France is a major European player in the field of eco-innovation, and possesses a strong track record in environmental regulation and support schemes – targeting both public and private actors (including individuals). This is illustrated by its strong ranking in the 2015 Eco-Innovation Scoreboard (seventh among the 28 EU Member States). However, France still falls behind a number of front-runners, particularly due to limited energy and water productivity and limited green early-stage investments. Increasing levels of resource efficiency, particularly energy efficiency, in key sectors such as transport and building are also key priorities.

The most important eco-innovation areas in France are linked to network and network management industries, and more specifically water management and sanitation, waste management, and environmental engineering. These sectors are well organised around very large international firms that are also major aggregators of innovations.

Since 2010, a group of clusters, focusing on environmental technologies, have supported the creation of innovative local networks of SMEs and large companies based around water and waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energies, smart cities and smart transport. These clusters act as a major testbed for the emergence of eco-innovations, and help to bring together public and private partners around common issues.

In addition, the national and regional support to eco-innovation and the circular economy is strong. At the national level, a number of dedicated calls for projects have been set up in recent years, complementing existing support measures such as eco-innovation equity funds or tax incentives focusing on the demand side of eco-innovation. At the regional level, 20 out of the 22 (former) metropolitan regions have at least one strategic domain of their Regional Smart Specialisation Strategy directly related to eco-industries. 

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for France




Wô Water Treatment Technology

Labels: France Water supply

The Wô water treatment technology allows businesses to develop a closed loop water cycle, reducing their reliance on external water provision and the production of harmful effluents. In addition, this technology represents a move away from the use of chemicals in water treatment, which also may result in negative environmental impacts. Wô can be put to use in a number of fields, especially those which are intensive in the use of water resources and produce high volumes of effluents containing abrasive and non-solvable polutants. Technologies like these not only result in important water cost reductions for businesses, but are also likely to reduce water stress.  

The Wô water recycling system was developed in order to offer an integrated solution to water supply and use for the business sector. Within businesses, the water consumption cycle is traditionally set up in a linear manner: clean water is fed into the users system and waste water or effluents are then evacuated into a collection system. The system developed by 2Ô Innovation is aimed at improving the performance of this cycle by making it a closed loop cycle, enhancing each of the processes taking place between both ends of the cycle and improving resource productivity and reducing reliance on external clean water provision.

The system was developed based on the notion of Global Responsible and Sustainable Water Management (Gestion Globale Responsible et Durable de la Ressource en Eau – GGRDRE) developed by Jean Philippe Soleau allowing to overcome the lack of complementarity between individual water management solutions. This global approach allows setting in place a more efficient use of water, resulting in considerable cuts in water consumption levels.

As opposed to traditional treatment systems which work by eliminating pollutants from effluents, WÔ instead separates and concentrates pollutants and extracts pure water from effluents.

The system can be put to use in several fields, particularly those which are known to produce high volumes of waste water containing abrasive and non-solvable pollutants. Examples of fields of application include: treatment of waste water produced by industrial platforms, vehicle-washing stations, agriculture, oil-based products generated by industry, and bleaching and dry-cleaning activities.

Barriers and Drivers

The leading drivers for innovative technologies in the water treatment sector include the changing regulations and the need to reduce enery use and costs. The increase in regulatory pressures, particularly at the EU level (Water Framework Directive, Drinking Water Directive, Urban Wastewater Treatment Directie) have all led to the creation of an larger markets for innovative treatment solutions.The changing natural environment illustrated by water stress and climate change, in addition to popluation growth and increased urbanisation have also led to a stronger demand for new treatment processes for potable, waste and recycled water (Innowater, 2010). Industries now realise the importantce of reducing their use of resources due to the increasing pressures on water supply and the rise in energy prices.

The main barriers to market entry of new technologies in the sector are mainly related to the dominance of large scale firms who dominante the supply chain. The consolidation of the market in addition to the risk averse nature of the sector, increased the development risks of companies wishing to develop and introduce new technologies to the market (GHK, 2011).

Economic Performance

Wô is potentially able to provide a 100% reduction in water consumption needs, under certain conditions. In most cases however, water consumption is reduced by 70 to 80%. In addition, businesses using the system may obtain proportional cuts in the volume of effluents produced. In addition to this the system is relatively energy-friendly, consuming approximately 5KW per cubic metre of water treated.

The reduced influx of water results in economic gains for users, mainly from the reduction of water treatment taxes (up to 100%). In addition to this, the cost of installation is estimated to be absorbed within two years of the installation of the system.

Social Performance

Technologies like these are likelly to lessent the water stress phenomenon many regions of the world are now facing. As a result, populations can continue to gain access to higher quality and sustainable water provision.

Environmental Impact

Overall the system allows to reduce the use of water without limiting productivity. This results in a more rationalised use of natural ressources as well as in a reduction of public water treatment costs.

Further Information

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