Water. Most Americans think nothing of it. Turn on the faucet and we expect clean water to flow under good pressure at the temperature of our choosing. But to make all that happen, water requires energy and lots of it. A full 3 percent of electrical power generation is used to treat, pump and distribute water in the U.S. (to say nothing of heating it). And in California, that figure is as high as 19 percent.
Imagine H2O is turning the concern about the intersection of energy and water into an opportunity by opening a $100,000 global competition to find the world’s most promising water businesses that save energy.
Innovations could focus on a number of areas including water heating/cooling, pumping and transport or low-energy treatment. Entries for this year’s competition, The Water-Energy Nexus, will be accepted beginning today, September 1, through November 15, 2010.
“Opportunities for saving energy exist at every stage of the water cycle,” says Scott Bryan, Director of Operations at Imagine H2O. “Many of these innovations could be attractive to all water users from utilities down to the individual consumer.”
Imagine H2O is a non-profit company created in 2008 “to inspire and help bring to market sustainable solutions to global water problems through entrepreneurship.” The Water-Energy Nexus is the second contest Imagine H2O has held for water innovation. The 2009 contest, Water Efficiency, rewarded business plans that offered the greatest promise of breakthroughs in the efficient use and supply of water in agriculture, commercial, industrial or residential applications.
Like last year, this year’s $100,000 purse includes cash as well as access to the Imagine H2O Incubator Program that helps bring the winning ideas to market. Business incubators have the ability to not only provide seed money and in-kind support for startups, they can also be pivotal in bringing products to market.
“This prize highlights a big market opportunity for entrepreneurs,” says Tamin Pechet, Imagine H2O’s Chairman. “Tomorrow’s water supply system will have to be an energy-efficient one.”
Article by Timothy B. Hurst, appearing courtesy Earth & Industry.