In the shadow of volcanoes, a two-day INNOQUA gathering
Our INNOQUA project partner UCSM (Universidad Católica de Santa María) graciously hosted representatives of eleven partners at the eighth INNOQUA project meeting, held in January 2020 in Peru’s second city, Arequipa, which is known as the ‘white city’ thanks to the pale volcanic stone from which the historic (World Heritage Site) centre is constructed.
Following warm words of welcome from the Rector of the University Dr Manuel Alberto Briceño Ortega, the meeting quickly moved on to a busy agenda that ranged from reviews of European Commission feedback to detailed updates from all eleven demonstration sites and a workshop on possible commercialisation strategies. Overall, the discussions highlighted the in-built flexibility of the INNOQUA technologies, which can be adapted to local conditions. However, this flexibility presents challenges for commercialisation, as we have the potential to sell a bespoke solution for each application, rather than a single ‘off the shelf’ solution. This also poses challenges when it comes to presenting performance data to the market: Is a CE mark important/essential? What about compliance with the new ISO 30500 standard for non-sewered sanitation systems
On day two of the project meeting, partners visited the UCSM demonstration site at which all five INNOQUA technologies are used. Located on the university’s agricultural campus, the system handles wastewater that is extremely variable, with inputs from laboratories, animal husbandry facilities, bathrooms and a canteen. Recently commissioned performance data for the INNOQUA system are eagerly awaited.
Naturally, it’s not possible to hold two days of meetings without refreshment breaks, and partners were treated to a range of local delicacies at a traditional picantería and a fine rendition of the Marinera Norteña. The meeting officially closed with a Wititi dance, representing the culture of the nearby Colca Valley. Special thanks to Joshelyn Paredes and Jaime Cardenas from UCSM for hosting us in their beautiful city.