost European innovation in water management by getting promising ideas, products and technologies to market faster.
Announcing the EIP Environment Commissioner Janez Potočnik said: "The European Innovation Partnership on Water will help ensure that we can continue to provide safe, available and affordable water for all, by supporting the development of innovative solutions to deal with water challenges – while simultaneously aiming to position Europe as a world leader in water technology and services."
“Making Europe a global leader in water management requires this type of partnership. The chemical industry must play a leading role to make it happen,” commented Gernot Klotz, Cefic executive director for research and innovation. “There is great potential for innovation in both the water and chemical sectors. The partnership should be a strong double-act.”
Around 57% of freshwater use can be attributed to industry. Energy production alone requires nearly three-fourths of industrial water demand, or 45%, of total freshwater use. Industrial processes require the remaining 12%. Intensive use of freshwater also occurs in agriculture, where 22% of freshwater is needed, followed by the general public at 21%. All three users compete most for the resource in Europe, increasing the need for an integrated approach to water management. The partnership announced today provides scale, vast expertise in water innovation and a proven ability to execute.
The EIP on Water has ambitious objectives, including the need to reduce household water consumption, increase water efficiency in irrigation, decrease the water footprint of all industries, minimise water loss in distribution systems and reduce the energy used in the water sector.
Klotz added: “The collaboration with the water sector is a natural fit because the chemical industry has built a track record of offering technologies and products that are vital to many industries, including the water sector.”
New website, projects
To coincide with the new initiatives in the sector Cefic has launched a new website on water issues (see screenshot below). The site demonstrates the role of chemistry in integrated water management in Europe.
SusChem is already involved in the ChemWater FP7 project. This initiative addresses a key pan-European concern: the efficient management of water in process industry. ChemWater intends to coordinate European strategies on sustainable materials, processes and emerging technologies development. The project started in May 2011 and ends in October 2013.
Another FP7 project with SusChem involvement will be E4Water: Economically and Ecologically Efficient Water Management in the European Chemical Industry. The project should launch later this month.
For more information on SusChem’s water-related activities, please contact Antonia Morales-Perez at Cefic.