At a time when water resources are becoming a major concern in the face of global warming, EDF Pulse Ventures is focusing on WaterTech to identify the most promising startups for improving and optimising water management.

Every year, 4 billion people around the world suffer from a water shortage lasting at least one month, according to the World Resource Institute. The French drought of 2023 hampered agriculture and imposed restrictions on the use of freshwater. Climate change is thus disrupting the water cycle and putting pressure on a resource that is shared for a variety of uses: agriculture, drinking water, industry and housing. According to a report by the World Commission on Water Economics, there will be a 40% shortage of blue gold by 2030. Now, more than ever, we need to find ways of recovering, storing, recycling and reusing it, and guaranteeing its quality. 

The EDF Group is obviously committed to the issue of water management, both for the cooling of its nuclear power plants and for the production of hydroelectricity via its EDF Hydro division, as well as for the production of low-carbon hydrogen from the electrolysis of water. Its industrial customers are also concerned by this issue, notably through the Water Plan launched by the French government, which aims to reduce their water consumption by 10% by 2030. At European level, ESRS standards also monitor the quality of industrial water discharges. 

EDF Pulse Ventures therefore took an interest in the subject of water management and identified three relevant investment themes for the EDF Group and its industrial customers.

EDF Pulse Ventures identifies 3 relevant areas for the Group in WaterTech startups

The water cycle has three main stages: upstream water management, water use and downstream wastewater management. In these three stages, many players have to share the resource. EDF Pulse Ventures has identified three relevant investment themes for the Group to support its industrial customers, and to meet its own challenges in terms of hydroelectricity, nuclear power and hydrogen.

  • 1

    Water forecasting and decision support

    A growing number of startups are providing analyses of upstream water forecasts and the evolution of water reserves thanks to advanced modelling based on a greater volume of data collected more frequently via satellites and sensors. This data could feed into existing models used by EDF and its customers to improve water management.

  • 2

    Efficiency of water usage

    Leak detection and prevention technologies have evolved to include satellite leak detection, cosmic rays and pipe condition monitoring for leak prevention. Water cooling has not improved in years and is a source of energy consumption and water losses. A number of startups are now focusing on these issues.

  • 3

    Alternative water resources

    Finally, several WaterTech startups are proposing to develop alternative resources such as the reuse of wastewater to relieve pressure on the resource in a shared river basin. Desalination is also essential to provide water for the production of green hydrogen in water-limited environments.

78 WaterTech startups identified by EDF Pulse Ventures

As part of this deep dive, EDF Pulse Ventures has mapped the most promising WaterTech startups capable of helping the Group position itself in these innovative fields.

EDF Pulse Ventures mapping watertech startups

EDF Pulse Incubation, the EDF Group's entrepreneurial programme, is also looking into the possibility of incubating WaterTech projects.

Contact EDF Pulse Ventures

You're a BtoB WaterTech startup specialising in water metrology, water reserve forecasting, water purification, industrial reuse or desalination?