Water is a vital resource for human health, food security, and economic development. However, water is also facing multiple challenges, such as scarcity, pollution, climate change, and aging infrastructure. To address these challenges, water treatment technologies are evolving and innovating to provide safe, reliable, and sustainable water solutions. In this article, we will explore some of the water treatment trends that are expected to shape the industry in 2023 and beyond.
IIoT and Smart Water Networks: The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) refers to the use of sensors, devices, and software to collect, analyze, and communicate data from various industrial processes. In water treatment, IIoT enables the creation of smart water networks that can monitor and control water quality, quantity, pressure, flow, and leakage in real-time. Smart water networks can also optimize water distribution, reduce operational costs, enhance customer service, and improve environmental performance. For example, one startup offers a cloud-based leak detection and pipe condition assessment solution that uses acoustic sensors and AI algorithms.
Nanotechnology and Nanofiltration: Nanotechnology is the manipulation of matter at the nanoscale (one billionth of a meter) to create new materials and devices with novel properties. In water treatment, nanotechnology can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of various processes, such as filtration, disinfection, desalination, and remediation. Nanofiltration is a type of membrane filtration that uses nanosized pores to remove contaminants such as salts, organic molecules, viruses, and bacteria from water. Nanofiltration can also reduce the energy consumption and environmental impact of water treatment. For example, one startup develops a 3D-printed nanofiber membrane that can filter water 10 times faster than conventional membranes.
Bio-based Water Remediation: Bio-based water remediation is the use of biological agents such as bacteria, fungi, algae, or plants to degrade or remove pollutants from water. Bio-based water remediation is an eco-friendly and cost-effective alternative to conventional chemical or physical methods. Bio-based water remediation can also recover valuable resources such as nutrients, metals, or energy from wastewater. For example, one startup offers a modular and scalable wastewater treatment system that uses bacteria embedded in pipes to treat domestic or industrial wastewater without producing sludge.
Desalination and Renewable Energy: Desalination is the process of removing salt and other impurities from seawater or brackish water, making it suitable for drinking, irrigation, or industrial use. Desalination is a potential solution for water scarcity and security issues, especially in arid and coastal regions. However, desalination is also energy-intensive and environmentally harmful. To overcome these challenges, desalination technologies are integrating with renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, or geothermal power to reduce their carbon footprint and operational costs. For example, one startup develops a solar-powered desalination device that can produce up to 20 liters of clean water per day from any water source.
Water Reuse and Circular Economy: Water reuse is the practice of using treated wastewater for beneficial purposes such as irrigation, industrial processes, or potable supply. Water reuse can reduce the demand for freshwater resources, lower the discharge of pollutants into the environment, and enhance the resilience of water systems. Water reuse is also aligned with the concept of circular economy, which aims to minimize waste and maximize value by keeping resources in use for as long as possible. For example, one startup provides a bioelectrochemical system that converts wastewater into clean water and electricity.
These are some of the water treatment trends that are expected to shape the industry in 2023 and beyond. These trends demonstrate how technology is solving water challenges by providing safe, reliable, and sustainable water solutions. By adopting these technologies, water stakeholders can improve their performance and competitiveness in the global market.