Across South and South East Asia, the pursuit for new water solutions is intensifying as utilities and businesses strive to protect and sustain increasingly scarce resources. 11 global water technology startups have been selected to join Imagine H2O Asia 2020, to each provide a distinct water innovation opportunity to alleviate the mounting water pressures facing communities across the Asia-Pacific region.
At the same time, all 2020 finalists share a common vision to challenge the water management status quo — treating and reusing more water with less; monitoring changing water resources in real-time to make smarter decisions, faster; and boosting progress towards universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation.
In collaboration with programme partners Enterprise Singapore, SUEZ, ADB Ventures and PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, Imagine H2O Asia is a Singapore-based, South East Asia water innovation accelerator that provides the resources to help promising water entrepreneurs launch and scale their businesses in the region.
The organisation’s evaluation committee selected the 11 finalists from a field of 115 applicants across 29 countries based on commercial viability, technological differentiation, impact and South East Asia market readiness. The 2020 cohort will benefit from an enhanced programme this year with new pilot funding awards, additional visibility opportunities in South East Asia and an expanded mentors and customer network to unlock a faster path to market.
The 2020 applicant pool showcased a record number of water startups also worthy of the spotlight. Emerging water technology entrepreneurs create new opportunities to accelerate water security today when equitable access to safe drinking water or hand-washing stations has become a non-negotiable due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As the world looks ahead towards a global recovery, these same entrepreneurs serve as powerful change agents reimagining water resilience for communities facing pressures from population growth, urbanisation, and climate change.
The Imagine H2O Asia 2020 accelerator companies are as follows:
Water & Wastewater Treatment & Reuse
Arun (South Korea)
High rate, non-clogging microfiltration technology based on a unique and patented filter perforation design which allows for a smaller footprint, lower maintenance and operational cost savings compared to competitors.
Fluid Technology Solutions (USA)
Osmotically assisted reverse osmosis and forward osmosis technology for Zero Liquid Discharge (ZLD) and water reuse. Applications in mineral refining, digestate treatment and industrial wastewater.
Energy efficient, chemical resistant membrane distillation technology for product concentration and ZLD applications using a proprietary hydrophobic hollow fiber membrane. Initial pilots demonstrate significant cost savings for pharmaceutical and metal-finishing industries.
Compact suitcase-sized water treatment system using ceramic ultrafiltration and UV-LED disinfection for mobile deployment. The suitcase can tap on off-grid power sources such as automotive batteries or solar panels. 40+ deployments so far, primarily in disaster zones or remote communities.
Easy-to-manufacture, positively-charged hollow fiber nanofiltration membrane technology which demonstrates high removal of hardness, heavy metals and bacteria for safe drinking water production in a POE and POU setup. The proprietary membrane also has high fouling and chlorine resistance.
Sensors & Diagnostics
Rapid and low-cost enzyme strip-testing technology and digital monitoring platform for real-time detection of arsenic and fluoride. Initial field testing in Bangladesh completed with proprietary enzyme and biosensor.
Noria Water Technologies (USA)
Real-time, image-based reverse osmosis membrane monitoring tool with software analytics to help diagnose abnormalities and guide operators when taking on targeted maintenance actions. Current installations demonstrate 30% OPEX savings due to reduction in CIP chemical usage and filtration downtime.
Novel bio-electrode sensor that performs real-time measurement and analysis of microbial metabolic activity in a robust, easy-to-deploy package. The sensor has been deployed for in-situ monitoring of biological wastewater treatment processes and can be used to monitor toxicity events in sewer networks. Plug-and-play solution is installed within three hours.
Network Management & Leak Detection
Fluid Robotics (India)
In-pipe robotic mapping and assessment tools to detect leaks, monitor wastewater networks and prevent pollution runoff. Flagship pilot diverted 650+ MLD of raw sewage from rivers.
Digital Water Solutions
Big data integration and analytics platform as a forecasting decision support tool for agricultural, irrigation and water balance applications. 50 million hectares monitored weekly through initial projects in India.
Water intelligence tool that helps cities quickly identify districts with abnormalities in water consumption due to metering faults, unauthorised usage and erroneous data recording. Pilot in India demonstrated potential for significant revenue recovery for a city’s water utility.