Frontiers of Environmental Science & Engineering
Diffusion of municipal wastewater treatment technologies in China: a collaboration network perspective
. State Key Joint Laboratory of Environment Simulation and Pollution Control, School of Environment, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China.
.. Department of Computer Science and Technology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
Available online: 2017-01-22
Real wastewater treatment technology diffusion process was investigated. The research is based on a dataset of 3136 municipal WWTPs and 4634 organizations. A new metric was proposed to measure the importance of a project in diffusion. Important projects usually involve central organizations in collaboration. Organizations become more central by participating in less important projects. The diffusion of municipal wastewater treatment technology is vital for urban environment in developing countries. China has built more than 3000 municipal wastewater treatment plants in the past three decades, which is a good chance to understand how technologies diffused in reality. We used a data-driven approach to explore the relationship between the diffusion of wastewater treatment technologies and collaborations between organizations. A database of 3136 municipal wastewater treatment plants and 4634 collaborating organizations was built and transformed into networks for analysis. We have found that: 1) the diffusion networks are assortative, and the patterns of diffusion vary across technologies; while the collaboration networks are fragmented, and have an assortativity around zero since the 2000s. 2) Important projects in technology diffusion usually involve central organizations in collaboration networks, but organizations become more central in collaboration by doing circumstantial projects in diffusion. 3) The importance of projects in diffusion can be predicted with a Random Forest model at a good accuracy and precision level. Our findings provide a quantitative understanding of the technology diffusion processes, which could be used for water-relevant policy-making and business decisions.