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18 marzo 2024

Results of Call4Circular | Circular Water 4 Healthcare

Recently concluded, the Call4Circular | Circular Water 4 Healthcare is the circular open innovation project promoted by SYNLAB and Bracco, in partnership with IRCCS Ospedale Galeazzi – Sant’Ambrogio (Gruppo San Donato), within the context of Federated Innovation @MIND, and executed by the Circular Economy Lab, an initiative by Intesa Sanpaolo Innovation Center and Cariplo Factory.

An International Call

The project has generated significant interest both nationally and internationally, receiving numerous applications from startups and innovative SMEs from Italy (47% of the total), the rest of Europe (with the Netherlands leading at 8% of applications, followed by Germany, Spain, Sweden, Great Britain, Belgium, and Turkey), and globally (with 6% of applications from the United States, followed by Israel, Canada, Kenya, and Singapore).

The project's aim is to define a scalable and replicable best practice for the recovery of contrast liquids and the management of hospital wastewater. This involves implementing processes that can serve as a model for innovation in the Italian and international healthcare sector, as well as for legislators and technological partners involved in hospital and laboratory waste management.


Areas of interest of the initiative

The Call4Circular, which conducted scouting activities over approximately three months from November 2023 to January 2024, targeted startups and innovative SMEs operating in four main sectors, as outlined by the distribution of applications:

  • 46% of applications proposed solutions for improving water quality, with a particular focus on reducing the quantity of contrast liquids and emerging contaminants (PPCP, viruses, bacteria, microplastics, antibiotics) in the hospital sector, limiting their release into the natural ecosystem;
  • 24% of applications proposed solutions for water circularity, with a focus on activating processes for the circularity of water resources to recover and reuse them for activities such as irrigation or machinery cooling;
  • 22% of applications concentrated on water optimization processes, especially in the use of water resources in hospital and urban contexts;
  • 8% of applications pertained to the liquid collection sector, particularly urine containing contaminants and/or contrast agents (mainly Iodine and Gadolinium) used in X-ray and magnetic resonance imaging examinations.

Following the collection phase, one-to-one sessions were conducted with the most promising startups to explore potential synergies. In this context, the role of the CE Lab was to guide and facilitate the identification of circular innovation needs, actively conduct detailed scouting on the identified themes, filter startups, leading to an initial selection tailored to the needs of each promoting company. Finally, the best startups will be invited to participate in the concluding Demo Day to present their innovative solutions.

The 8 startup accessing the Demo Day

Eight startup have been selected to enter the next stages of the Circular Water 4 Healthcare project and present their innovative solution to the market at the Demo Day, in front of an audience of investors, experts and industry corporations.

  • AQWISE TECHNOLOGIES:now a brand under BlueGen Water, is renowned for pioneering MBBR technology in water and wastewater treatment, with a global footprint across numerous applications. Among our current R&D activities we are developing a product combined with MBBR to comply with market needs due to upcoming stringent regulations for wastewater treatment. This innovative solution is pivotal in advancing circular water treatment, moving towards zero Liquid Discharge. Drawing on our extensive expertise in biological and physical-chemical treatment, our product development is backed by years of experience in diverse contaminant sources. MBBR has been a proven technology for removal of some pharmaceutical micropollutants as Bezafibrate, Valsatan, Mefenamic Acid, Diclofenac and more. Our new product extends this capability to efficiently eliminate viruses and bacteria, all within a robust and compact system designed to minimize both CAPEX and OPEX costs. 
  • ARVIA WATER TECHNOLOGIES: is a UK-based industrial water treatment provider. Arvia is working with companies around the world to eliminate pharmaceutical ingredients and other hazardous chemicals from water to allow them reuse or safe discharge it. Arvia’s unique and patented system called Nyex™ is an advance oxidation process (AOP) that combines adsorption with electrochemical oxidation. This combination means that there is less energy used than usual advanced oxidation processes. The system is able to isolate and destroy the pollutant even at trace level, without chemical dosing and without creating any sludge, meaning it is much better for the environment than other water treatments.
  • IRIDE ACQUEis an innovative SME because innovation is our mission, and a Benefit Company because we strive to contribute, every day, to the spread of a new water culture. The company deals with the treatment of industrial waters, with a particular focus on their reuse, but we are able to find the best solution for any need related to the treatment of waters used by industry. To meet the needs of our customers, we have developed a patented technology called EMER, which allows for the purification and disinfection of industrial effluents "in situ," ensuring significantly higher effectiveness than traditional technologies, as well as considerable savings in terms of space (thus lower Capex), management costs (electricity, sludge disposal, etc), and the possibility of integration with other plants, avoiding their complete replacement.
  • NEWSTER SYSTEM: The hazardous liquid waste is a current challenge to be addressed in a sustainable way. PURA is a patented innovative plant. It totally customized and fully automated, suitable for the management of liquid waste generated by the automated analyzers of biomedical laboratories, eliminating biological and chemical risk. The system is based on an innovative peroxone pre-treatment followed by a mineral activated carbon treatment which transforms contaminated liquid waste into naturally biodegradable ones. The installation of a system of this type guarantees a completely circular approach and radically changes the current management, associating a 90% reduction in CO2eq emissions per ton.  
  • PHAREM: Pharem is a cleantech company with an advanced biotech division. By using a combination of different technology areas an enzyme-based water treatment technology was developed, named Zymatic. Zymatic immobilizes enzyme to a silica-based material and operates as any sand-like material. It can even use existing systems such as DynaSand or others. The treatment mechanisms are determined by the enzymes immobilized on its surface. Enzymes are natural catalysts and require no electrical energy to be functional. By selecting what enzymes to use one can change the treatment mechanism for the application and treat various compounds/pollutants in a variety of water- and/or process conditions. 
  • SHAYP: While 70% of fresh distributed water goes to real-estate usage, one third of buildings are leaking with over 95% of the leaks going unnoticed for a long time. These leaks represent on average over 20% of the water bills. And Water leakages is the highest cause of damage for property and casualty insurances. Shayp is an iot enabled SaaS that helps building managers to eliminate leaks and related damages. With our AI-powered software, Shayp is able to alert in real-time about anomalies and discrepancies of water usage in buildings. We keep properties safe and water bills under control. With Shayp, a real-estate portfolio can expect a ROI in less than 1 year and 21% savings on its water bill. 
  • VORTA: by leveraging the inherent forces of nature Water Knight pioneers transformative solutions in process intensification through its groundbreaking utilization of Vortex and Cavitation technology, VORTA. Our company is at the forefront of revolutionizing traditional industrial processes, offering cutting-edge advancements that enhance efficiency, sustainability, and productivity across various sectors. Based in The Netherlands, Water Knight specializes in researching and developing bespoke solutions of VORTA technology tailored to meet the unique needs of our clients. 
  • ZEREAU: is a dutch water technology company, focusing on the health care sector. Zereau provides water technology solutions closely to the source, the patient, by means of sanitary filter solutions. These systems are easy to install, compact and cost-effective. By focusing on specific departments, the filters can be a valuable source for recycling of precious raw materials. Our team has many years of experience in health care, water technology and engineering. Combining these three fields provides us deep understanding of how to make health care processes both efficient as more sustainable.   

The Demo Day represents the culmination and conclusion of the Circular Water 4 Healthcare initiative and will take place, within the framework of MIND Week, on 6 May at MIND in the Village Pavilion.

To take part in the Demo Day, please register at this link

Best of luck to all participants!