Last week, Veolia, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced the first-ever “Pow! emPowering Opportunities in Water” competition winners: water technology companies that envision a future where nanobubbles help the oil and gas industry recycle water, minerals from wastewater help feed the world, and food waste helps remove contaminants from water.
The competition aims to advance new ideas and approaches for sustainability and resiliency in the water and cleantech industries by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs.
“The driving force behind Pow! is to connect the entrepreneurial ecosystem with the needs of society, the environment and our clients,” explained Philip Abraham, senior vice president of Veolia’s global Research and Innovation. “By providing access to markets, pilot sites, research and innovation, technical partners and professionals who can bolster the winners’ ideas and experiences, Pow! is a new way that Veolia and partner organizations can contribute to global improvements in how we manage water.”
Each applicant addressed one of four challenges: ‘smart-data’ technologies; resilience and sustainable water management; watershed management; or disruptive water innovation.
The inaugural winners were:
- Nano Gas Technologies, Inc., a Deerfield, Ill.-based water technology company that infuses nanobubbles of oxygen and other gases to support the recovery of oil and gas while recycling water;
- Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling (NRU) LLC, a Madison, Wis.-based resource upcycling and sustainable nutrient management company using a phosphate recovery technology to extract brushite from wastewater; and
- WAVVE Stream Inc., a Houston, Tex.-based water high-tech startup using an innovative biodegradable gel made from food-grade material to help remove heavy metals and nutrients from water.
They will each receive:
- $25,000 in cash prizes from Veolia;
- $15,000 in cash prizes from The Water Council and WEDC;
- $10,000 tuition to The Water Council’s business accelerator, The BREW (Business, Research, Entrepreneurship in Wisconsin), which includes access to water technology experts and mentors;
- Access to faculty from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School for Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Marquette University;
- Business model and operations training through The Water Council;
- 12 months of free office space in Veolia’s suite at the Global Water Center in Milwaukee, along with access to the Global Water Center’s Flow Lab;
- Exchanges and mentoring with Veolia experts, along with exposure to actual field challenges; and,
- Leveraging Veolia’s network to potentially deploy solutions in other geographies.
“Water technology advancements made by companies leveraging Wisconsin’s globally recognized industry sector strengths are helping to solve sustainability challenges worldwide,” said Mark Hogan, CEO of the WEDC. “We look forward to working with these Pow! competition winners to bring new innovations to market.”