LIFT Initiative Provides Forum for Water Innovation

The Leaders Innovation for Technology Forum (LIFT) is an initiative run by the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation (WE&RF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF). The goal of the initiative is to bring new water technologies to the field quickly and efficiently. LIFT includes technological, social and regulatory aspects that help facilitate collaboration among all stakeholders.Print

The program includes four key elements:

  • An informal forum for utility and industry R&D/technology managers to share their experiences and interests;
  • A technology evaluation program that identifies, screens and demonstrates new technologies;
  • Training, education and outreach on new technologies; and
  • A people and policy program to inform, identify and remove regulatory, institutional and policy barriers to innovation.

This joint initiative allows technology providers to share their innovations with some of the largest facility owners and gain feedback directly from end-users.

RELATED: Giving Water Innovation a LIFT

All innovative water technologies are encouraged to participate in the LIFT Technology Scan process, a three step process involving the identification and evaluation of innovative technologies. The first step is the identification of new technologies and sorting by category/topic. The second step is an assessment of the technology’s market readiness, available technical data, and industry advancement. Technology readiness is categorized according to its “technology development level” ranging from 1-6; level 1 technologies are in the R&D stage while level 6 technologies are an adaptive use (i.e., an established technology with a new function).

Technology providers that have a lower development level are in the process of conducting further research and refinement, while ones with higher levels are looking for piloting, full-scale demonstration, or implementation opportunities. The third step of the LIFT Technology Scan Process— presentations to WE&RF subscribing utilities, consultants, and others—provides a platform to introduce the technologies to potential end-users and their advisors. The technology provider is given the opportunity to explain their technology and its benefits followed by a Q&A session with the audience and identification of which organizations are interested in further exploring the technology.

The LIFT technology scan database currently holds 72 technologies that have been accepted into the program and includes information about the technology, recordings of their presentations, and relevant supplementary materials. This fall, the database will be incorporated into a new online platform for innovation and collaboration called LIFT Link where users can discover, connect, and collaborate on new technologies.

Each month LIFT features a selected technology from the database in a Technology Spotlight. An important part of a spotlight is for technology providers to outline what is needed to further advance the technology, how they would like LIFT to help, and their desired outcome as a result of being a part of the initiative. The technologies that have been featured cover topics such as shortcut nitrogen removal, biosolids to energy, digestion enhancements, and more. The most recent technology spotlight focuses on Doosan Heavy Industries’ Doosan LENA MBR – a technology that offers potential advances in energy efficiency, membrane performance, and reduction in footprint. They recently completed two pilot studies and are looking to deploy their technology commercially.

LIFT has an upcoming technology scan presentation on August 16th on the topic of Membranes featuring innovations from Doosan, GE, and Bio-Microbics.

This article was contributed by the Water Environment Research Foundation, co-developer of the LIFT program along with the Water Environment & Reuse Foundation. Stay tuned for more updates on LIFT in the Water Finance News. For more information about LIFT, please contact Jeff Moeller.

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