Information sharing and showcase platform launched by water accelerator
First webinar includes live onsite technology demonstration
Launch comes as Ofwat sets out knowledge-sharing incentives
A knowledge-sharing and project showcase platform that will support the UK water sector with its innovation ambitions has launched.
The Knowledge Transfer Service, from water innovation accelerator Spring, offers a central bank of information and case studies about projects and trials, as well as a of live showcase events to explore lessons learnt. The offering also gives utilities access to 26 global case studies from new partner , a non-profit that has been solving challenges through innovation for utilities and other large consumers of water for almost a decade.
Rebecca Shanahan, director, said: “We are thrilled that Spring reached out to to assist in their mission of accelerating innovation and knowledge sharing throughout the UK water sector. We look forward to working with the team at Spring and sharing lessons learned with UK utilities from those facing similar challenges across the globe.”
Spring is dedicated to water sector transformation through innovation and collaboration. It was launched in 2021 and is backed by all UK and Irish water and wastewater companies. Its Knowledge Transfer Service is organised around seven themes within the sector’s Water Innovation 2050 strategy.
Spring’s of best practice webinars will see utility project teams present their innovation initiatives.
The platform’s first showcase was delivered by SES Water on 28 June 2022 and focused on the company’s smart network project, . Project partners joined the event, which included a live on-the-ground technology demonstration and recorded interviews with control room staff.
Jeremy Heath, SES Water innovation manager, said: “Spring’s Knowledge Transfer Service is a brilliant way of sharing findings, and we were delighted to lead its first showcase webinar.
“Cutting live to site for a demo of our leak solutions was bold, but it really held people’s interest as they could see the technology working in real-time. I’m really keen that we work together as a sector on innovation, without duplication of effort. I hope we’ve given companies a blueprint to follow when it comes to knowledge sharing.”
New energy saving measures developed by WCS Environmental Engineering (WCSEE) could reduce power consumption of its package wastewater treatment plants by as much as half.
The water recycling specialist has introduced automated timers to operate blowers in the biological treatment section of its patented HiPAF (high performance aerated filter) package treatment plants.
Blowers account for more than 95% of the energy used in a typical wastewater treatment plant. They usually operate 24/7 to blow air into biological treatment processes, providing oxygen to the bacteria that decompose organic substances in the wastewater, ensuring high standards of treatment are maintained.
Blowers in WCSEE’s HiPAF range are now timed to pulse air into the process, rather than operate continuously. The timers will be built in as standard to the HiPAF range of treatment plants, cutting the amount of energy used to treat effluent by up to 50%. This can contribute to companies’ net zero carbon emission goals, as well as bringing welcome reductions in energy costs.
WCSEE technical director Andrew Baird said: “Net zero carbon strategies are front of mind for businesses, with energy efficiencies critical to meeting climate goals. At the same time, businesses are facing huge rises in energy bills and cutting power consumption is now a priority for many to try and control costs.
“Building in timers to blowers has proven to be a simple and low-cost option to reduce power consumption by up to 50%, addressing the market need for both net zero and cost efficiencies.”
The timer concept was tested over three years by University of Portsmouth researchers at its facility at Petersfield wastewater treatment works, Hampshire, to ensure compliance was always maintained.
Baird said: “While the concept was simple, finding the right times to turn blowers on and off and for what periods proved more of a challenge. In general, we found the HiPAF only saw a reduction in dissolved oxygen after 20-30 minutes, allowing us to set timers to 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off.
“These intermittent pulses provide effective aeration for reliable treatment, while consuming significantly less energy. The 15 minutes intervals give the added advantage of not exceeding the on off cycles per hour required by the blower manufacturers, to maintain the blower guarantee.”
The addition of timers has come as a result of part of WCSEE’s substantive research and development to enhance process efficiency of its HiPAF technology.
These studies have already achieved significant energy and cost savings with the introduction of the patented Hybrid-SAF (submerged aerated filters) technology to the biological treatment section, known as the biozone. The patented technology employs a submerged moving-bed, fixed-film reactor which can treat wastewater with greater energy efficiency compared to traditional submerged SAFs, in a tighter site footprint whilst meeting environmental compliance.
Baird said: “SAF treatment is traditionally viewed as a <span class="ContextualSpellingAndGrammarError SCXW224004998 BCX0" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; user-select: text; -webkit-user-drag: none; -webkit-tap-highlight-color: transparent; background-repeat: repeat-x; background-position: left bottom; background-image: url(" data:image="" gif;base64,r0lgodlhbqaeapedaabvzdnvzdnv="" waaach5bauaaamalaaaaaafaaqaaaiinc2qchykqgeaow="=");" border-bottom:="" 1px="" solid="" transparent;"="">high cost process due to the energy requirement in delivering high volumes of air, and is generally not considered for larger schemes.
“At the heart of our Hybrid SAF technology are unique flow characteristics that have been patented. These ensure an even and continuous flow of nutrients up through the submerged, moving bed.
“The slowly circulating media gradually descends due to its increasing specific gravity from hosting biomass growth. Calculating the impact of gravity on the process results in a significant reduction in power consumption, improving overall efficiency and enabling a reduction in site footprint and a deployment of a more compact unit.”
Developments in hydraulic control and retention times have also enabled the patented process technology to consistently achieve final effluent ammonia concentrations of less than 1mg/l on a 95%ile basis.
CIWEM is the leading royal chartered professional body dedicated to sustainable management of the environment, globally. CIWEM works with a community of thousands of members and in over 89 countries who are dedicated to improving water and environmental management for the benefit of the public.
The fellowship provides recognition of major career achievements and contributions to the water sector.
Alastair Chisholm, the director of policy of CIWEM said, “Congratulations to Karyn on achieving FCIWEM. This prestigious qualification acknowledges the positive impact you have made on the profession, not to mention your long-standing and active contribution to the work of CIWEM’s Wastewater and Biosolids Specialist Panel.
“Around the world, people face new and challenging water and environmental problems every day. Achieving FCIWEM demonstrates you have made a significant contribution to addressing these issues and will enable you to continue to inspire others and help future generations.”
Karyn Georges said: “I feel very proud to have been admitted as a Fellow to CIWEM. I've been a member for nearly 20 years, and passionately believe in the mission of the Institute - to build a global community of water and environmental professionals dedicated to working for the public benefit.
“Since I started working in the sector, I've seen many positive changes in terms of gender diversity. Around 10% of CIWEM Fellows are women, with the proportion increasing every year.
"You can't be what you can't see", so I hope I can act as a bit of inspiration for other women to apply too.”
Mark Fletcher, global water leader at Arup and an Arup Fellow, has been announced as British Water’s new chair. The appointment was announced at the trade association’s annual general meeting on 28 July 2022 and comes as Chris Loughlin steps down from the role.
Fletcher joined the British Water non-executive board in 2020 and is former chair of the Water Industry Forum, which merged with the organisation in April 2022. He has over 35 years’ experience working across water in the UK and globally.
An international authority on urban water resilience, Fletcher was made an Honorary Fellow of CIWEM in March 2021, a Royal Academy of Engineering (RAEng) Fellow in 2019 and an Honorary Fellow of the Society for the Environment in June 2018.
He has worked on the City Water Resilience Approach, developed to help cities grow their capacity to both anticipate and mitigate water-related shocks and stresses. Fletcher was also faculty leader for the Arup University - Massachusetts Institute of Technology Sloan Business School course, Resilience of Urban Systems from 2017 to 2020.
He said: “I am honoured to be taking up the position of British Water chair. Water is undergoing a rapid but exciting transformation, as it evolves to manage unprecedented climate and population-related challenges.
“British Water and its members are at the forefront of the drive to deliver positive change and I am proud to be able to help them navigate this journey. I am passionate about what we do and keen to ensure that British water engineers, scientists, planners, managers, economists and companies play their part in developing increasingly more sustainable and resilient water management fit for the future.”
Other key appointments announced at the AGM were Rachel Lewis as UK Forum chair and Tom Williams as International Forum chair. Rachel is joint owner and director of IQ Engineers and was formerly vice-chair of the UK Forum.
She said: “It has been a pleasure using my business experience to support fellow water industry suppliers through the UK Forum. I am proud to be able to increase that support by taking on the role of chair.
“The work of the UK Forum in enabling members to connect with contacts, explore opportunities for collaboration and share best practice is of huge value. I look forward to building on what has already been achieved in helping members grow, innovate and share their expertise."
Williams is chief executive of and has been British Water’s USA export mentor for 10 years, as well as vice-chair of the International Forum.
He said: “I passionately believe that British Water members are the future for UK international business. What a privilege to be at the helm as International Forum chair, as we connect and collaborate with water’s leading global players.”
British Water chief executive Lila Thompson said: “I’d like to congratulate Mark, Rachel and Tom on their appointments. Their skills and knowledge already bring huge value to the support we offer the British Water community and I look forward to working even more closely with them in the months and years ahead.
“On behalf of the British Water board and management team, I would also like to thank Chris Loughlin for his dedication and guidance since becoming chair in 2016. Chris has seen us through some difficult times, not least the covid pandemic, and his contribution to British Water and the entire sector has been exceptional.”
British Water’s UK Forum supports members with an interest in the UK municipal and industrial market. The forum meets twice a year to review the water market, hear updates from leading industry figures and identify key challenges to be taken forward by British Water.
The International Forum enables members to connect with leading players in the global water industry. Services include access to business mentors, market briefings and businesses development meetings with key buyers.
Emission-cutting innovations from three global technology leaders are being accelerated through the UK water sector, thanks to new collaborative platform Spring.
Technologies from Siemens, Xylem and Cobalt Water Global are being mobilised through a collaboration of 10 water companies, as part of the first Spring Accelerator challenge.
Spring is dedicated to water sector transformation through innovation and collaboration. It was launched in 2021 to support the sector in delivering the ambitions of its Water Innovation 2050 joint strategy and is backed by all UK and Irish water and wastewater companies.
The Spring Accelerator sets challenges related to the Water Innovation 2050 themes, facilitating the end-to-end process from ideation and assessment to collaboration and adoption. The initial stages of the first challenge, which asked innovators to find ways to reduce operational emissions, have successfully completed, with three new innovations on the fast-track to scaling and adoption.
Siemens - performance and emissions reduction using a white-box digital twin of the wastewater treatment process.
Xylem - Xylem Treatment System (TSO) digital twin-based control platform for process and greenhouse gas reduction in wastewater treatment.
Cobalt Water Global - N2ORisk Decision Support System to significantly reduce total greenhouse emissions at wastewater treatment plants by focusing on N2O.
Carly Perry, Spring managing director said: “We are thrilled to have three innovative companies reach the collaborative phase of the Spring acceleration process. All three ideas have the potential to be gamechangers in helping the sector achieve its net zero challenge, which is why 10 water companies want to work collaboratively to progress these innovations.
“I extend a huge thank you to everyone who submitted an idea following our callout back in February and congratulations to Cobalt Water Global, Xylem and Siemens.”
The successful ideas were announced at a Spring webinar on 7 July. Reflecting on the process, Adam Cartwright, Siemens head of internet of things applications, said: “As a supplier, it is exciting to see your solution transparently and robustly tested.
“With all the water companies coming together and agreeing a common evaluation framework for the trial it will reduce the time it takes to move to scale adoption. For me, this is the number one benefit of the Accelerator process.”
Oliver Puckering, Xylem principal process engineer for digital solutions, added: “Involvement in a truly collaborative approach, to what is one of the critical issues of our time, offers the potential for a best of breed combination of offerings.
“The level of engagement on all fronts has been very promising thus far. Spring is to be commended for this, particularly given this is the first of the challenges.”
Jose Porro, Cobalt Water Global founder and chief executive, said: "We are thrilled and honoured to have been chosen for the Spring innovation challenge to work with 10 leading UK water companies. We fully support Spring’s initiative to kick-off the challenge series with net zero technologies.