Commission to invest almost €104 million in 71 innovative companies under Horizon 2020 SME Instrument
71 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) from 22 countries have been selected for funding in the latest round of the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument Phase 2. The total amount to be distributed between the SMEs working on 66 projects is €103.82 million. In this phase of the instrument, each project will receive up to €2.5 million (€5 million for health projects) to finance innovation activities.
Spanish SMEs were the most successful with 19 companies selected for funding. They were followed by five companies from both Germany and Ireland. Most projects are in the field of ICT and transport (10 projects each) followed by nine projects in the field of low-carbon and energy efficient systems.
The European Commission received 1534 project proposals by 18 January 2017, the first cut-off date for Phase 2 in 2017. Since the launch of the programme on 1st January 2014, 641 SMEs have been selected for funding under Phase 2.
Funding under Phase 2 of the instrument allows companies to invest in innovation activities such as demonstration, testing, piloting, scaling up and miniaturisation, in addition to developing a mature business plan for their product. The companies will also benefit from 12 days of business coaching. Most projects are proposed by a single SME but some companies team-up to elaborate a project. The next cut-off for SME Instrument Phase 2 is on 6 April 2017.
In collaboration with the EU Maltese presidency, the MEP Water Group convened a successful public session on ‘Water Reuse – an effective tool to address water scarcity‘ on the 7th of March at the European Parliament. The session was chaired by Esther de Lange, President of the MEP Water Group and hosted five high-level panellists, who presented their own perspectives on why water-reuse is a valuable solution to address water scarcity, adaptation to climate change and implement circular economy.
With Malta being the EU member state with the lowest rate of water availability and highest population density rate, Mr Azzopardi, from the office of the Malta Prime Minister and CEO of the Energy and Water Agency stressed out that water reuse, is nowadays a necessary and a key element in Malta’s 2nd River Basin Management Plan (RBMP). He, also, pointed out that advances in technologies are required to effectively develop comprehensive and cost-effective solutions, as well as that support to R&D activities for the development of marketable solutions, together with EU initiatives regulating water reuse, are key elements to ensure investments in the water reuse sector.
Ms Doeser, Head of Unit from DG ENVI indicated that the new water reuse directive will aim at preventing uneven regulations from Members States that can create barriers to the market and will introduce a minimum standard at EU level which will ensure that safety and health requirements are met.
In fact, “Water reuse is not anymore an alternative supply but the water supply”, continued Mr Gawlik from the EC Joint Research Centre JRC, showing worrying EU maps on water shortage. The water industry “is well aware of the situation and is willing to work closely together with agriculture” ensured Arjan Boogaards from Nalco Water. Mr Van Houtte from IWVA noted that water-reuse is both economically and technically feasible and a solution for water scarcity, as it grants results in sustainable groundwater management and enhances ecosystems. As the last speaker of the session, MEP Dr. Paul Rübig from the EPP Group reminded the audience the importance of fostering investments at the water reuse sector and delivering results at a European level.
Before the closure of the panel session, Esther de Lange and Arjan Boogaards emphasised that water reuse would lead to a major community impact, as minimisation of water allows minimisation of energy and waste and therefore reduction of costs. So, it is actually a win-win-win situation. The panel discussion was followed by Q&A from the audience.
The European Union Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held in Brussels from 19 to 25 June. During the Awards Ceremony, 12 final project nominees will be given the opportunity to present their well implemented and impactful ideas to more than 3000 participants. This year you can apply for the EU Sustainable Energy Awards in one of the four categories: Consumers, Public Sector, Businesses and Energy Islands. In order to qualify, the project must meet the following criteria:
- Location The project coordinator must be based in the EU28 or in one of the following countries: Iceland, Norway, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Turkey, Israel, Moldova, Switzerland, Faroe Islands, Ukraine, Tunisia, Georgia, Armenia.
- Practical applicability The project must have high impact and replication potential; academic studies and theoretical research projects with no real-scale application will not be considered.
- Timing The project must be ongoing or concluded after 30 June 2016; projects which are still at the planning stage or not yet fully operational are not eligible.
For more information about the EU Sustainable Energy Awards, visit the EUSEW website.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide €100m to Belgian wastewater treatment company Aquafin, as part of a new 200 million euro loan agreement, in support of Aquafin’s projects in the Flemish Region.
Pim van Ballekom, Vice-President of the EIB who is responsible for Belgium, comments on the operation: “Our collaboration with Aquafin goes back a very long way and represents a clear example of a situation where European loans can have a big impact at the local level, often without many people being aware of it”. The EIB has set itself the goal of awarding at least 25% of its loans to climate-related projects, so we are pleased with the high standards that Aquafin is maintaining in that area too.”
The Flemish wastewater purification company will utilize the loan proceeds to further expand and optimize its water purification infrastructure in the Flanders region. In particular, the funds will be used for the construction of collectors, solving bottlenecks in the existing sewage infrastructure, separating stray water and rain water from the sewage network, as well as the construction of new and upgrading of existing treatment facilities.
Jan Goossens, General Manager of Aquafin “We had to demonstrate that at least a quarter of the investment value of the projects for which we are requesting financing will have a clear positive impact on climate change. This condition is fully met by projects for separating rainwater from the waste water infrastructure and by optimisation projects that allow us to arm ourselves to deal with climate change. Projects that only involve linking pollutant loads to water purification do not meet the requirement, even though they do contribute towards a better living environment. The analysis carried out in the context of this tenth loan was an informative exercise for us. It has encouraged us to look at our projects from a different perspective.”
For more information about Aquafin’s activities, please click here.
WssTP Present at the MEDRC’s workshop ‘Latest Water Treatment Technologies: Improvements in Membrane Elements’
Inge Genné, WG leader of the WssTP WG ‘Nanotechnologies for water treatment’ represented WssTP at the MEDRC Technical Workshop conference, which took place under the theme “Latest Water treatmentTechnologies: Improvements on Membranes Elements ” on the 17th of January. Inge Genné delivered the first speech of the workshop on ‘Produced water treatment by membranes’. Two distinguished speakers from Singapore and Cyprus gave also presentations on the following topics:
- “Use of the Next Generation of Membranes in Desalination by Forward Osmosis FO/ Reverse Osmosis RO and Wastewater Treatment”, Mr. Mark Perry, VP of BD & Sales, Aquaporin Asia Pte. Ltd.
- “Pretreatment Cartridges & Filters and how they increase the Membranes lifetime with case studies from Dhekelia Desalination Plant in Cyprus”, Ms. Olga Sallangos, Plant Manager
The workshop helped highlight how the development of synthetic membranes has contributed in solving many problems related to water demand and water disposal. But it’s not only in desalination where membrane-based technology is applied. Wastewater reclamation; water purification for food manufacturing; and increasingly, energy generation also require highly efficient and durable membranes.
Membrane technologies represent a major market in water and wastewater, for both municipal and industrial sectors, worth US $3.9 billion in 2015 and expected to reach US $5.0 billion in 2019, according to GWI. On the other hand, better understanding of the complex interactions at the produced water/membrane interface is essential to achieve more efficient applications to treat water.
Membranes are going to play an increasingly important role in desalination and wastewater treatment. Challenges on membrane systems were discussed and solutions for those challenges were presented.
The participants got the opportunity at the end of the workshop to visit MEDRC facilities (MEDRC RO Pilot Plant, laboratory, evaporation ponds, Falaj System, solar panels, etc.).
For more information, please visit MEDRC’s website.
These and many more questions are answered in the WssTP Strategic Innovation and Research Agenda (WssTP SIRA) which is now available online and in print! After the release of the new WssTP Water Vision 2030 ‘The Value of Water: Towards a Future proof model for a European water-smart society’ in 2016, WssTP is now excited to publish its new SIRA, demonstrating an innovative route to implement the WssTP Water Vision.
The WssTP Water Vision 2030 has been built on 4 Key Components (KC) of innovations, all contributing to increasing and better valorising the Value of Water, and jointly defining the WssTP future proof model for a water-smart and resilient society. These four components are:
- The Value of Water
- New Digital and Water Technologies
- A Hybrid Grey and Green Infrastructure
- An enabling inclusive multi-stakeholder Governance
To realise the WssTP Water Vision, the WssTP SIRA aims to combine real-life experimental environments (Living Labs) with dedicated research and innovation actions targeted at developing the 4 layers of the European model for a future proof water-smart society. The research and innovation actions, suggested by the WssTP Water SIRA are organised in six main components which are presented in the figure below:
WssTP is now in the process of translating the new Water Vision to all EU’s official languages, promoting the understanding and use of the Water Vision not only at European level but also at national, regional and municipal level.
For more information, please contact Durk Krol.
The call aims to develop more resilient and applied urban solutions that bring inter- and transdisciplinary research and innovation together from across the globe, to benefit a much wider range of stakeholders including cities, civil society and business. The rapid urbanisation of the world’s population underscores the importance of this focus. The total available budget for this call is approx. €28.5 million, including support from the European Commission through Horizon 2020. Funds will be used to support as many high quality projects as possible. Each national/regional funding agency will provide funds directly to their eligible investigators in accordance to the agencies’ rules and regulations.
The projects funded by the call must be transnational and submitted by a project consortium consisting of at least three eligible applicants from at least three participating countries.
Projects resulting from this call should address one or more of the following themes:
- Development of a robust and accessible global sustainability knowledge base
- Governance and management of the connections between food, water and energy services
- Managing the risks and trade-offs that come out of sustainable urbanisation and the connecting of food, water and energy services
A two-stage commissioning procedure will be adopted for the assessment of the SUGI proposals. The first stage invites consortia to submit pre-proposals. The shortlisted consortia will be invited to submit a full proposal. The pre and full stage proposals will be assessed by an Expert Panel comprised of international experts nominated by all funding agencies.
The deadline for pre-proposals is 15 March 2017.
Future Water Association has created an on-line knowledge library, a collection of informative videos from a wide variety of leading experts from the water sector, all conveniently located together on one dedicated YouTube channel.
The collection of some 27 videos, with many more in the pipeline, cover a wide range of topics including; “Non-household competition and the transformation of the water industry”, “Innovation in the water sector”, “Future Water Policy and Regulations”, “Customer Service”, “Resilience”, “Flooding”, “Urban Drainage” and many more. The subject matter is varied and all very relevant to the water market. Speakers include heads of business from the water utilities, academics and water industry experts from across the sector.
Paul Horton, CEO for Future Water Association, explains the thinking behind the video library “Feedback from our members has highlighted an interest in keeping up to date with industry developments and initiatives in a way that is quick and easy to access. Our YouTube channel will become an on-going place of reference for people to visit and re-visit. We aim to keep it current and will be regularly updating it with the latest thoughts and comments from industry influencers”.
First AfriAlliance Conference organized in Ekurhuleni (South Africa)
Call for Contributions Open
The First AfriAlliance Conference will be organized in parallel with the Local Climate Solutions for Africa 2017 Congress (LoCS4Africa 2017), on 22-24 March 2017, at The Birchwood Hotel & OR Tambo Conference Centre, Viewpoint road, Bartlett, Boksburg, Ekurhuleni municipality, in the outskirts of Johannesburg.
The AfriAlliance Conference – that will serve as the inaugural meeting of the AfriAlliance Innovation Alliance on the African continent – takes two and a half days and runs in parallel with the LoCS4Africa Congress. It will present the AfriAlliance Action Groups and their areas of focus, showcase African research, innovation, policy and capacity development initiatives that are looking for European partners and vice versa, and provide the opportunity to obtain inputs and suggestions for further shaping AfriAlliance’s activities.
Become part of the action! AfriAlliance invites your proposals for contributions at the AfriAlliance Conference. In order to have rich discussions and to help attendees find solutions, AfriAlliance welcomes perspectives and ideas from a variety of individuals and organisations from the water & climate change communities. Concretely, we provide the following opportunities to get involved:
- Host a demand-driven workshop. The workshop should take 90 minutes for up to 60 participants. We are looking for interactive and dynamic workshops that provide the opportunity for in-depth exchange of experiences and ideas.
- Showcase African initiatives. Present your innovative African research, technology, capacity development, policy or governance initiative. The preferred duration of your showcase contribution is 20 minutes, including discussion time.
- Pitched poster session. Present highlights from your innovative African research, capacity development, policy or governance initiative during a dedicated plenary session (pitch duration 2 minutes) to attract the audience to your poster for detailed discussion.
Detailed requirements, instructions for submissions and the selection criteria for the conference contributions are available in the full ‘Call for Contributions‘. For personal guidance on your proposal, please do not hesitate to contact email@example.com.