View from Europe: Virtual international market visits

By Beverley Ferrara
European Representative

Connecting creatively

More than ever, we want to support members and stimulate new opportunities, not just locally but internationally. One initiative currently underway is a series of ‘virtual market visits’ in the form of 90-minute webinars co-hosted with our partners in Europe.

Even without physical travel, firms can quickly and easily gain insights into new markets and explore the idea of collaborating with others to grow their business outside their current geography. To that end, we recently ventured virtually to the Catalan region of Spain and visited with The Water Alliance in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands. Plans are also in the works to explore potential opportunities in the UK and Ireland.

“We have spoken to a Dutch company twice and are currently working on an NDA as they actively search for Corncob projects. I can confidently say that the virtual visit was effective in helping us make solid connections.”   Annie Hwang, Corporate Communications, Corncob, Inc.

There is no swifter way to reach the right people than via high-quality introductions. One example: Our virtual visit to Spain connected eight TWC members with the ACCIO (Catalonia Trade & Investment Agency), the Catalan Water Partnership and several Catalan-based, water-tech companies.

We were delighted to have the support of the WEDC during this session, and especially Francisco Carrillo, its Director of Global Trade and Investment, who had been in Barcelona with me on an in-person trade visit just before lockdown.


Growing Opportunities

The Catalan region has a dynamic water tech sector, which offers growth opportunities to companies that provide differential value in efficient and optimized water management and water quality solutions.

We had a full cohort of TWC members join the visit, ranging from global players to early-stage BREW graduate companies. Participants from both regions introduced their companies, pitched their solutions and shared their interest in Europe and the US respectively. It was a very engaging event and feedback was overwhelmingly positive from both sides.

“Thank you for helping us make connections with Spanish companies. It was great! I’ve already had follow-up communications with some of the companies and think there could be very good possibilities going forward.”  Bryan Johnson, Principal, Energy Tech Innovations (ETI), Inc.

We keep our fingers crossed! Showing that collaboration – even in a pandemic – is possible, Spain based Joan Ibanez of SIGMA Daf and John Gralton of Wisonsin’s Clearwater Industries Inc. shared the story of their successful partnership that continues to progress with a planned pilot in Wisconsin later this quarter.

The next stop on our virtual market visit tour is Ireland and the UK and we look forward to facilitating meetings between TWC members and British and Irish companies and organizations.


 The Water Council members that ‘visited’ Leeuwarden and Barcelona:

Stonehouse Technologies has created a smart system that provides clean, on-demand water to households. Its water pod mimics a water treatment plant (without chemicals), has an advanced leak detection system and tracks usage.

Corncob Inc.’s Dynamic Membrane System is a wastewater filtration technology for industrial and municipal customers to reduce energy, chemical use, process time, footprint, and investment. Customers average 30-plus percent savings on capital costs, 50-plus percent in energy operational costs and system footprint by 80-plus percent.

ETI has developed a low-cost, water-based gas treatment method that converts biogas into renewable natural gas (RNG), a greenhouse gas neutral fuel. The company is also focused on the beneficial use of the CO2 by-product gas in wastewater treatment processes to provide added value.

Roving Blue is pioneering a new way to produce ozonated water via an electrolytic process. Interested in European partners for its GO3 water bottle pod, the world’s first self-sanitizing bottle using ozone.

SRL Environmental provides consulting services to public, private and academic sectors. Expertise includes: Treatment Wetlands, water reclamation, biogeochemistry, stormwater treatment, aquatic ecology, groundwater recharge, environmental microbiology, microbial biofilms, molecular biology, multivariate statistical analysis, environmental chemistry, bioremediation, algae biotechnology and other adjacent disciplines.

Dr. Marcia Silva of the University of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeThe Water Technology Accelerator (WaTA) provides world-class labs and equipment to move innovative science to commercial application. It is a collaboration between the UWM School of Freshwater Sciences, UWM College of Engineering and Applied Science, UW-Whitewater, and The Water Council. Dr. Silva grew the lab from two people to 70-plus researchers and $5.8 million in research grants in 5 years.

Pyro-E, a Water Council Tech Challenge winner, designs and deploys solid-state technologies for energy harvesting applications. Vibrational energy harvesting enables other devices to operate without wiring, paving the way for smart cities, improving urban mobility and smart utilization of renewable energy resources.

InSinkErator, a division of Emerson, is a world-leading manufacturer of residential and commercial food waste disposers and instant hot water dispensers.

Baker Manufacturing provides high capacity groundwater well components and water booster stations for municipal and industrial markets. The company makes residential components and well water treatment; environmental well water monitoring screens.

DMR International has engineered the NOVEX-AMG family of additive systems: unique solutions for water-filtration, using environmentally responsible materials. Interested in working in countries that approves Zinc as an active ingredient (its NOVEX-AMG is a novel Organometallic Zinc).

P4 Infrastructure manufactures a suite of products devoted to stormwater management. Simple to install, economic sensor systems; wireless transmission of data to cloud storage and leverage ERSI/ArcGIS-based dashboards for monitoring and analytics.