Regional Water Authority Vallei and Veluwe and Cleantech Regio are stepping up their cooperation on innovation. Mayor of Lochem Sebastiaan van 't Erve, president of Cleantech Regio, and member of the dyke council Bert van Vreeswijk signed an agreement last Friday. A concrete example of the new cooperation is the new wastewater treatment test site for SMEs to be opened on Thursday 27 June.
Cooperation is valuable
Bert van Vreeswijk explains the water authority’s strategy. “We have noticed with new development that it is always valuable to work with partners. We want to create hubs in the fields of energy, raw materials and knowledge. Besides working on long-term developments, we also want to optimise existing installations. To do that, you need partners like SMEs, Cleantech Regio and knowledge institutes.” Sebastiaan van ’t Erve agrees completely. “And you need to trust each other. Together you can learn a lot and put your finger on sensitive issues. And you can use that practical experience to address other issues. The private sector sometimes has difficulty in getting innovations off the ground, so it’s good if we, as a public authority, can facilitate that. For example, by ensuring that companies don’t have to apply for a permit for each trial they carry out. And it has the advantage for us that we are close to the innovations.”
Robert Mathlener, programme director at Cleantech Regio, explains why this cooperation fits perfectly with Cleantech Regio’s ambitions. “We devote most attention to two top themes: the energy transition and a circular economy. With the test site, we can encourage knowledge development and have a place where talent can thrive. Half of manufacturing companies are working on a circular resource model, in which their liquid and solid waste is recycled to make new raw materials. They have questions about circular working. Industry parks also want to introduce circular working and have questions about waste water. Lastly, we are setting up a Centre for Circular Entrepreneurship. This water test site fits in well with those plans.” Patrick Blom, programme manager at the water authority, tells more about the circular economy and energy transition programme: “We are already retrieving valuable resources from waste water, but we see a lot more opportunities. We want to use fewer chemicals and more bio-based products in our processes. We need technical and technological innovations to achieve our ambitions. That calls for cooperation between government authorities, the private sector and knowledge institutes. The test site is a building block where we encourage and facilitate cooperation and innovation.”
Test site in Apeldoorn
The test site is located at the wastewater treatment plant in Apeldoorn. At the site, SMEs can test innovative processes or technologies relating to waste water treatment, biogas and/or the reuse of raw materials from waste water. In consultation, they can also test other water flows. The tests are conducted under secured environmental conditions. The site gives companies the opportunity to carry out tests in a practical environment and on a larger scale than in a laboratory. That is a crucial step in up-scaling from an idea to applying the technology in practice. Through its network, Cleantech Regio can help companies take their ideas and initiatives a step further and distribute them more quickly in the region. The Apeldoorn site is part of a European network of test sites. The project is subsidised by Interreg North-West Europe.
The test site in Apeldoorn will be festively opened on 27 June.