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Water is one of the greatest global challenges facing our planet. New and improved treatment and analysis technologies are needed in response to increased population growth, increasing consumption of drugs, and increased use of pesticides around the world. In January 2013, Kristianstad University, C4 Energi AB, Malmbergs Water AB and the Knowledge Foundation (KK-stiftelsen, which provides research funding for universities) invested SEK seven million in the development of new analysis methods and technological solutions for water treatment and biogas production over a three-year period. The aim was to enable a sustainable cycle of nutrients and clean water in the interaction between urban and rural areas.

An urban ecosystem

In the Kristianstad region, the water issue is of particular interest considering the city’s location in an urban ecosystem, a city built in the Vattenriket wetland area, which has been designated as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO. The challenge here is to minimise the impact on the water from the city that surrounds it and to protect the city from the constant threat of flooding. This geographical location makes Kristianstad particularly suitable as a test environment for water-related innovations.

CLEAR – a research collaboration

CLEAR is a research collaboration between Kristianstad University, C4 Energi AB and the local business community, represented by Malmbergs Water AB, that is based on working together to contribute experiences and knowledge. The aim is for the research to lay the foundation for developing next-generation technology in water treatment and biogas production from sewage sludge, manure and organic waste, thereby opening the door to new business opportunities and jobs.

Research, development and innovation

Kristianstad Municipality has invested nearly SEK 2 million in improving the conditions for research and innovation at Kristianstad Municipality by being part of creating an advanced laboratory for molecular genetic engineering and analytical chemistry here at Krinova Incubator and Science Park. The laboratory will be a unique resource for innovation and development for the business community as well. The laboratory will be completed in April 2015. The laboratory is necessary for the industry as chemical analyses are one of the cornerstones in evaluating next-generation technological development in water treatment and biogas production from sewage sludge, manure and organic waste. Work with the business community will be intensified in 2015 to drive technological development forwards in both water treatment and other environmental technology research. There is a clear exchange of knowledge between CLEAR and FRAM, with both projects contributing to new action-oriented water treatment technology in the Vattenriket wetland area. This work has great potential for reaching both a national and an international market in cooperation with Malmberg Water AB.

While work was under way to design the laboratory premises, there has been research, development and innovation primarily within three subareas: I. Analytical chemistry, II. Monitoring and water treatment, III. Environmental technology research related to stable manure and biogas production. Much of these mainly research-related studies will contribute knowledge to development and innovation work with the business community in 2015.