More than 50 research projects underway
TKI Water Technology: the “engine driving the circular economy”
KWR is, within the Water Top Sector, one of the research organisations tasked with organising demand-driven research projects in the form of public-private partnerships. Within the Top consortia Knowledge and Innovation (TKI), more that 50 research projects are currently underway: all partnerships between government, business and research organisations. Jos Boere, Manager, Water Systems and Technology at KWR, looks back at an intense and promising year.
“The objective of the top-sector policy and the TKI scheme is to stimulate and create more economic value from knowledge development,” says Boere. “Partnerships between private enterprises and research organisations are central to this.” 2013 is primarily the year in which the new model – i.e., collaborative projects in which research is conducted on the basis of shared funding and risks – gets started. But concrete results are already being achieved. Together with Schiphol, Evides Waterbedrijf and Vewin, KWR has selected a technology for the recovery of phosphorus from travellers’ wastewater. With Vitens and BAM, KWR is working on the full-scale implementation of the Freshkeeper – a concept for counteracting salinisation of well fields – at the Noardburgum water abstraction site. And there are a number of other joint projects involving other water companies and partners.
Partner commitment is essential
“What’s crucial to these projects is the commitment of all the partners,” says Boere. “It is important that they really go for it, because this is what truly increases the chances for a successful project and the actual implementation of the results.” He is satisfied with the returns and collaboration so far. “The TKI scheme works well because, as a knowledge organisation, one has direct contact with all those involved, and one joins them around the table to organise projects. So, yes, the sense of collaboration grows, as does the economic activity. From an innovation like the Freshkeeper, for example, I also anticipate a strong international impact.”
Making optimal use of sources and knowledge
A large part of the TKI projects in which KWR is involved concern the reuse of energy, water and raw materials, that is, resource recovery . “This is obviously no coincidence,” says Boere. “All partners see the potential and necessity of reuse. We must move toward a circular economy; an economy in which we not only make optimal use of our sources, but also of each other’s knowledge and capacities in the form of cross-sectoral partnerships. The TKI scheme is the engine driving this entire effort.”
© 2017 KWR Watercycle Research Institute
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Manager Water Systems and Technology
Scientific researcher and Programme coordinator TKI Water Technology