Silicon Valley is undoubtedly the world’s most famous hub for tech entrepreneurship, innovation and world-class research. At its core lies a cocktail of willingness to take risks, to work across professional boundaries and to radically change the world as we see it through ambitious business models and successful application of new technology.
One code that Silicon Valley Ecosystem hasn’t cracked yet is the global water challenge. Water is still on the top of the list of global risk factors – either there is too little, too much or it is of too poor quality. And it is not just a problem in developing countries.
Silicon Valley and California is just recovering from a multi-year drought, followed by the wettest winter on record and more recently extensive wild fires with catastrophic outcomes. Here we are not only discussing Artificial intelligence, block chain and self-driving cars – water is a big topic of conversation everywhere you go.
The importance of water in California was recently underlined when Governor Brown signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Kingdom of Denmark outlining a closer collaboration on water. The Danish Water Technology Alliance (WTA) is tasked with promoting knowledge sharing and increased collaboration between Denmark & California on water solutions – including innovation. The alliance is run by the Danish Trade Council in a strategic partnership with Danish utility Aarhus Water and supported by the Danish Industry Foundation.
Group photo - Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park Sep. 22nd in Sacramento
As an integral part of Innovation Center Denmark in Silicon Valley, the Water Technology Alliance joined forces with Science Attaché Jeppe Olesen and invited a group of Denmark’s leading water researchers on a weeklong R&D deep dive into areas of joint interest and potential collaboration with innovative local utilities and researchers. The Danish R&D delegation also includes core staff from Aarhus Water who is currently in the process of designing the World’s most efficient resource recovery facility (what formerly was known as a wastewater treatment plant). Aarhus Water is sourcing global ideas and is already seen as an innovator globally, culminating in a special piece on Aarhus Water’s renewable energy profile in the 2016 edition of the World Energy Outlook.
Throughout the week, Danish researchers from Aarhus University, Aalborg University and the Danish Technical University will engage in technical discussions with peers from Stanford University and visit a number of innovative utilities and stakeholders like Silicon Valley Clean Water, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Centre and Bay Area Clean Water Agencies.
The dialogue will certainly revolve around water and technology. The topic of conversation however is no longer wastewater but resource recovery. The mindset has shifted from viewing wastewater as a burden to a resource. That opens up for an endless amount of opportunities for innovation and collaboration. This mindset you could say is perfectly poised for Silicon Valley that may well transform the global water sector with its special transformative cocktail. But in this instance it is a cocktail with a strong Danish ingredient.
Water Technology Alliance Fact Box
The Water Technology Alliance in the US is a partnership between the Trade Council in North America, the Danish water utility collaboration ‘3Vand’ (Aarhus Vand, BIOFOS, HOFOR & VCS) and leading Danish water technology companies: Applied Biomimetic, AVK, Danfoss, DHI, Grundfos, I-GIS, Kamstrup, Landia, Leif Koch A/S, LiqTech, LINAK, NISSEN Energiteknik, Rambøll, SkyTEM & Smith Innovation. The WTA is supported by the Danish Industry Foundation.
The WTA has offices in Chicago, Ill. & Silicon Valley, CA and work with both water resource management, water distribution, wastewater & water technology innovation.
Guest blog by: Jacob Vind, Head of the Danish Water Technology Alliance
For more information about the WTA, please contact Head of the WTA Jacob Vind [email protected]