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EUREKA/EUROSTARS: Seeking partner with tunnel glass/bottle cleaning technology to complete a consortium developing an innovative circular economy vending machine for drinkable water and beverages

Country of Origin: Slovenia
Reference Number: RDSI20191224001
Publication Date: 7 May 2020

Summary

Slovenian group of entrepreneurs led by an investor is seeking an additional partner for the development of an innovative product mix that includes: a water dispenser offering refined, carbonated or still water; a bottle dispenser serving as a rent station for environmentally friendly bottles. SME provider/developer of tunnel glass/bottle cleaning technology is sought under research cooperation agreement to complete the consortium.

Description

Slovenian group of entrepreneurs, led by an investor, is seeking viable solutions for solving the single-use packaging pollution problem, thereby providing answers to pressing environmental and health issues. The vision of the consortium is to limit significantly this environmental problem by enabling a smooth transition to a circular-type economy. 

The project is designed in a way to promote a simple, user-friendly circular economy for drinkable water and functional consumption & distribution of beverages. The aim of the project is to tackle the problem of excessive use of packaging in the water/beverages industry by preventing its use in the first place. While recycling provides only a partial solution, using less packaging and consequently creating less waste is a much better answer to the problem of pollution. The project combines two water distribution & consumption products. The first is a water dispenser that dispenses fresh, chilled, refined, carbonated or still water with or without taste and the option of upgrading it into a functional beverage (e.g. by adding antioxidants or electrolytes for sports activities). All water-based beverages are mineralized in a way to offer healthy mineral water, tailored for the 21st-century consumers, and securing an alternative to environmentally unfriendly plastic bottles or similar packaging. The smart automated dispenser therefore provides an innovative solution, which supports a circular economy model as well.The second product functions both as a bottle dispenser and a rent station for environmentally friendly bottles for drinking, made from bioplastics. By paying a minimal fee, users have the possibility to “rent” an environmentally friendly bottle, use it until they want to, and then return it back to the machine to get back most of the deposited sum (with only a small rent fee deduced from the overall fee). This smart machine automatically cleans the returned bottles using steam technology and UV-light sterilization, making the bottle ready for the use of the next customer.R&D activities of the project will comprise the following tasks:• Development and optimization of water treatment methods;• Development of methods for remineralization of purified water;• Development of methods for closed cleaning system of glasses using steam and other methods; • Development of photo recognitions for cleanliness of glasses; • Development of technology for low calorie seltzer drinks made on the point of sale; • Testing innovative products, help in IPR development and market search.

The project partners’ consortium is already completed. The coordinator is only looking for additional project partner – technology provider/developer of glass cleaning/washing system, ideally a system of tunnel steam washing technology under research cooperation agreement.

The submission deadline is planned for 3rd September.

The deadline for EOIs is May 29th.

Advantages and Innovations

• Development of a healthy product with smart customization options (healthy mineral water from tap water) and availability to a large number of customers thanks to the network of dispensers (water is a public good);
• Prevention of use of plastic bottles (sustainability);
• Changing the economy from a linear economy to a circular-type economy with significantly reduced waste (positive environmental and social impact);
• Closed cleaning system with reduced water consumption (sustainability);
• Possibility to implement this innovative technology in other related fields, e.g. applying it on coffee dispenser machines, vending machines etc. (commercial advantage);
• Possibility to develop rent services for bottles and cups, or to apply the same kind of technology to coffee take-away cups, lunch-boxes and lunch take-away packages;
• Strong market development potential that meets the new directives/standards set by leading EU institutions.

Stage Of Development

Proposal under development

Requested partner

The last partner sought to complete the project consortium can be either small enterprise, medium-sized enterprise, or private research institute - provider/developer of sustainable washing system to collaborate in the project and contribute to the development of the innovative product described in the description field under research cooperation agreement.  

The role of the partner sought will be to provide a technology of steam cleaning of glasses/bottles in the dispenser or to develop a closed cleaning system of glasses using steam, ideally a system of tunnel steam washing technology or other relevant solution.

Partner active in the water and beverages industry with experience in implementing such technologies and integrating them into specific dispensers is particularly welcome.

Cooperation offer ist closed for requests