CWA at IFAT 2024: A Powerful Global Presence

June 3, 2024

From May 13 to 17, Cleveland Water Alliance (CWA) attended IFAT 2024 in Munich, the world's leading water, sewage, waste, and raw materials management trade fair. This year's event was the largest ever, with 142,000 visitors from nearly 170 countries and regions, 3,211 exhibitors from 61 countries, and 300,000 square meters of exhibition space. Over 50% of the visitors and exhibitors were international, setting new records for global participation.

CWA was proud to be represented by our president, Bryan Stubbs, Director of Innovation and Clusters, Ebie Holst, and European CWA Representative, Leonard Kieseler.

Highlights from IFAT 2024

1. Generating Innovator Leads

Ebie Holst and Bryan Stubbs from CWA reported that this was the most successful conference for generating innovation and testbed leads. They connected with a wide variety of innovators, ranging from large investment venture capital firms to young companies from Finland to Brazil, all eager to collaborate and explore new opportunities.

2. Bryan Stubbs Presents on US Water Market Trends

One of the highlights of our participation was Bryan Stubbs' insightful panel on U.S. Water Market Trends at the German Water Partnership Pavilion. This session provided an in-depth look at the unique challenges and opportunities within the U.S. market. Bryan shared valuable perspectives on market entry strategies, the importance of innovation, and how international companies can navigate the complex landscape of U.S. water utilities. This session significantly enhanced our visibility and reinforced our role as thought leaders in the global water sector. Huge thanks to our friends at the German Water Partnership for inviting us to participate.

3. Successful Happy Hour Event

CWA hosted a happy hour event that attracted over 50 partners. This event was a fantastic opportunity to network with key stakeholders, including the Catalan Water Partnership, Pure Terra Ventures, Water Cluster Finland, Wave Talk from South Korea, and several Brazilian companies.

4. European Collaborations

CWA's interactions with European partners were particularly fruitful. They received a warm welcome from the German Water Partnership, Catalan Water Partnership, and the Dutch Pavilion's Water Alliance. The camaraderie and support among European clusters were evident, with significant engagements with a new Belgium cluster and the Luxembourg representatives. Bryan Stubbs was invited to share about CWA’s testbed efforts and discuss soft landing strategies for entering the U.S. market at the European Water Association event, supported by the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Trends and Insights

1. Technological Advancements

Several key trends emerged from the event. LoRaWAN technology is gaining traction in Europe, with a notable interest in devices connecting to various telecommunications infrastructures and switching automatically between them. There is a rising demand for innovative solutions that can cater to multiple markets, including the U.S., which is seen as a massive but complex market to penetrate.

2. Investment and Market Entry

The influx of infrastructure investment in the U.S. is drawing global attention. German companies, previously focused on rebuilding Ukraine, are now also focusing on the U.S. market. However, the fragmented nature of the U.S. market, with its numerous small utilities, poses challenges. CWA’s offer of a soft landing for international companies is highly desirable. We provided support for market entry, advisory on device tweaks for the U.S. power grid, and assistance with business development and legal matters.

3. Innovative Technologies

Ebie Holst was particularly impressed with the caliber of innovations at IFAT. Technologies such as a one-hour Legionella test, accurate turbidity testing, and microplastics solutions showcased the robust and early-stage innovations present. There is a significant opportunity for large-scale pilots to use existing technologies, especially those already commercialized in other markets.

Moving Forward

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CWA’s presence at IFAT 2024 underscored the importance of international collaboration and innovation in addressing global water challenges. The event highlighted the desire for partnerships, the need for market visibility, and the potential for scaling up innovative solutions in the U.S. market. 

Stay tuned for more updates as we continue to leverage these global connections and drive innovation in the water sector.

Connect with Us

Contact us for more information about our initiatives or to explore potential collaborations. Let’s work together to create sustainable solutions for the future of water management. Join us in our mission to advance innovative water technologies and foster global collaborations. 

All images by Florian Haas

As CWA continues to foster a world-class freshwater innovation ecosystem, the connections and insights gained from IFAT 2024 will play a crucial role in driving future projects and partnerships. The enthusiastic interest in CWA’s Fresh Water Innovation Fund and the potential for new collaborations mark a promising path forward.

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