Oct 10, 2008

Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 More International Than Ever

Tradeshow attracted almost 19,000 visitors from 133 countries

Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 attracted more international visitors than ever before, emphasizing the ongoing success of the Aquatech formula across three international exhibitions in Amsterdam, China and the U.S.

Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 took place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 3 and was visited close to 19,000 times, with 53% of the visitors coming from outside the Netherlands. In addition, the 850 exhibiting companies were represented by 4,200 employees at the exhibition.

"Although Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 attracted less visitors from the U.S. due to the financial crisis, more people from Germany, France, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean countries came to Amsterdam this year,” said Paddy Young, domain manager at Amsterdam RAI. “The increase in the number of European visitors fits in with the expansion of the Aquatech formula to three exhibitions in China, the USA and Europe. And this year we placed the spotlight on industrial water with special presentations at the AquaStages on the exhibition floor and a well-attended international IWA conference.”

Visitors to Aquatech Amsterdam 2008 came from 133 countries. With more than 850 exhibitors from 47 countries, it is the world’s most authoritative exhibition in the field of process, drinking and wastewater. Most of the visitors (74%) were final decision makers for investing in projects or products, and many represented local and national governmental institutions from Holland and abroad. Aquatech has become increasingly international in recent years.

During the opening ceremony, captains-of-industry from ITT, GE Water, Siemens and Veolia discussed how the speed of water technology innovations can be increased. Paul Reiter, executive director of the International Water Association (IWA), underlined the need for these innovations as climate change, population growth, global urbanization and increasing prosperity result in ongoing demands for water. “The water sector will not be able to handle this demand using the current technologies,” Reiter stated. “The main issue now is how we can quickly bring new technologies onto the market that allow us to produce more drinking water." The reactions from the CEOs during the opening discussions made clear that while desalination of sea water will increase, the major global trend will be water recycling.

Membrane filtration is the water technology of the future, and this was clearly demonstrated by the world’s leading water technology companies, who all gathered at Aquatech. Traditionally well represented in the treatment of drinking water, membrane filtration is now increasingly being used in wastewater treatment. A remarkable number of membrane bioreactors (MBRs) were exhibited at Aquatech. Although this technology is more expensive than conventional aerobic treatment, it is an interesting option due to its compactness and the exceptional purity of the effluent. This holds especially true as the Water Framework Directive is implemented and stricter water emission standards are applied.

This year’s Aquatech saw a special focus on industrial sectors that consume large amounts of water, such as the chemical, paper, food and textile industries. In cooperation with the International Water Association (IWA), Amsterdam RAI organized an exceptionally well-attended industrial water conference, where speakers from around the world came to discuss a wealth of innovative solutions. IWA Director Paul Reiter says industry is the largest innovator in water technology: “Governments have to be much more conservative in their choice for technologies as water flows are variable. Industry can implement new water technologies far more quickly.”

As initiated by the exhibition organizers and the Netherlands Water Partnership (NWP), the exhibition featured a “Jobs in Water” vacancy wall with more than 100 vacancies in the Dutch water sector. This figure could easily have been doubled, according to the NWP. The large number of vacancies shows how difficult it is to find good technical personnel, which is why the water sector was so pleased with the initiative. Various spontaneous reactions resulted in immediate job interviews on the exhibition floor.