Winners announced for The Water Council’s first Tech Challenge round

The Water Council, together with founding sponsors A. O. Smith Corporation, Badger Meter and Zurn Industries, LLC, a Rexnord company, today announced the first round of Tech Challenge winners, finalists and honourable mentions.

The Tech Challenge is designed to identify cutting-edge freshwater technologies and ideas with a high potential for commercialisation from anyone, anywhere. Each year a series of Tech Challenges will address specific topics identified by corporate sponsors. Selected finalists present in-person to the sponsoring companies for a chance to win prize money, access to corporate R&D resources and an opportunity to partner on the development, marketing, licensing or sale of the winning technology or idea.

“The number and quality of projects from the Tech Challenge has exceeded my expectations for the first year of the event,” said Fred Begale, vice president of engineering at Badger Meter. “We have found a number of interesting projects that we are investigating further as potential augmentation projects to our R&D portfolio.”

The following are the selected Challenge winners:

Heavy Metal Sensor Challenge:
ANDalyze – Illinois, United States – ANDalyze develops and markets analytical instruments that enable real-time and point-of-use, near-lab-quality measurements of contaminants in water.

Biological/DBP Sensor Challenge:
Burge Environmental, Inc. – Arizona, United States – Burge Environmental, Inc., a sensor research and development company, has created MiProbE®, a direct microbial sensor technology that enables real-time measurements of biochemical changes in microbial processes and environments that does not require cleaning or regular maintenance.

Acknowledging the strength of submissions by individuals, teams and companies, The Water Council and corporate sponsors also recognized six finalists and five honourable mentions from the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of Connecticut, Georgia Institute of Technology, Wisconsin Lutheran College, as well as a student from Brookfield Central High School. Applications were received from as far away as Canada, China and the United Kingdom. A total of 18 applications were received for the first Tech Challenge round.

“The development of water technology is ever-expanding and quickly evolving to meet growing global needs,” stated Dr Robert Heideman, senior vice president and chief technology officer at A. O. Smith Corporation. “With The Water Council’s Tech Challenge, A. O. Smith is excited to connect and partner with innovative, out-of-the-box thinkers, researchers and start-ups to help bring their proposed ideas and solutions to life in day-to-day products.”

Companies can get involved with the programme by becoming a Tech Challenge sponsor and in turn will be able to select challenge topics, access and evaluate submissions, judge and interview applicants, and select winners with an opportunity to make deals.

“It was exciting to see the diversity of the Tech Challenge responses that identify new innovations related to detecting microbiological organisms or heavy metals,” stated Glen Trickle, director of engineering at Zurn Industries, LLC, a Rexnord company. “These innovations will help us protect human health and the environment.”

The Tech Challenge applications were accepted from November 1, 2018 – January 13, 2019. The next round of the Tech Challenge will be announced summer 2019.