On the 23rd October, we held our second annual conference in Dublin, attracting over 75 attendees from a wide range of industries; water service providers, local authorities, academia, food and hospitality sectors and many more. This year’s conference theme, Water–Energy Innovation, helped to address the challenges that our region faces in relation to water and energy demands. The conference was divided in 10 industry-academic pitches and 3 sessions related to Dwr Uisce milestones which connect with challenges faced stakeholders. Across the sessions our speakers looked at identifying opportunities for innovation in the sector, as well as the challenges such innovation faces; how to put innovative ideas into practice in different water intensive industries; and finally how the knowledge gained from such ventures can be shared with others through demonstration.
The Innovation Opportunities session included speakers Paul O’Callaghan (BlueTech Research) and Mike Pedley (Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water) who looked at the success, failures and innovation opportunities globally in the water industry, and progress and challenges for energy in the UK water industry respectively. Both of these speakers highlighted not only the need for pioneering thinking when looking for innovation in the sectors, but also how some of the most simple innovations can be highly effective in reducing water use or the energy use associated with this water. This session ended with a selection of two minute presentations from different speakers mainly in industry and higher education on the theme of Water, Energy and Innovation; from the need to innovate due to climate change, to domestic water saving products, to chemical free water purification; this was a fast paced, varied and informative section of the day for all.
In our second session, Triona Collins (Tipperary Country Council), John Durkan (ABP Food Group), Benny McDonagh (EPS Group) and John Gallagher (Trinity College Dublin) all spoke about putting innovation in to practice in a variety of sectors and ways. From innovative community engagement for water use awareness to extensive water reduction in water intensive beef production to innovation scorecards at the National Trust to ensure responsible future spending. This session highlighted the many methods already being used in an array of sectors to reduce the amount of water used, or the amount of energy associated with that water use.
The Demonstrating Learning session of the conference showcased our Dŵr Uisce Hydropower and Heat Recovery Demonstration sites, as well as how we are growing, interacting and bringing benefit to our wider Dŵr Uisce cluster. Irene & Daniele, post-doctoral and PhD researchers in our Trinity Team, spoke about the progress and details of our interesting hydropower developments at Blackstairs Groups Water Scheme in Ireland, and the National Trust property, Tŷ Mawr, in Wales. Furthermore, Isabel and Jan, PhD researchers in our Bangor and Trinity teams respectively spoke about the innovative work they have been doing at Penrhyn Castle, Wales in relation to implementing a new drain water heat recovery system in the castle’s café kitchen.
All of our demonstration sites will allow us in the future to share first-hand our learnings and knowledge on the implementation, practicalities and running of these types of installations with our cluster group through site visits. This just part of the aims for our cluster, which Ana, a post-doctoral researcher in our trinity team spoke about; and how we can collaboratively demonstrate learning in action through this.The Dŵr Uisce team would like to thank all that attended the event, as well as all of our speakers for all of their informative and interesting talks. If you are interested in finding out more about the conference (including the presentation given on the day), Dŵr Uisce’s work, or our demonstration sites, please consider joining our cluster for free, by signing up at the following page on this site. To stay up to date with all of our latest news and developments please also sign up to our newsletter.