Two information meetings, attended by a total of 100 participants, of the CEWP Business and Innovation Program 2019 priority market: Industrial Water Use were held in Qingdao, 12th April and at the IE Expo in Shanghai 15th April respectively.
The meetings confirmed that Industrial water use is a relevant area for CEWP innovation and business activites, as more than 80% of water resources are used in China for industrial and agricultural activities and capital expenditure on industrial water and wastewater treatment in China is set to increase by nearly 25% over the next 3 years.
The Chinese industrial water market is considered quite conservative and driven by regulatory requirement. Also, the presently low however increasing resource costs may not drive industries towards more efficient solutions. The market however may react to game changers like regulation, climate change impacts, circular economy and digital transformation- and European companies may provide solutions in specific niches and benefit from their experience in integrated system solutions.
The market approach of European companies to the industrial market to a wide extend resembles the water market as such, and lessons learned and approaches suggested by e.g. the EUSME centre and EUPIC are of value as a guidance for European companies to approach the industrial market as well.
The meetings showed Interest from the Chinese participants (both end-users and technology providers) to learn more about European technologies and approaches - with some concrete research cooperation and business opportunities to be developed and explored further by CEWP.
Looking ahead to the upcoming EU-China Business & Technology Cooperation Fair. November 11-13 Chengdu. November 14-15, Qingdao, it seems relevant for the CEWP Business and Innovation Program to focus the presentations and discussion on quite specific niche and integrated technology solutions for industrial water. Also, there is a need to prepare participating European and Chinese partners in the upcoming November meeting to better specify problems and solutions needed- with the view to improve the potential of concrete business cooperation activities.
Overall, and obviously simplified conclusions, crucial to handling the Open Innovation Meetings in November, were:
- Technologies at component level, with quite advanced features exists, but at the same there is a significant gap between the use of these incorporated in solutions, the quite impressive policies eg Water Ten Action Plan, and the macro figures for the state of the environment, water quality, water resources availability, climate change etc: the market doesnt deliver sufficiently.
- This points to market errors in a combition of the following:
- Components not combined into adequate solutions.
- Silo-dimension of policies and trickle down of related budgets not ensuring a holistic dimension of solutions requested via tenders, notably lack of ensuring energy-efficient solutions.
- Lack of appropriate pricing, which includes true costs of operations, both for water, energy and other resources, prevents strong business cases for holistic solutions and doesnt contribute to long-term sustainability.
- And, maybe, these deficiencies may be worsened by approach and role the Design Insitutes, which doesnt necessarily promote state-of-the-art solutions. This will be examined further.
- Finally, lack of adequate Guidance Documents for the local regulators in their work with implementation of national strategies and laws, coupled with lack of appropriate analytical tools to established customized approaches leads to one-size-fits all measures implemented for whole river basins.