H-HOPE Policy Workshop: Discussing Policy Implications of Energy Harvester

H-HOPE Policy Workshop: Discussing Policy Implications of Energy Harvester

In a hybrid workshop organised by H-HOPE consortium in Brussels on the 19th of April 2024, European policy stakeholders congregated to discuss harnessing the latent energy residing within water systems. The workshop, marked by insightful discussions, epitomised the collaborative efforts of academia, industry, and policy influencers in redefining sustainable energy paradigms.

Kicking off the proceedings, Professor Giovanna Cavazzini University of Padova introduced the H-HOPE project, aimed at revolutionising energy dynamics across Europe by tapping into the vast potential of water flows. With a focus on diverse water systems, including distribution networks, treatment channels, and natural flows like the Venice Lagoon, the project aims to extract energy from low-energy water flows, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

As discussions unfolded, stakeholders from Aqua Publica Europea, MEP Water Group, European Water Association, ICT4Water Cluster, and Eurelectric delved into the intricate interplay between technological innovation and policy imperatives. Policy considerations, including cost-effectiveness, reliability, and environmental impacts, took center stage as participants deliberated on developing a low-cost, resilient technology that could withstand the rigors of real-world applications.

Technical insights provided a deeper understanding of the project’s multiphysics approach and diverse case studies across Europe. Of particular note was the unveiling of a DIY platform, empowering users to construct their energy harvesting devices at a fraction of traditional costs, with targets set around €100 to promote widespread adoption. This democratisation of technology promises to catalyse grassroots innovation and foster community-driven solutions to pressing energy challenges.

Engaging stakeholders and driving policy was key as discussions spanned technical, economic, and policy implications, with the project poised to inform policy development by providing critical insights into optimal deployment locations, cost-effective solutions, and seamless integration into existing water systems.

Policy discussions were central to the workshop, with stakeholders engaging in robust dialogue concerning the implications of energy harvesting technologies on existing regulatory frameworks and future policy initiatives. Professor David Finger, from Reykjavik University, kickstarted discussions by shedding light on the intersection of technology and policy, emphasising the importance of raising awareness about the potential impacts of energy harvesting on water management and beyond. Stakeholders delved into various policy considerations, including the need for guidelines to inform technology development, the role of European policies in supporting digitalisation and energy harvesting technologies, and gaps in current policy frameworks that may hinder the widespread adoption of such innovations.

Furthermore, discussions extended to existing and upcoming regulations that could incentivise or necessitate the integration of energy harvesters into water systems, underscoring the imperative of aligning technological advancements with regulatory imperatives to foster sustainable development.

The discussion also touched upon specific directives and policy initiatives, and how the energy harvester could contribute to these goals:

  • The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) is a key piece of EU legislation aimed at achieving and maintaining good water status across Europe’s surface waters, including rivers, lakes, coastal waters, and groundwater. H-HOPE contributes to the preservation and improvement of water quality and ecosystems
  • Drinking Water Directive and regulatory frameworks relates to water quality monitoring, aligning with broader efforts to ensure water quality and environmental protection. H-HOPE technology aligns with the objectives of the Drinking Water Directive by contributing to the reduction of leakages in water distribution networks and promoting the efficient and sustainable management of drinking water resources
  • Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (UWWTD) protects water quality and the environment. It sets out requirements for the collection, treatment, and discharge of urban wastewater, aiming to prevent pollution and improve water quality in rivers, lakes, and coastal waters. The technology indirectly contributes to the objectives of the UWWTD. Participants highlighted the potential of energy harvesting technology to address challenges such as stormwater overflow, which occurs when the sewage system cannot cope with heavy rainfall, leading to untreated water discharge into water bodies. This issue was recognised as an area where energy harvesting solutions could play a significant role in monitoring and managing water resources more effectively.
  • The EU Blue Deal: This initiative promotes sustainability and innovation in the maritime and water sectors. Discussions highlighted the importance of aligning the H HOPE project with the objectives of the EU Blue Deal to contribute to creating a water-smart society.

Discussions touched upon the societal impact of the technology, particularly in areas such as water management, agriculture, and international development.

  1. Leak Detection:

    • Detecting leaks in water distribution networks is a critical challenge. Traditional methods are often inefficient and costly, leading to water loss and infrastructure damage. The project aims to address this issue by leveraging IoT sensors and smart monitoring systems for real-time leak detection, enabling prompt intervention and reduced water loss.
  2. Stormwater Overflow:

    • Stormwater overflow during heavy rainfall events can cause flooding and water pollution. Integrating energy harvesting systems with stormwater management infrastructure allows for proactive monitoring and control. By utilizing sensors to monitor water levels and flow rates, stakeholders can implement timely measures to mitigate overflow events and minimize environmental impact.
  3. IoT Sensor Integration:

    • IoT sensors play a vital role in monitoring various parameters of water systems, such as flow, quality, and pressure. Integrating these sensors with energy harvesting technologies enables continuous monitoring and real-time data transmission. This integration enhances water management efficiency and facilitates early detection of issues like leaks and overflows, enabling timely intervention and resource optimization.
  4. Smart Monitoring Systems:

    • Smart monitoring systems, comprising sensors, data analytics, and communication networks, provide comprehensive insights into water infrastructure performance. Powered by energy harvesting technologies, these systems offer real-time monitoring capabilities, empowering stakeholders to make informed decisions and optimize resource allocation for sustainable water management practices.

A presentation by Dirk from Water Europe provided an overview of the association representing various sectors within the water industry. Water Europe’s programs and activities are aimed at promoting sustainability and innovation in the water sector, emphasising the importance of collaboration and engagement with stakeholders. 

H-HOPE would like to thank the participation of Aqua Publica Europea represented by Mr. Jean-Yves Stenuick, the European Parliament’s MEP Water Group represented by Ms. Emmanuelle Pouget, the European Water Association led by Mr. Arthur Guischet, and the ICT4 Water Cluster with Dr. Richard Elelman and Dr. Albert Chen, Eurelectric, represented by Mr. Adrian Lindermuth, and Water Europe represented by Mr. Durk Krol. 

Presentation of the workshop can be found here: 2024 04 19 H-HOPE stakeholder event

Promotional video can be found here:

 

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