Published on March 22nd, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan2
$500-Billion Opportunity: Solving Water Issues
It’s World Water Day today, the 19th annual UN World Water Day. Last year, I posted a roundup of 60 of our water-related posts over the years for World Water Day (still worth a look). About half a year before that, for a Blog Action Day on the topic of water, I compared the water usage of various energy sources (hint: wind and solar PV kick serious butt in that arena). This year, I’m actually going to spare my typing fingers a bit by sharing a great water post from sister site Ecopreneurist that I think deserves a spotlight. Here’s most of that post, by Priti Ambani, with minor changes and notes in brackets —  — by me:
Imagine H2O, a nonprofit organization that supports entrepreneurs to turn water challenges into business opportunities, [yesterday] announced the winners of its third annual prize competition.
The winners were chosen from a competitive selection of finalists by Imagine H2O’s judging panel, a group of leading experts and investors in the water sector. Highlighting that business plan innovation is critical to the long-term success of water startups, the winners were selected based on their commercial viability and promise. This year’s prize attracted 50 startups led by serial entrepreneurs, experienced executives and campus engineering programs.
This year’s prize topic was wastewater, of which an estimated 90 percent goes untreated worldwide. The wastewater market is valued at $200 billion per year across the industrial, commercial and residential sectors worldwide.
[... skipping section about Imagine H20 and going straight to the section on the winners...]
About the Winners
Bilexys (Brisbane, Australia) is developing an alternative manufacturing platform for the production of chemicals and plastics. The Company’s process technologies involve bioelectrochemistry and the use of wastewater as the source of its raw materials. Traditionally, wastewater treatment has been viewed as an operating expense of an industrial complex. Bilexys approaches wastewater treatment as an opportunity to biologically convert the organics within wastewater into high-value chemical products (including sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide). The chemicals produced by the Bilexys method reduce the need for our clients to purchase and bring in chemicals, providing significant environmental and economic benefit to its customers, with potential payback within two years.
Tusaar, Inc (Lafayette, Colorado) is commercializing a unique media-based technology to remove contaminating heavy-metals from multi-chemical process and waste water. Using base technology licensed from the University of Colorado-Boulder, the team at Tusaar has developed a media that sequesters over 40 different metals from industrial waters and provides a solution to coal combustion fly ash pond management and related groundwater contamination, a serious problem for coal-fired power plants. Tusaar media also enables customers to separate toxic waste metals from other hazardous chemicals thereby simplifying disposal and management. Waste volume and related cost reduction of over 95% has been achieved at customer sites leading to payback in less than one year.
Nexus eWater (Canberra, Australia) harnesses the power of a home’s wastewater stream by converting gray water into near-potable water, while recycling the water’s energy for hot water heating. This decentralized solution allows homeowners to reduce water use and reduce their carbon footprint by internalizing water heating costs. The executive team includes the former CEO co-founder of ADS Water and the former VP of Perpetual Water.
New Sky Energy (Boulder, Colorado) employs a chemical process that combines CO2 and industrial wastewater to make usable CO2-negative solids. This process allows customers to profitably reduce CO2 emissions while manufacturing onsite the chemicals they use every day. New Sky’s CEO, Deane Little, is a PhD molecular biophysicist.
Second Image: Woman’s hand with water splash courtesy shutterstock
Note: World Water Day 2012 posts from around the Important Media network are being compiled on sister site Eat Drink Better (link above).