The Water Council, a nonprofit championing water technology innovation in the world’s freshwater hub, recently announced the winners of its 2021 Pilot Program. Funded by grants from the Fund for Lake Michigan (FFLM), Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) and Wells Fargo, the Pilot Program accelerates the validation of promising water technologies, paving a path to commercialization.
The winners address several water-related challenges in Wisconsin, including harmful algal blooms, wastewater treatment, nutrient capture and field runoff. The winners were selected by FFLM and MMSD from a diverse global field of applications based on their ability to offer innovative, integrated water solutions while maintaining a cost-efficient, scalable and deployable model:
- Bloom Optix/HAB Alert: HABAlert would be the first cost-effective technology for identifying and counting cyanobacteria, which cause harmful algal blooms.
- Tomorrow Water/Proteus: The Proteus up-flow media filter technology is designed to improve carbon diversion, energy efficiency and the tolerance of wastewater treatment plants to "peak flow events" in the face of aging sewer systems and erratic weather patterns caused by climate change.
- Water Resources Monitoring Group (WRMG): WRMG will field-test a low-cost system called the "Turbidity Tracker" designed to estimate soil loss in real-time from agricultural landscapes.
- Water Warriors: Water Warriors will demonstrate the effectiveness of Poseidon Pellets in reducing phosphorus concentrations by addressing runoff and/or stormwater nutrient pollution in early stages, with minimal infrastructure investment.
“By funding these pilots, the sponsors address some of the biggest challenges facing their own entities as well as Wisconsin water quality pain points, while also allowing companies to test their innovations in real-world settings,” said Karen Frost, vice president of economic development and innovation at The Water Council. “The pilots help these technologies reach their maximum potential for market commercialization and environmental impact.”
Since its launch in 2015, the Pilot Program has awarded grants of more than $822,000 to 17 companies to help pilot technologies in Wisconsin, accelerating the deployment of water technology to solve problems, create new business and improve water quality on a regional and global scale.