Ofwat has announced a new “open access” competition for innovators as its £200m Innovation Fund evolves to encourage more diverse ideas to transform water services for customers, the environment and society.
Ofwat’s innovation fund incentivises and rewards collaborative innovation in the water sector that meet key objectives for the industry around one (or more) of Ofwat’s four innovation themes:
- adapting to climate change and achieving net zero emissions;
- protecting and enhancing the environment;
- delivering long-term operational resilience;
- and improving the delivery of services for customers and society.
In its first year, the fund awarded £63m to projects ranging from bio-engineering solutions for ammonia and phosphorus pollution to remove pollutants from water whilst creating a circular economy for finite and useful chemicals, carbon capture initiatives to cut industry-related emissions to meet water industry targets of achieving net zero emissions by 2030, and cutting-edge research projects to develop green hydrogen from sewage, to create clean energy alternatives for the future.
Ofwat has unveiled how the innovation fund will evolve to meet customer, environmental and industry priorities in the years ahead: a £38 million competition to open in autumn 2022, the first £4m open access competition to open in early 2023 – and continuing the fund to 2030. It follows a consultation by the regulator on the future direction of the fund – and work to review the fund and innovation in the water sector.
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