I am not sure how many innovators I have talked to in the municipal infrastructure space (waste, water, heat and power) over the last 20 years who have not gotten their technology off the drawing board or beyond a small scale one-off pilot.
Far too many innovators have been sucked into the trap that they can’t go to market until they can demonstrate that their technology can scale to meet a massive demand. This is largely because traditional municipal infrastructure has largely evolved to have large central supply and disposal plants with massive (over-sized) contingencies and too many vested interests to allow for change.
However, what if the shackles on the innovators could be broken. What if innovators weren’t forced to have to scale up their technology to meet the demands of the market?
In fact, what we have come to realize over the last 10 years is you don’t want large centralized plants. They represent a huge single point of failure, as has been demonstrated over and over again, in disasters like Hurricane Sandy where large centralized utility infrastructure went down, and it was only the smaller modular plants that continued to operate.
To deploy truly renewable infrastructure, the deployments needs to be as close to the area of service as possible, not only to minimize the environmental footprint, but to respond more effectively to changing needs before those changing needs aggregate and become unmanageable. This also allows the level of contingencies and redundancies to be more accurately addressed in a more cost effective manner. This bodes well for the innovator and the community in which they are deploying.
When we have talked to innovators about what it would mean to them to keep their technologies modular, and not have to artificially scale up their technology, their face lights up. This is not to be confused with pilots, that are one-off’s, but modules that can be replicated and deployed on a commercial basis. For them, building around modular technologies means new innovations can be tested and integrated on a much smaller scale, faster, reducing their risk and their go-to-market costs. On the other side, it also means that communities can get the benefit of these innovations sooner, and can deploy quicker with long lasting benefits at less risk to the community. (See Making Cities Renewable is as Easy as Lego).
Even more importantly to the communities that embark down this road is the question, what do we do if new technologies come along. This question can paralyze many communities, because they do not have a good answer.
Yet the answer is simle. Modules are simply replaced by new technologies and the older proven modules are repurposed to other projects. This keeps the innovators in the game, and helps accelerate deployment of renewable technologies into the community, reducing the overall cost of renewable infrastructure.
At TITUS we break communities down into zones and local service areas to optimize the efficient use of resources (energy, water, and waste). In this way, resources are used most efficiently and costs can be minimized.
This zone approach creates modular systems that can be staged to incrementally add new sources and/or connect new service areas as required. This allows the cost of the infrastructure and upgrades or new technologies to be balanced with the revenues and environmental benefits.
TITUS is looking for innovative partners, suppliers and employees to expand and enhance our modular platform. If this is you or your firm lets talk.