The BE:WISE facility will help reduce barriers to innovation by sharing the costs, offering control at scale, and accounting for uncertainty by allowing variation to be studied.
It will help to accelerate the translation and uptake of new innovations by the water sector.
Examples of challenges for innovation in the water industry:
- Many successful lab-scale innovations never see practical application because they are rarely trialled at the pilot-scale.
- Scale-up is a costly and uncertain process that can be difficult to fund and risky to carry out.
- There are 6250 papers published in the Web of Science on microbial fuel cells, less than 20 purported pilot scale studies, and only three published pilot studies using real wastewater in ambient conditions.
- Pilot-scale studies are frequently conducted without replication, can fail without understanding the underlying causes, and when they do are unlikely to be repeated or published.
- Besides energy reduction and nutrient recovery, society faces additional challenges to protect the aqueous environment on which all life depends, ensuring the safety of water quality and prevent burdens on existing infrastructure.
In response to these and other challenges the BE:WISE facility will develop a new suite of beneficial sustainable technologies, simulated at the computer, trialled in the lab and translated to real world application.