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Watergate: Development of a low-cost solar desalination technology

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Watergate (Watergate: Development of a low-cost solar desalination technology)

Reporting period: 2015-05-01 to 2015-10-31

The objective of the WATERGATE project is to bring to the market, by early 2018, the first middle-scale desalination solution that combines a total energy autonomy and very competitive water costs of 2 €/m3. The objective of the feasibility study was to validate the match between the solution and the expectations of the potential clients, and to define the best business strategy to disseminate the technology.
For this purpose a market study of the middle scale desalination market (<1.000 m3/day) has been carried out, through analysis of existing documentation and 14 qualified interviews, that confirmed the huge potential of this market niche: it accounts for 540 Million € of annual CAPEX in 2012, with an annual growth rate exceeding 10%. The tourism segment, representing 1/3 of the market niche, came up as being the most relevant for the solution, WATERGATE matching perfectly the expectations of the clients. Indeed WATERGATE is able to offer them a safe, reliable and sustainable freshwater supply solution, with a return on investment of 5 years compared to competing solutions. Therefore it has been selected as priority segment for the market introduction, the technology needing to be proven on this segment before being able to diversify towards other economic sectors and public clients. The interest of the tourism sector for the WATERGATE solution has been confirmed by the will of a major leisure actor to be the first pilot costumer of the solution, for a 50m3/day unit that will be set up and tested in the summer 2017.
Based on this study, a communication strategy has been put in place with a new company name and visual identity, a new website and the development of communication material.
The financial plan of WATERGATE has been adapted to the new available market datas and to the defined marketing strategy. The economic impact of the project for InSolem has been confirmed, with an expected turnover of 23 Million € in 2020 and the creation of 21 new employments, confirming the interest in continuing the project. In order to optimize the chance of success, InSolem set up a partnership with Ziemex SAS, an industrial SME that will bring complementary competences in the development of the distillation process and in its industrialization. InSolem and Ziemex will apply together to the phase 2 of the SME Instrument, with the objective to develop a real life demonstrator of the solution for a client in Greece.
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