Almost 100 people attended our in-person workshop in Brussels, dedicated to the sustainable sourcing of seawater. It took place at the headquarters of the Research and Innovation Directorate General of the European Commission, and gathered multidisciplinary experts from many different backgrounds, including academia, industry, start-ups and policymaking. Overall, the talks covered the most recent advances in the sustainable sourcing of water beyond desalination – putting a special focus on innovative techniques for applications like energy generation, energy storage, resource mining and the production of chemicals and fuels, including green hydrogen.
ANEMEL co-organised this event in collaboration with the European Innovation Council, the EuroTech Universities Alliance, the Clean Hydrogen Joint Undertaking, Hydrogen Europe Research, and the European Commission. Among other outcomes, the workshop established the frameworks and foundations towards the creation of a white paper on the sustainable sourcing of seawater, arranging an ambitious agenda on reducing the impact of industrial actions on one of our most precious resources – water. Ideally, the conversations that took place during our in-person workshop in Brussels inspire future funding topics and set up new evidence-based and data-driven policies in Europe and beyond.
“It was a great success that exceeded our best expectations,” said ANEMEL project coordinator Pau Farràs, from the University of Galway, in Ireland. “It was a true pleasure to attend and network with so many experts in the sustainable sourcing of water, this in-person workshop represented a unique opportunity to create collaborations between academia, industry, and policymakers,” he adds. “The talks and panels covered a wide variety of topics, including of course the generation of green hydrogen directly from seawater, a technology that will undoubtedly be key towards providing affordable, secure and sustainable energy and fuels for Europe.”
The sessions also included project pitches, short presentations where researchers and innovators introduced initiatives like ANEMEL, working to design and develop new technologies with lower impact on our water sources. This interactive format included not only projects in a preliminary stage and low TRLs, but also highly advanced technologies, some of which have already become attractive commercial realities. Among other initiatives, the project SEAFUEL, funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which has established green hydrogen as a fundamental fuel in islands, including interesting large-scale demos for sustainable transportation in the Canary Islands.
Overall, this in-person workshop sets the stage for future funding opportunities within the European Innovation Council and the Horizon Europe programme. The new multidisciplinary connections created will catalyse transformative and innovative solutions to help preserve our most precious resource – water – for generations to come.