Futurapolis 2018: Veolia shares its vision of the world in 2040

On 16 and 17 November in Toulouse, the seventh edition of Futurapolis - the innovation event organized by Le Point magazine - brings together scientists, artists and entrepreneurs to discuss the challenges of the future. Antoine Frérot, Veolia’s Chairman and CEO, presented his vision of the world in 2040, and Frédéric Van Heems, CEO of Veolia's Water Business in France, spoke on the theme of greentech.


The world in 2040 according to Veolia

"Ensuring economic growth coincides with environmental protection is achievable. Effective regulation, advances in knowledge, technical development, greater sobriety and less waste will find the solution to climate change. With coherent and enduring actions, we have the solutions for organizing life and the economy at a global level that are compatible with respecting the planet in the long term," explained Antoine Frérot.


Building a world of decarbonized, decentralized and digitized energy

Global energy demand will have grown 30% by 2040. To meet this demand at the same time as preserving resources and limiting global warming, we need to build a world of decarbonized, decentralized and digitized energy. Energy efficiency is one of the key solutions for the future. For example in the United States, Veolia has helped the New York Power Authority reduce energy consumption in 3,900 public buildings, thereby avoiding the emission of 820,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year.


Feeding nine billion people with scarce soil, water and energy resources

To cope with the growing pressure of urbanization and climate change on arable land, solutions for more sustainable agriculture should be deployed:

     • Develop more efficient water use throughout the agro-food chain
     • Diversify protein sources, for example by producing animal protein from insect larvae. Veolia is conducting experiments in this field with two specialist start-ups - Mutatec in France and Entofood in Malaysia - which raise fly larvae on biowaste and then make them into fish feed.


Fighting water, soil and air pollution

Behind 9 million premature deaths in 2015 (16% of all deaths worldwide), pollution is believed to be the biggest cause of illness and premature death.

Veolia develops solutions and experiments that fight water, soil and air pollution.

In the field of water in particular, the Group has conducted a particularly promising drug residue treatment experiment with Skejby Hospital in Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city. By establishing a drug residue traceability and treatment system for the hospital’s wastewater as well as in one of the city's wastewater treatment plants, it has been possible to eliminate 90% of the drug residues in the municipal wastewater.

Veolia is also conducting air quality experiments - for example in the Middle East. In this part of the world, the issue of indoor air quality is of real concern, as extreme outdoor temperatures force people to stay indoors. Dubai’s Sheraton Hotel teams therefore called on Veolia to deploy a system to continuously monitor a range of air quality parameters.


Greentech and innovation are in Veolia's DNA

"Innovation at Veolia is contributing to the ecological transition: it relies on digital transformation to move from a linear economy to a carbon-free circular economy, and resource territories by making them more resilient and livable. Veolia partners a start-up ecosystem in order to design green and innovative solutions," said Frédéric Van Heems, CEO of Veolia's Water Business in France.


Participating in the "GreenTech: can innovation be green?" discussion, he had 3 key messages:

     • Green chemistry turns waste into a resource: the reuse of wastewater transformed into an agronomic resource reduces inputs and irrigates green spaces and farmland. And thanks to the anaerobic digestion process sewage sludge becomes an energy resource.
     • Ecological engineering and biomimicry help improve the water cycle: green infrastructure protects aquatic environments from the impacts of climate change. Bacteria depollute water through plant rhizomes that consume organic matter. Veolia, alongside the company Bee City, installs hives near water intakes to locate pollutants (pesticides).
     • Digital technology increases the performance of water networks: multi-parameter sensors improve diagnostics for aquaculture and swimming. Supervision systems (Hypervision 360) help prevent leaks and reduce water wastage.


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