Net Zero Water Challenge innovations spring

Emissions reduction innovations from three global technology leaders are accelerated in the UK water sector, thanks to new Spring collaborative platform.

Technologies from Siemens, Xylem and Cobalt Water Global are mobilized through a collaboration of 10 water companies in the first Spring Accelerator Challenge.

Spring was launched in 2021 to help the water sector achieve the ambitions of its joint Water Innovation 2050 strategy and is supported by all UK and Irish water and wastewater companies.

The Spring Accelerator sets challenges related to the Water Innovation 2050 themes, facilitating the end-to-end process, from ideation and evaluation to collaboration and adoption. The first steps of the first challenge, which asked innovators to find ways to reduce operational emissions, have been successfully completed, with new innovations from three companies on the fast track to scale and adoption :

Siemens – Optimized performance and reduced emissions with a white box digital twin of the wastewater treatment process.

Xylem – Xylem Treatment System Optimization (TSO) twin-based digital control platform for process optimization and greenhouse gas reduction in wastewater treatment.

Global Cobalt Water – N2ORisk decision support system to drastically reduce total greenhouse gas emissions in wastewater treatment plants by focusing on N2O.

Cobalt Water Global’s N2ORisk decision support system can reduce total greenhouse gas emissions at wastewater treatment plants.

Carly Perry, CEO of Spring, said, “We are thrilled to have three innovative companies reach the collaborative phase of Spring’s acceleration process,” said Spring CEO Carly Perry.

“All three ideas have the potential to be a game-changer in helping the sector meet its net zero challenge, which is why 10 water companies want to work collaboratively to advance these innovations.”

Installation of trial technology at Welsh Water’s Swansea Bay treatment facilities.

The winning ideas were announced during a spring webinar on July 7.

“As a vendor, it’s exciting to see your solution tested in a seamless and robust way,” said Adam Cartwright, IoT Applications Manager at Siemens. “With all the water companies coming together and agreeing on a common assessment framework for the trial, this will reduce the time needed to move to wide-scale adoption. For me, this is the main advantage of the Accelerator process.

“Engaging in a truly collaborative approach to what is one of the critical issues of our time offers the potential for a better mix of offerings,” added Oliver Puckering, Principal Process Engineer at Xylem for digital solutions. “The level of commitment on all fronts has been very promising so far. Spring is to be commended for that, especially as it is the first of the challenges.

“Not only is it essential to find ways to accelerate innovation, but there is also an urgent need for climate action. This spring challenge does both,” said Jose Porro, Founder and Managing Director of Cobalt Water Global.

Next steps

Engagement workshops with the three innovators and the water companies, led by Spring, are underway and individual trials are progressing. Welsh Water, which is currently testing two of the innovations, has already held an information sharing session with other water companies. Upon completion of the individual trials, a collaborative group trial will be led by Severn Trent.

“We fully support the desire to accelerate innovation and enable collaboration within the water community and we were delighted to share the knowledge from our trials as part of the Spring Accelerator Challenge,” said Tony. Harrington, environmental director of Welsh Water and member of Spring’s board of directors.

“By taking an open approach, we can help streamline the innovation process and enable faster deployment of new innovations – something the entire industry will derive great value from.”

Value in collaboration

Spring now invites feedback on the first Accelerator challenge.

“The value for all of us is in collaboration. We’re excited to learn from our first challenge and evolve that value as we move on to the next,” Perry said. “We will also explore cross-industry collaborations by inviting participation from innovators from a wide range of industries.”

The next challenges will be posted online via the Spring platform in the coming months, based on the ambitions set out in Water Innovation 2050. As spring grows, there may also be challenges outside of these themes. For more details, visit