Skip to navigation Skip to content

Hutton water innovation up for VIBES Hydro Nation Scotland award

The water facility was built at Berambadi Primary School, Karnataka, India
"We are delighted to be named as finalists of the VIBES Hydro Nation Scotland award for the efforts of our multi-disciplinary team along with other Scottish and Indian partners"

A James Hutton Institute-led and Scottish Government-funded project to develop a novel decentralised wastewater treatment system in rural India that can be replicated in Scotland and beyond has been shortlisted for a VIBES – Scottish Environment Business award in the Hydro Nation Scotland category.

The Institute is a leading player in water-related research and innovation and hosts the Hydro Nation International Centre, a site of the Water Test Network for North-West Europe and the Scottish Centre of Expertise for Waters (CREW), all at its Aberdeen site.

Dr Rachel Helliwell, CREW manager, said: “We are delighted to be named as finalists of the VIBES Hydro Nation Scotland award for the efforts of our multi-disciplinary team along with other Scottish and Indian partners. Together we have developed a system that can deliver low-cost wastewater treatment for rural schools and is easily adaptable to different sites and conditions, meaning more schools and communities can benefit.

“We are now working on bringing the technology back home, in line with Hutton values about leading by example, fostering creativity and innovation, and wanting to make a difference. To do this, we plan to work with the Scottish Government, Scottish Water, SEPA and other stakeholders on a feasibility study to adopt the technology in new rural developments and explore the possibility of developing a prototype in Scotland.”

Apart from being a finalist in the Hydro Nation Scotland category, the Institute is also a member of the One Health Breakthrough Partnership led by NHS Highland, which has been nominated for a VIBES award in the Partnership Scotland category. The partnership seeks to tackle the growing issue of pharmaceuticals in the environment and aims to work towards a non-toxic environment which recognises that the health of humans, animals and ecosystems is interconnected.

Vertical farm technology business Intelligent Growth Solutions Ltd, which opened Scotland's first vertical farm in August 2018 at the Institute's Dundee site, has also been shortlisted for a VIBES award in the Innovating Scotland category. IGS’s unique technology has been designed specifically to address some of vertical farming’s biggest challenges, including the cost of power and labour, as well as the inability to produce consistently high-quality produce at scale. Hutton scientists are working with IGS to better understand how growing indoors can impact different varieties of crop growth, as well as driving increased productivity.

Now in their 20th year, the VIBES awards urge Scotland’s businesses to challenge their everyday working practices and embrace the economic opportunity of sustainability. The Institute won a VIBES Adaptation to Climate Change award in 2018, on account of farming innovations to protect the environment, renewable energy projects and the International Barley Hub’s efforts to ensure the long-term sustainability of barley supplies in a changing climate.

Bob Downes, chair of SEPA and head of the VIBES judging panel, said: “The scale of environmental challenges facing humanity is enormous, with a real urgency to act.  The successful businesses of tomorrow will be those who embrace the economic opportunity of sustainable solutions to environmental challenges.

“VIBES – Scottish Environment Business Awards, linked to SEPA’s ambitious ‘One Planet Prosperity’ strategy, recognise Scotland’s leading businesses who show a real commitment to sustainable goods, products and services through leadership, innovation and ambition.

“I would like to congratulate all the finalists who have been recognised by the VIBES Awards and I look forward to announcing the winners in due course.”

Environment Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, commented: “My congratulations go to the businesses who have been shortlisted for this year’s VIBES awards. We are all aware of the urgent environmental issues affecting our planet and business has a vital role to play in Scotland’s continuing journey to a net-zero society.

“It is important that we recognise those who are leading on action to develop sustainable solutions and environmental practices while seizing the economic benefits of embracing a vibrant and innovation circular economy.”

Award sponsors include Adaptation Scotland, Chivas Brothers-Pernod Ricard, Farne Salmon and Trout, Mabbett, ScottishPower, Glenmorangie, The Scottish Government, Travel Know How Scotland, University of Stirling Management School, and Wave Utilities.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 14 November at the Doubletree by Hilton hotel in Glasgow. A full list of categories and finalists is available on the VIBES Awards website.

Watch this video about the newly developed decentralised wastewater treatment system:

More information from: 

Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, James Hutton Institute, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).


Printed from /news/hutton-water-innovation-vibes-hydro-nation-scotland-award on 21/09/19 12:53:00 PM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.