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Utilities critical for innovation spark

Water utilities must partner with water technology providers if innovation is going to thrive in the Australian water industry, says a figure behind a product judged one of the most innovative of last year.


Oxyzone Director and Co-owner David Hiscock, whose ozone disinfection trailer was judged one of the best products at the Australian Water Association’s 2015 Water Innovation Forum, said having the support of a utility when taking a new product to market could be critical factor in its success.


Oxyzone's trailer, which uses ozone gas to lend water disinfectant properties for treating new and recently repaired pipelines, was one of five winners of the competitive pitch sessions at last year’s Forum.


Hiscock said while that gave them invaluable exposure, their biggest boost has come from their partnership with Sydney Water. “Our relationship with Sydney Water has been very, very positive,” he said. “They have been driving this to market, not dragging it.”


"They have set up a demonstration configuration at Potts Hill, plus a complete training centre for operators of the product. When they had interest from Yarra Water, they road-freighted a trailer down to Melbourne and booked a space at a local university for a demonstration and discussion.”


Hiscock said that sort of support has been vital in getting their product established in the market. "Without Sydney Water, this would have just died. Many utilities move very, very slowly because they are dealing with the public’s money, and are very accountable for it. So new products and innovation isn’t something they jump at readily,” he said.


"From our point of view, you have to have a partnership with somebody that is driving it. Sydney Water is able to convince the other utilities by showing them the operation of the product on their site.”


Dozens of water technology providers will again be taking part in pitch sessions at this year’s Water Innovation Forum and Expo, set for Sydney’s Royal Randwick on March 10–11.


In a new feature, each of the five pitch sessions will be shared openly with the expo exhibitors, to maximise involvement while giving attendees rapid-fire introductions to the newest innovations in their fields.


Leading figures in the water industry have been confirmed for the session program, with topics of discussion to include urban water management, harvesting energy from wastewater, adapting to climate variability, treating emerging chemicals, commercialising innovations internationally, digital water management and more.


Article courtesy of Australian Water Association.

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