The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) and the Water Environment Federation (WEF) are launching three new projects under the Leaders Innovation Forum for Technology (LIFT) program, according to a press release from the two organizations. LIFT is a joint WERF/WEF initiative designed to "help move innovation into practice in the water quality sector."

The first project, Genifuel Hydrothermal Processing Bench Scale Technology Evaluation (LIFT6T14), will evaluate an innovative biosolids to energy technology. The project is collaboratively funded by WERF, the U.S. EPA, and approximately 10 utilities participating in the LIFT program. The U.S. DOE is also providing in-kind support. Hydrothermal processing converts organic material into bio-crude oil, natural gas, or both with more than 99 percent conversion of organics. The technology is specifically designed for wet feedstocks and has a high net energy yield, but to date has only been minimally tested with sewage sludge or biosolids. 

The next project, Creating the Space to Innovate (LIFT8C14), is co-funded by WERF and WEF to address impediments and promote incentives to the adoption of innovative technologies and practices. This project seeks to identify major influences to innovation in the water utility sector; identify measures to manage or share risk by providing regulatory space for innovation through permit flexibility in compliance schedules or different kinds of permits; and address perceived challenges in some states with permitting new technologies.

WERF has also awarded The Canton Group with a contract to develop a LIFT Database (LIFT2R14) to support new technology innovation, collaboration, and implementation for the water sector. WERF and WEF say the platform will help identify and deliver information on innovative water technologies, facilitate matchmaking and collaboration for speeding innovation into practice, provide data and results from demonstrations, and more. The development of the platform is supported in part with funding from the U.S. EPA.

For more information, contact WERF Director of Water Technologies Jeff Moeller at jmoeller@werf.org.