Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

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The innovative technologies demonstrated in this project have been developed in cooperative public-private R&D consortia and partnerships, which require high investments and have a high uncertainty of economic success. Although integrated and participatory approaches were followed, in practice, the actual uptake is often less straightforward than originally anticipated. In the field of integrated water management in urban and catchment areas, it has been widely recognized that impediments are not only technological, but also they are related to the social-institutional, regulatory, knowledge, and capacity of the user. Therefore, in addition to technological issues, this project will also focus on these other barriers. The institutional approach of the regime framework of Brown will be applied to clearly identify enabling and constraining factors for a successful implementation of these technologies in their key application areas.

Together with an in-depth analysis of relevant stakeholders’ experiences and expectations on different levels, potential drivers and existing barriers for the uptake of novel technologies in the market will be identified. Aspects of environmental impact and cost assessment in the life cycle (LCA/LCC) of these innovative technologies will be addressed to support decision making and identify and prevent problem-shifting between different parts of the life cycle or between environmental impacts (e.g. increased effluent quality by elimination of emerging pollutants versus higher energy demand and carbon footprint). It is foreseen to develop required USEtox characterization factors (CFs) for emerging pollutants and to integrate them into the LCA methodology. Tools provided through this project will support the transfer of technologies initially developed in water technology-related research projects into practice, so that the full range of costs and benefits (environmental and economic) can be benchmarked against more established standard technologies.

Based on the results and stakeholder workshops, DEMEAU will explore and finally propose effective implementation routes for promising technologies based on their unique selling propositions (USPs). Such examples are the uptake of innovations in self-regulatory systems of the water sector at Member State level, the uptake of innovations in tender procedures of large scale investment programmes on national and European level (Structural, Cohesian Funds) and the provision of guidance on implementing joint procurement procedures for innovations between water utilities. Additionally, water utilities and operators who plan to implement emerging technologies for micropollutants removal should benefit from a transparent decision support.