The Run4Life project goes beyond technical implementation and also promotes market uptake. Direct engagement with key stakeholders was planned and delivered to obtain feedback from potential future costumers of the Run4Life technologies, products and overall concept. These engagements also helped to further improve implementation of new business models and boosting social and organisational innovating through also including the end-user perspective. Isle Utilities (Isle) has led the development of strategies to facilitate rapid market access of the innovations demonstrated during the project. For that purpose Isle has organised and delivered three Innovation Workshops (IW) following its Technology Approval Group (TAG) methodology.

The IW were focused on end-users from the water sector, fertilising and agriculture sector and financial sector development. The IW, within the context of the Run4Life project, is a forum to connect Run4Life technology developers and fertiliser producers directly with end-users.

Innovation workshops

Many emerging technologies face the ‘valley of death’, which is the stage of their development where full-scale on-site demonstrations with end-user partners would be extremely valuable and enable a smooth ride to commercialisation. The IW therefore supported the development of the business models and business cases for the Run4Life solutions by considering the feedback and input from the sector that the technologies and products are being developed for. All the feedback received from participating end users was used to refine the technology development and business models for market penetration. The IWs also facilitated future relationships and collaborations for further replication of the Run4Life concept.

The three IW were planned to be delivered during the project duration as physical meetings but due to the COVID pandemic these were delivered online and Mentimeter was used as tool for the end-users to interact with the Run4Life partners presenting at the IW, key questions were also asked using this tool to gather specific feedback from the end-users.

Run4Life exploitable project results

During the implementation of the RUN4LIFE concept, 3 innovative technologies and 12 resource recovered products were identified as project results that could be exploited through a commercial route. In addition, the Smart Resource Recovery Platform (which is a tool to assess the efficiency of the nutrient recovery technology by monitoring the remaining nutrients in the effluents) was also included in this group of commercially exploitable project results (16 in total). These results were ranked on the basis of their commercial exploitation readiness level and commercialisation potential, and the ones that ranked highest were:

  • The Fertilisers produced in Helsingborg,
  • Reclaimed water produced in Vigo and
  • The Smart Resource Recovery platform

And with medium commercialisation potential:

  • The Struvite as well as the NPK solid and liquid fertilisers produced in Vigo, and
  • The Hyper-thermophilic anaerobic digestion HTAD technology

The outcomes of the three Run4Life Innovation Workshops also feed to the Run4Life Commercialisation and Business Strategy, which includes Business Model Canvases and Exploitation Roadmaps for the innovative technologies and business cases and different business model scenarios for the Run4Life concept (including the technologies implemented and the products produced) at each demo site.

Developments of the demonstration site business cases

After the project has finished the demonstrations sites plan to develop the business cases further and help promote implementation at other sites. During the 3rd innovation workshop the four demonstration sites also presented the ongoing developments of the business cases. The possibilities for the future discussed at the 3rd innovation workshop are summerised here.


Eva Martinez from Aqualia announced that “As part of our next steps, we have engaged in conversations with Zona Franca de Vigo (ZFV) around commercial agreements. ZFV is keen to promote the sustainability path by continuing with the operation of the existing Run4Life facilities”. Eva Martinez also indicated that “ZFV is keen to upgrade the current Run4LifeVigo business case. The idea is to have a progressing scalability so we are increasing the scale of the system in a new office building at Balaidos Industrial Park that is also managed by ZFV where the decentralised wastewater treatment system treats the black water they generate onsite. This new treatment unit is designed to treat 10 times the amount that it is currently treated in the Run4Life project.” The scaling up will require some additional work as  Eva Martinez mentioned that “the idea is that ..” Aqualia “.. can optimise the anaerobic process”. The treated water and the nutrients can then be used in the vertical gardens of the office building”.



Paraschos Chatzopoulos from DESAH revealed that for the next steps “.. we would like to go bigger…” this is a decentralised WWTP above the 2,500 p.e. that they have done during the implementation of the Run4LifeSneek business case. Paraschos Chatzopoulos presented the ambitious plan of “..  looking into cases where we can do direct reuse of greywater, although we are aware that in some countries this is not going to be feasible but it depends on the case by case, and specially with the use of nanofiltration we believe we will be able to do so soon.” He clarified that “.. if we do that we will achieve zero net discharge, basically we will not put anything back to the environment and we could reuse all the..” treated “..wastewater.” Paraschos Chatzopoulos added that DESAH “.. are also working more in the energy optimisation of the WwTP to eventually have an energy positive treatment instead of a neutral one. We are looking at upscaling the production of fertiliser with Thermophilic Anaerobic Digestion and find some networks where we can supply these fertilisers because it is nice if you produce something but it is even better if you have someone who is keen to buy it”.



Lieven Demolder from CEIP started his presentation with a fundamental question for the Ghent business case to be replicated:  “Where will these new sanitation systems be interesting?” He disclosed that  CEIP is “thinking a lot about new urban areas without existing sanitation systems, high population density areas where existing sanitation systems cannot accommodate additional users and there is a need to invest in new infrastructures and areas where there is willingness to invest in innovation or to pay  for more sustainable solutions.”  Lieven Demolder further emphasised that the Run4LifeGhent business case provides “.. a kind of new holistic approach that makes urban areas much more sustainable than before. So the question is what people are willing to pay for that high degree of sustainability in a new development.” He also clarified that “.. this is a more richer urban area and we see that a lot of people are attracted to the sustainability of the Nieuwe Dokken and they really want to be part of it, this could be a new incentive for developing cities to create a new way of urban living.



Hamse Kjerstadius from NSVA shared their strategy to support the commercialisation and sustainability of the fertilisers produced in the Run4LifeHelsingborg business case: “Due to the small scale of production, the NPK pellets we produce will be much more expensive than fossil fertiliser products. So, our aim is to sell them at a zero loss price and that is we do not lose money from selling the pellets. Then we need to sell some of the pellets to the public at  at a higher price to subsidise what we really want to do and that is to sell the pellets to farmers at a competitive market price to create a sustainable loop


Following the implementation of the RUN4LIFE project, it is clear that the four case studies can be replicated and transferred to other regions, which is already being explored.

Run4Life has not only developed 4 new business cases for decentralised domestic wastewater treatment, but also a replication business case, which is going to be the focus of the next steps to ensure the sustainability of Run4Life beyond the EU funded period.