During the BTO conference today, the BTO Implementation Award was presented to Ate Oosterhof from Vitens and Klaasjan Raat from KWR. They were behind Freshkeeper, the smart water well that ensures good fresh groundwater can continue to be obtained from aquifers prone to salinisation, by intercepting upconing brackish water and injecting it deeper into the ground. Vitens is using this smart water-extraction well in Noardburgum, at a well field that was abandoned in 1993 because of salinisation. Within the SUBSOL Horizon 2020 project, preparations are being made for full-scale application (2 million m3 freshwater per year) and the reopening of the Noardburgum well field. There is worldwide demand for and interest in the concept. “The Freshkeeper concept is a combination of different disciplines. It is groundbreaking and provides a lot of external exposure. The technique was further developed on the basis of a pilot and scaled up to full-scale application, for which there is a lot of international interest as well,” concluded the jury, which consisted of Lianne van Oord (WML), Ad de Waal Malefijt (Dunea), and Gertjan Medema and Anne Mathilde Hummelen of KWR.
The BTO Implementation Award was presented for the first time this year. The drinking-water companies joint research programme (BTO) established the Implementation Award as a reward for the successful cooperation between knowledge institute KWR and the drinking-water companies, through which knowledge transfer leads to implementation. The award highlights the importance of actual implementation of developed BTO knowledge and technology at drinking-water companies, in order to improve methods or business operations. The award also inspires others to do a little more than simply delivering a product.
The award winners were chosen from 16 entries. The first selection in May resulted in three nominations for the award: in addition to the winner Freshkeeper, these were: Self-cleaning nets, (work by Loet Rosenthal (PWN), Peter Schaap (PWN), Mirjam Blokker (KWR) and Jan Vreeburg (KWR) among others) and Advanced Oxidation Coagulation Filtration AOCF, to reduce arsenic concentrations (work by Stephan van de Wetering (Brabant Water), Tim van Dijk (Brabant Water), Arslan Ahmad (KWR)).