Executive Insights

Can Research & Development Maintain Dow’s Competitive Edge In Water Treatment? - An Exclusive Interview with Larry Ryan, Business President, Dow Energy & Water Solutions

By Mike Henley


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Commodity versus value added. Astute observers in the water treatment field know that valueadded technologies and products command better prices than commodities. Dow Energy & Water Solutions (DE&WS) aims to keep its competitive advantage and value-added products through a strong research and development (R&D) program.

Larry Ryan, the business president for DE&WS, said R&D is important to Dow's continued success in water treatment. "We spend heavily on R&D. Within corporate Dow, we invest more than $1.6 billion annually in R&D. In businesses like water, we invest a significant amount into the individual businesses and can also pull from the broader Dow for additional resources. We will continue to invest heavily, because we see that as an advantage we bring to the marketplace." 

R&D for DE&WS is conducted at a number of facilities Dow operates around the world. One example is its facility in Tarragona, Spain, where water treatment technologies can be tested and evaluated at full scale. Mr. Ryan said the facility features a lab and pilot plant that allows researchers and customers to simulate, test, and optimize market applications, such as water treatment and reuse. The R&D plant also permits validation of treatment technologies at industrial-scale level.

In Collegeville, PA, Dow has the Northeast Technology Center where researchers work on product development for municipal, industrial, home water treatment, and microbial control technologies. In Horgen, Switzerland, and in Shanghai, China, Dow has R&D centers working on microbial control. The company also has a research facility in Saudi Arabia at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.

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