WEFTEC Chicago (26-30 September) opened with an inspirational address by Rob Stewart on the topic of how we in the water technology sector can make our own contribution to keeping our planet inhabitable. He revealed shocking figures that show how we have virtually consumed the resources of our planet in just one year of a tree’s lifecycle. A musical call to arms to inspire us as individuals to take part in change concluded the introduction to WEFTEC One World One Water One Goal.
Holland Business Pavilion
Water Alliance set up the Holland Business Pavilion at WEFTEC in Chicago, 26-30 September, together with NWP, Envaqua and the Netherlands Embassy in Washington. It turned out to be a resounding success. The Holland Business Pavilion comprised nine participants: DMT, GENAP, LG Sonic BV, Nedap, Royal HaskoningDHV, Sustec, United Pipeline Products, WaterCampus and Water Alliance. The Holland Innovation & Inspiration Hotspot provided a new and unique initiative within this type of setting. The hotspot focused on the newest innovations in water technology from the Netherlands. The hotspots were realised by Water Alliance with financial support from the Partners fFor Water programme (RVO). This particular hotspot offered the Dutch water technology sector a unique opportunity to raise its profile by highlighting its inspiring innovations.
Superb Dutch innovations at WEFTEC 2015
The Netherlands is distinguishing itself through innovation. Water Alliance provided the Holland Innovation & Inspiration Hotspot with a tremendous line-up of six superb innovations that were, together with the other pioneering products at the Holland Pavilion, on a par with the WEFTEC’s official Innovation Pavilion. It must be noted that a number of excellent Dutch innovations were also on proud display at the Innovation Pavilion. Now it can no longer be denied: the Netherlands is the place to be when it comes to genuine innovation.
The Holland Business Pavilion included six unique hotspots, each presenting inspiring innovations in the area of water technology from the Netherlands.
1. Elemental Water Makers: Affordable fresh water using only the sea, sun, earth & wind
2. Hydrowashr: Ultra efficient and hygienic hand sanitation
3. Brightwork: Recovery of cellulose from waste water
4. BlueLegMonitor: Realtime surface water quality monitoring
5. Wetsus: Recovery nutrients and energy from urine
6. Berghof Membrane Technology: AnMBR for Dairy Industry
Easy networking at the Holland Business Pavilion
The Holland Business Pavilion looked as smart as ever. The congenial setting made it easy to meet people and to network. Many international contacts were reinforced during a well-attended and cosy networking reception on Tuesday afternoon. The networking reception was opened by Jantienne van der Mei, the innovation attaché at the Netherlands’ Embassy in Washington. She interviewed a number of principal representatives of Dutch water technology innovation. First up was Paul Buis, the director of Berson. He underlined several important themes within the field of Dutch water technology innovation. Then Hein Molenkamp, the director of Water Alliance, was asked about recent contact between Water Alliance and North American cluster organisations. He revealed that the efforts to build up a relationship with North American clusters were now beginning to reap dividends.
Good contact with water clusters in the USA and Canada
So, good contacts have been made in recent years with various water clusters in the USA and Canada, including The Water Council in Milwaukee, the Global Akron Water Alliance in Akron, Ohio and the WaterTap organisation in Ontario, Canada. Dean Amhaus, the president and CEO of The Water Council referred to the burgeoning contact with Water Alliance. A fine example of this initiative is the good business being done between Berghof Membrane Technology from the Netherlands and, amongst others, Symphonic Water Solutions from Wisconsin. Berghof’s director Eric Wildeboer confirmed that they have now delivered three MBR installations, primarily for use in the dairy industry. This, according to Molenkamp, is exactly why Water Alliance is keen to strengthen ties with important clusters in the USA. The ultimate goal is to bring various business contacts into contact to enable them to do business together.
Another example that was highlighted by Hein Molenkamp was the project concerning toxic algae that came about during a matchmaking (WaterSquarePlein) meeting, organised by Water Alliance and the drinking water company in the city of Akron, Ohio. You can read about the case here. Jeff Bronowski, the water supply bureau manager of the City of Akron, reported that intensive testing is underway, using Dutch monitoring provided by BlueLegMonitor. An association was formed as a result of the matchmaking meeting at the end of April, including BlueLegMonitor, the University of Amsterdam, Arcadis and Deltares. Water Alliance has also developed a strong relationship with The Water Council from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and other organisations. What started off as a friendly conversation quickly escalated into what almost seemed like a staged cacophony of ideas and excitement between a very large group of American and Dutch friends. It went without saying that agreements for further talks simply had to be made.
A large Korean delegation dropped by, led by the mayor of Daegu, proving that the Holland Business Pavilion did not only attract the attention of the Americans.
Interest in Dutch technology from Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago
The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago received a delegation of Dutch water technology experts on Thursday morning, including members of the NWP, Water Alliance and Brightwork. The meeting had been arranged by the Netherlands Consulate General in Chicago.
It takes time to build relationships
The plethora of follow-up appointments proves that the conversations at WEFTEC in Chicago were more than a one-off. The word spread quickly amongst the visitors to the Holland Business Pavilion that Water Alliance would be organising a coach trip to the WaterCampus during Amsterdam IWW/Aquatech, and that the idea was to combine existing appointments in Amsterdam with the trip. “I will immediately rearrange my travel schedule,” announced Jean Loic Carré, the director of Pôle Eau. Water Alliance is all for building strong and lasting partnerships, and has already claimed, in cooperation with the Consulate General in Chicago and NWP, a good location at WEFTEC 2016 in New Orleans. So it’s: “Thank you all, and we’ll see you in New Orleans next year!”