What is Innovation?
Innovation happens when we try to change the way we normally do things.
In North West Europe, we currently make a lot of waste. Some of the waste could be used in “resource recovery” processes to extract valuable raw materials.
These processes must be developed by innovators. By working together, we can speed up taking the process from the laboratory to the market.
ReNEW was proposed as a way to bring together researchers, entrepreneurs, businesses and public authorities to explore new ways to extract valuable resources - such as metals, nutrients and chemicals - from household and industrial waste.
Industrial Support Vouchers
The recovery of valuables from waste presents huge opportunities for SMEs, but many face barriers in their efforts to develop new techniques for resource recovery. In a bid to raise awareness and change mindsets towards extracting resources from waste, ReNEW offered support through its Industrial Support Vouchers.
The project's industrial voucher scheme enabled successful applicants to team up with ReNEW partners based in some of the best research and analytical facilities in North West Europe to develop or improve an innovative idea for a new product, process or service.
The successful companies were able to access the equivalent of a month’s worth of technical assistance from experts in the UK, Ireland, Germany and Belgium - receiving up to 50 per cent of research and innovation costs up to the maximum of Euro 10,000 (£8,000). They included:
NVP Energy - Energy from wastewater http://www.nvpenergy.com/
Cleaner Earth Recycling Ltd http://www.microclean.ie/
Eco Pirotec http://ecopirotec.com/
The ReNEW project also helped foster access to innovation support mechanisms. As a result of the ReNEW Technology Foresight Workshop, in April 2013, eight technologies with a high innovation potential were selected for demonstration through the ReNEW network.
These technologies aim to convert both organic and inorganic waste streams into materials that can be reused as resources.
The project was also involved in establishing how innovation happens when it is done well. We discovered examples of excellence in provision of facilities for innovation, and effective support for innovation, and what we learned was written up in case studies. These should serve as best practice for ways to encourage and promote innovation in resource recovery, are available for download.