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🗣️ "Decisive Insights that Could Impact the Water Industry"

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Markus Winkler / Unsplash

Host: Antoine Walter
Category: 🗣️ Opinion | Water Industry

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[0:53] “The world is urbanizing fast. […] We have this impressive pace of Manhattan […] being built every month from now to 2050 or 2060. […] Why should we care as the water industry about this urbanization pace? In the end, it's an infrastructure question. […] It creates a new burden on that infrastructure. […] The fastest growing agglomerations are cities with fewer than 1 million inhabitants. […] While the design margin on your networks in big cities might be able to absorb a little increase, that's clearly not possible if you're doubling the dimension of a mid sized agglomeration.”

[5:43] “Digitization could find up to 80% untapped potential in water and wastewater treatment plants. […] If you bear in mind that the world loses an estimated 136 trillion liters of water every year in non revenue water, aka most of the time leaks, you get why this is particularly interesting.”

[7:11] “Studies in the US […] estimated [that the PFAS] impact on health costs [is] about $37 to $59 billion. […] We are no longer talking of the cost of remediation, but rather have avoided cost if we correct the problem. […] Most PFAS removal technologies nowadays are still quite young, and the limited places around the world that actually decided to tackle the problem offer so far a limited path to scale. So to be blunt, removing PFAS today is expensive. But what these studies show is that not removing those forever chemicals is even more costly.”

[12:23] “Supercritical water oxidation is indeed a very promising prospect to remove hard to treat pollutants from water. But if you ask me, there's something much more interesting about the technology. It allows to tap into the chemical energy trapped in wastewater. There's actually a direct correlation between the chemical oxygen demand (COD) of wastewater and the energy it contains. Theoretically, there's 16.1 kilojoules per gram of COD. So far, it's been a riddle for […] professionals to unleash this energy.”

[15:47] “Africa is an interesting market to look at as water professionals. Indeed, it is starting from a quite low infrastructure level. Only 42% of the population is served with to safely manage water, 23% with safely managed sanitation, and only 7% with at least a secondary wastewater treatment. […] Regardless of how much of a shame it is that by 2022, we still have such a low level of access to safe drinking water. It is an economic nonsense. So there's a clear benefit in ramping up the infrastructure. And hence a clear win win situation for the water industry.”

[21:20] “A $2.6 billion a year water industry segment might well quite soon be in trouble. UV disinfection is indeed the second largest disinfection technology after chlorine. It's nice to spread across water and wastewater treatment and it's a dominant solution in market verticals like […] water reuse. […] Here's the problem: […] UV disinfection features mercury vapor lamps. That use of mercury in light sources, which is a hazardous substance, is restrained by multiple regulations. […] Mercury is only allowed in special applications under special exemptions. So far, the water industry is one of these exemptions, because it struggles to find an efficient alternative to mercury vapor lamps. But that might be history with UV LED, and its continuous improvement. […] So for sure, that's an area to watch in the next months and years.”

[22:49] “There are at least 36 billion water assets beyond the water meter, which can deliver meaningful data that are not captured today. If you combine this with the fact […] that water suddenly takes much more value around its point of use, that opens interesting avenues for optimization and new business approaches.”

[25:24] “Green hydrogen won't be the tailwinds in our water sales that we sometimes dream of. It will be an interesting side business for the water industry, but not a tidal wave. The biggest impact will probably reside in deserted countries with a notion to the west.”

[29:26] “There is a tremendous win win business opportunity for specialized vertical SAS in industries like the water sector. […] [It is estimated that the digital water market will reach] $20 billion by 2030. […] COVID leapfrogged our path towards digital transformation. […] The other aspect is that money also starts to flow into those companies. […] In the past investors were a bit reluctant because of the limited total addressable market. But that's history now that the operating system argument beats that concern.”

Rating: 💧💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 37 min | 🗓️ 03/30/2022
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