During the World Expo 2020 Dubai, Droople took part in the “Urban & Rural Development Week “, which ran from October 31 to November 4 by Swissnex at the Swiss Pavilion. The event aimed at combining perspectives of stakeholders from UAE, the Middle East and other international expo participants, to draw a blueprint for adopting the circular transition within an urban environment. For this thematic week, Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) partnered up with SmartCity Alliance, the Swiss association standing for sustainable development of living spaces in urban and regional areas in the digital age, and IGLUS (Innovative Governance of Large Urban Systems), a non-profit initiative created by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.
New urban infrastructures of the circular economy
During the thematic week, Droople also had the opportunity to join the panel discussion bringing together representatives of Stignergy and Hitachi Zosen Inova from Switzerland, Ras Al Khaimah Municipality and GESS UAE, to share best practices about current and future challenges and opportunities for a circular economy in urban infrastructures. Indeed, to design the circular economy of smart cities, a new way of thinking is needed: whether it is the installation of new waste to energy plants, or developing cutting-edge digital systems to safeguard electricity and water. To see how youth can shape the future of urban living, Swissnex also launched the Swiss – Middle East Circular Economy for Youth Initiative (SMECEYI).
With the fast pace of urbanization, large cities consume most of the energy produced, whilst the amount of generated solid waste has grown over the last century to more than 3 million tons daily. Urban waste management for instance, is putting considerable burden on the government budgets, combined with concerns of greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce the cost and the environmental impact, many regions are shifting to more circular economy models, where materials are made, used and reused, and adopting new, more efficient waste-to-energy plants. Water is not an exception to that.
Ramzi Bouzerda, the CEO of Droople, comments on the urban water resources management challenges: “At Droople, we have as well been convinced from Day One that the sustainable management of the world’s freshwater resources will be at the core of tomorrow’s circular economy, as water generates energy however energy cannot generate water. Thus, a sustainable future is not possible without water: as the global water demand is predicted to increase by 55% by 2030, the UN predicts a 40% supply shortage. With 70% of the world population projected to live in the cities by 2050, the number of buildings is expected to increase up to 60%, bringing with it water quality and quantity concern from the tap. Today, 36+ billion water assets in any commercial, industrial and residential building have common water usage and quality parameters that can be leveraged to assess their health, maintenance needs and enable water & energy saving. This is why Droople offers an IoT monitoring solution for the last mile of the water grid, making these water assets smart and connecting them to the IoT-enabled Water Intelligence Platform, The Internet of Water”.
Prof. Matthias Finger, Head of IGLUS comments: “IGLUS is seeking to contribute to improving the governance of increasingly complex and dynamic urban systems worldwide. Thanks to the excellent collaboration with Swissnex, we managed to bring together practitioners, academics, and stakeholders with the goal of helping global industry partners benefit from our unique theoretical framework as well as our international network of researchers, which was brilliantly achieved during this unique global event.”
“Switzerland Global Enterprise (S-GE) is supporting Swiss SMEs in international business reach and facilitates the establishment of innovative foreign companies in Switzerland”, concludes Patrick Bertschi, Project Manager Cleantech at Switzerland Global Enterprise. “Within its Cleantech mandate, S-GE is particularly interested to export Swiss solutions in the fields of smart cities and circular economy. The Middle East plays an important role as a strategic market. This focus week, based on fact-finding and World Expo Dubai 2020 presence, served several purposes: getting an insight into the Middle East market, improving the local network, visiting projects where Swiss solutions could be needed, getting in direct contact with potential customers, and obtaining the unique opportunity to exhibit at the Swiss Pavilion of World Expo Dubai. In my opinion, it was a very successful week with both motivated companies from Switzerland and extremely kind hosts from the UAE.”