Water Online Radio: Innovations On Tap
The following is an excerpt from a Q&A with Water Online Radio. Click on the Radio Player above to hear the full interview.
Water Online Radio: Tell us about your two organizations, BlueTech Research and O2 Environmental. What do you do and how do you serve your market?
Paul: Our role in the water industry is on the knowledge side, so we're trying to look at where the market is going, how it's changing, what's driving it, and where that's going to create opportunities for new technologies and for young entrepreneurs and investors.
Water Online Radio: Paul, give us a little more insight into regulation-driven innovations.
Paul: Regulation is one of the fundamental things that drives the entire water industry, and there's an interrelationship between what you can measure, and what you can treat, and regulation. So as we can learn more and more about less and less, or measure lower levels of a wider range of different things, that calls us to try and look at ways to treat them.
As we get better at treating them, then regulations can keep pace with that, and there's, I suppose, an interrelationship between those three. But it's probably not the only thing that drives the water industry. Now we're seeing more energy costs, with the age of the infrastructure in our cities and the greater urbanization of people moving towards cities, so all of that is changing in a different way, and causing us to think differently about how we manage water.
Water Online Radio: Paul, it just strikes me as counterintuitive that regulations can drive innovation. It would seem to me that more regulations would stifle innovation, but that's not the case, right?
Paul: No, it creates the market for it. And, typically, it starts with a group like the U.S. EPA looking at the relationship between an impact in the environment or an impact in health and realizing, say, that arsenic is causing a health issue at a certain level.
Industry, then, looks at how to develop solutions to get lower and lower levels of arsenic. And once there's a confidence there that we can protect health, or protect environment, at a reasonable cost, the regulations will then come into place.
So they work hand in glove, and the industry can anticipate regulation, and it actually creates an advance market, where companies look to get into a space where they see tightening regulations.
Water Online Radio: Paul, talk a little bit about a few specific innovations. What are the really cool, interesting things that are happening right now?