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Technologies for textiles and aquaculture win MIT Water Prize

A membrane technology for textile manufacturers and a recirculating aquaculture system have been announced as joint winners of the MIT Water prize.

Student-led teams SiPure and Symbrosia will share the US$35,000 prize with Volta Irrigation, a social enterprise focused on resource optimisation in agricultural small-holdings.

The MIT Water Innovation Prize is a start-up competition run by MIT Water Club network for water research and innovation at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Up to $35K in innovation grants is awarded annually to teams from across the world.

The three winners pitched against five other teams in the final, which took place on 18 April 2019. The winners will also benefit from a consultation with an expert market analyst from sponsor BlueTech Research and gain access to BlueTech Research intelligence resources that will provide competitive landscape mapping and market insights in their field.

SiPure has developed a patented membrane technology capable of purifying textile wastewater while drastically reducing capital and operational costs. With enhanced performance and significantly extended lifetime over its competitors, the SiPure team says its membrane has the potential to reduce global textile industry water demand by 500 billion litres per year.

Symbrosia’s recirculating aquaculture system facilitates the cultivation of the red macro-algae Asparagopsis taxiformis in symbiosis with whiteleg shrimp. Replacing 1% of cattle feed with A. taxiformis can lead to a 99% reduction in cattle methane production – addressing global climate change and food security.

Volta Irrigation is a revenue-generating and environmentally restorative social enterprise focused on increasing the profitability of smallholder farmers. Through a focus on optimisation of resources, especially water, Volta says it is creating positive environmental impact.

Attendees at the Final Pitch Night heard from You Wu, a winner of the MIT Water Prize 2017, who shared experiences from building his leakage start-up Watchtower Robotics. Tom Ferguson, vice president of programming for Imagine H2O, was also on hand to give advice to aspiring water entrepreneurs.

Paul O’Callaghan, chief executive of sponsor BlueTech Research said:

“Through its annual Water Innovation Prize, MIT Water has been actively supporting new technological breakthroughs in the water space and BlueTech is proud to co-sponsor this year’s event.

BlueTech’s research analysts track water technology innovation globally and we will be keeping a close eye on these talented entrepreneurs.”

Javier Renna, MBA student, MIT said:

“I’d like to thank BlueTech Research for their generous support of the Water Innovation Prize. The intelligence and expertise they are providing will help our winners properly understand the markets they are operating in and support the development of their technologies and enterprises.”

The MIT Water Prize winners will have the opportunity to attend BlueTech Forum 2019, which takes place in London, 5-6 June. This high-level international event, hosted by BlueTech Research, gives delegates the opportunity to network closely with industry leaders from utilities, industrial water users, academia and the investment community.

For more information, visit www.bluetechforum.com.

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