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ReAl-time online QUality Assurance for REUSE of water

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - AQUA-REUSE (ReAl-time online QUality Assurance for REUSE of water)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2018-10-31

There is a limited access of fresh water in the world due to population growth, climate change and water scarcity. Reuse of water is essential in many parts of the world to avoid water scarcity. Problem relates to security and safety of treated waste water for reuse & for drinking water. Clean and safe water is needed in everything we do in our daily lives from personal use to production of almost all goods.

Treated waste water contains pathogens like faecal bacteria e-coli and coliforms, parasites like Cryptosporidium and Giardia and pharmaceutical residues. These contaminants are harmful to humans and to our limited natural resource of water. Water sources are a critical infrastructure and must be maintained and monitored as any negative change in quality can have dramatic consequences.

Today there is no user-friendly, nor accurate real time on-line monitoring and biological and chemical sampling system for the management of a treatment plant to get warning for sudden changes of biological and organic load in drinking water. The changes come and go unpredicted and unnoticed by the operators of a treatment plant. These sudden changes always bring high probability of microbiological growth due to contamination that is harmful for the consumers and to sensitive processes that need clean, safe and stable water quality.

The water utilities are required today to verify the water quality on a regular basis by performing standard operating procedures like random, collective or periodic sampling and applying standard laboratory methods. These random or periodic sampling methods have significant limitations and does not reflect biological growth in real time.

Aqua-Q’s idea is to develop a novel solution to above mentioned problem by adaptation of an optical Early Waring monitoring & sampling system AQUATRACK® for drinking water and treated waste water for reuse. The system will provide reliable information to a plant operator 24/7 prior to prior to any contamination incident and spreading of contamination in the water infrastructure. The prototype AQUATRACK® is EU ETV verified and demonstrated in Spain and Stockholm. The product has reached the level of TRL 7. AQUATRACK® also actuates our ozone polishing system to eliminate both pathogens and pharmaceutical residues in water.

This concept has got the best appreciation from IWA (International Water Association), WssTP (Water Supply and Sanitation Technology Platform) and the world’s most prestigious environmental National Energy Globe Award. Our USP is the real time detection of contaminants, dynamic sampling and online removal by ozone polishing. Our USPs and benefits have been recognised by this collection of industry organisation:
1) Best Market-changing water technology and infrastructure – IWA
2) Best practice technology having high market potential – WssTP
3) Clean and safe water is the most important premise of a healthy and good life. Recognising contamination an early stage can save lives and increase the possibility of finding solutions quickly. This project can improve the living conditions of many people and prevent epidemics. It uses minimum of energy and causes no emission. It’s a great contribution to humanity! – National Energy Globe Award

During this Phase 1 project our objectives were to:
identify the most appropriate market opportunities through thorough voice of customer work;
Establish relationships with strategic partners to solidify new routes to markets;
Develop a robust supply chain to take AQUATRACK® into commercial production;
Develop a robust IP strategy to ensure long-term exploitation of Aqua-Q IP

Our objectives beyond this project are to develop, demonstrate and market a robust solution for water security that includes digital communication and promotes water surveillance for consumer safety. Combining monitoring in real time with online quality control of contamination and dynamic sampling at the time of contamination together with online removal by ozone polishing in a container model. We will plan to secure grant funding to assist in the completion of these demonstrations.
During the Phase 1 project, we have completed a wide range of activities that have allowed us to strengthen our understanding of the market, the business opportunity and our potential customers. With Task 1, we have met and spoken with a wide range of organisations that span across a range of different customer segments. These discussions have allowed us to gain a deeper understanding of the needs across the industry as well as the drivers for adoption of our technology. With Task 2, we completed a market analysis to update our existing knowledge of the market for AQUATRACK® and AQUA-REUSE. This analysis highlighted that there is a growing market water monitoring equipment and that there is a growing trend across the global water market that driving the demand and interest in water reuse. Task 3 allowed us to refresh our understanding of our IP landscape while also allowing us to put measures in place to ensure that any future IP has the best chance of protection. During Task 4, we explored the various options for our future business strategy. The positives and negatives of each potential business strategy were reviewed to ensure that we could make an informed approach. During Task 5 we considered our commercial supply chain and used this opportunity to identify service providers and suppliers that can provide the required components at the expected price points. Task 6 covered our work to build out our business plan with heavy consideration into our growth strategy and requirements for future funding. We have used our revised market knowledge to revise and refresh our financial forecasts. During the project, we discovered that the best opportunities were present with wastewater treatment plants. This finding was contrary to our expectations before the project. The reason is that drinking water plant operators are reluctant to divulge any information on their need for better monitoring and sampling technology – as this could have a significant impact on their public reputation. However, with wastewater treatment plants it was the opposite. WWTPs have been more engaged and willing to discuss the impact and benefits that our technologies could bring to their operations.

As a direct result of this project, we have discovered a range of potential customers that would be keen to assist with demonstration of both AQUATRACK® and AQUA-REUSE. Therefore, our next steps are to identify methods to demonstrate our technologies and progress the developments required to begin commercialisation.
AQUATRACK® is already far superior to the solutions that are currently available for water monitoring and sampling. This project has helped us to revalidate our value proposition and re-evaluate our forecasts. Through this project, we have developed a better and stronger understanding of where our efforts should be focused to progress developed. We are now aiming to develop a project plan that could be submitted for SME Instrument Phase 2 or even other potential grant programmes. This future project will cover:
- Development of the control software and cloud monitoring and results platform;
- Optimisation of the AQUATRACK® technology and integrations of ozone treatments;
- Design and development of industrialised AQUATRACK® unit
- Testing and validation of a complete industrialised unit

Wider Impacts: Water is an essential necessity for life, however, even now many across the globe do not have access to safe and clean water. WWF report that only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater but 2/3 locked away in glaciers or unavailable for use. This highlights the reliance and importance of water recycling and reuse. It is reported that contaminated water is responsible for ~5m deaths every year. Moreover, almost 1.2bn people are living in areas of water scarcity with lack of access to water. Almost 2.7bn people face water scarcity for at least one month of the year, with inadequate sanitation affecting ~2.4bn people. Our project is aligned with United Nations 17 sustainable goals specifically no 6 Safe and Clean Water and Sanitation.
AQUATRACK® encourages broader applications for treated wastewater for reuse, based on the real-time monitoring of contaminants.

AQUATRACK® can increase population safety. As water is a crucial resource for life, it is also at high-risk of terror attacks. Malicious activity such as adulterating a water supply, can quickly affect ‘000s of lives, and in some cases even take these lives. Water infrastructure is an urban soft target that must be protected and monitored. AQUATRACK® has the ability to identify any change from the baseline water fingerprint in real-time, where other systems will only realise at the next programmed sample.
AQUATRACK® offers ease-of-use at all stages - Installation is simple and can be completed with minimal disruption to commercial processes. Once installed, the software is designed to be user friendly and offers a high level of automation for samples and analysis. AQUATRACK® is a solution that can be deployed in a number of scenarios and can be operated by anyone, and is not gender specific, nor are applications gender discriminatory.