Chicago — Invisible bubbles to help the oil and gas industry recycle water. Growing a valuable mineral from wastewater to help feed the world. Giving food waste a second life to remove contaminants from water. These were the winning ideas that captured the judges' attention in the first-ever "Pow! emPowering Opportunities in Water" competition.
Veolia, The Water Council and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) announced three winners that best support the competition's mission of advancing new ideas and approaches for improving sustainability and resiliency efforts in the water and clean-tech industries. The new program offers a unique opportunity for innovators and social entrepreneurs to fast-track their water-related ideas by connecting them to Veolia and water industry experts and influencers who can directly support their company's services, products and ideas.
The winning companies are:
- Nano Gas Technologies, Inc., a Deerfield, Ill.-based game-changing 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-based water high-tech startup using an innovative biodegradable gel made from food-grade material to help remove heavy metals and nutrients from water.
"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 winning company will receive support from Veolia, the Water Council and WEDC to help bring their ideas to market, including:
- $25,000 cash prize from Veolia
- $15,000 cash prize from The Water Council and WEDC
- $10,000 tuition to The BREW (Business. Research. Entrepreneurship. In Wisconsin.), The Water Council's Business Accelerator that includes 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.
"Veolia's advancement of the new Pow! program demonstrates the company's commitment to foster and strengthen innovative startups that are focused on speeding up the development of the next generation of water technology solutions," said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. "We are very pleased to welcome Pow! winners to the Global Water Center and help them connect with our network, and grow their businesses in Milwaukee."
"Water technology advancements made by companies leveraging Wisconsin's globally recognized industry sector strengths are helping to solve sustainability challenges worldwide," said Mark Hogan, WEDC secretary and chief executive officer. "We look forward to working with these Pow! competition winners to bring new innovations to market."
Pow! is the first corporate water technology accelerator part of The Water Council's BREW Corporate, an expansion to the existing BREW accelerator program.
The three companies were selected from a group of applicants looking to address one of four challenges including: smart-data technologies, resilience and sustainable water management, watershed management, and disruptive water innovation.
To learn more about the winners and the "Pow! emPowering Opportunities in Water!" Program, visit www.veolianorthamerica.com/pow.