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Water sustainability, a new innovative concept launched

I’m often asked how we in DNV GL go about our innovation processes. The answer is quite simple – we have all the processes in place to harvest ideas, screen and prioritize initiative based on a broad range of criteria. However, as I often point out, most of our recent innovation concepts are based on us identifying a big sustainability challenge, forming a dedicated and cross disciplinary team and working on the task within a set time frame. We call these projects our Extraordinary innovation projects.

Last Thursday saw the launch of such an Extraordinary innovation project, one that truly fulfilled all requirements of moving toward safer, smarter and greener technology. The project, Aqua Recovery, proposes using phased out tankers anchored offshore for recycling of waste water. A solution that has many aspects – it is practical and non-intensive in terms of capital costs, reuse of existing capabilities, and it will preserve precious land resources – the list goes on. By converting, for example, a 15 year old product tanker we can treat the waste water from a city of 250.000 inhabitants.

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The project is the result of an idea launched by Sigmund Larsen, CEO of tech start-up EnviroNor about a year ago. The germ of an idea so radical, that most would consign it to just the visionary’s drawing board was researched by our own Project Manager Petter Andersen and his team and ready for a pilot run in just 10 months!

Radical because

  • Adding 20 years to the lifecycle of old ships ranging from barges to supertankers that would otherwise go to a scrapyard
  • Repurposing existing tanks and piping to a new and critical task
  • Addressing the scarcity of land by using these vessels as floating wastewater plants

Smart because –

  • Tailor-made solutions for riverside and seaside populations by using appropriately sized vessels
  • Stopping the pollution of our water bodies while providing potable water
  • Providing a solution to different kinds of water needs that can be used in a targeted manner, whether for industry or for irrigation
  • Cost effective, mobile and easy and quick to build – especially in relation to land based structures, this just needs the inlet and outlet piping to be built on land.

Water shortage is one of the biggest problems of our time and a solution like this can go a long way in alleviating it.

The enthusiasm displayed by our strategic partners WWF Norway and the Red Cross is also a marker of how important it is to develop this kind of lateral thinking. Nina Jensen, CEO of WWF Norway, is positive to the prospect that this kind of floating plant could help by relieving pressure on fresh water resources by recycling water for industry and irrigation purposes.

Tørris Jaeger, Head of the International division of the Norwegian Red Cross presented the project’s humanitarian angle by pointing out that polluted water reduces people’s resistance to diseases and thus leads to more illnesses. If waste water is recycled, instead of becoming a pollutant, it is a win-win situation.

Aqua Recovery is a part of the DNV GL Extraordinary Innovation Program, and in my mind it is an excellent opportunity to help solve the enormous global water challenges due to urbanization and population growth.

Together with our partners EnviroNor, WWF and the Red Cross, we want to bring more knowledge and concrete solutions to the market.

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I am confident that the Aqua Recovery concept is both feasible and profitable

Three Aqua Recovery innovation solutions have been developed

  1. The “Reliever”- a ship that can help to treat wastewater, for example while a land-based plant is being modified, expanded or repaired. Typical need: a slightly developed country with unsatisfactory treatment capacity.
  2. The “Changemaker”- a more or less permanent treatment plant that takes grey water and polluted industrial effluents and treats them enough for them to be used for watering and industry purposes. This allows more water for drinking. Typical need: the Mediterranean.
  3. The “Water Factory”- slightly polluted river water is treated so that it has drinking water quality. Typical need: rivers in China and other densely populated places where drinking water is in short supply.

The next challenge now is – where and how soon will it be used? Our goal is to have the first pilot in place in 2015 and we are now seeking out to collaborative partners that can support the next phase of this project.

Help us spread the word!

1 Comments Add your comment
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