Teams from U.S., India, U.K. and Australia Move Forward in Competition Aimed at Tackling Global Water Scarcity
LOS ANGELES (March 22, 2018) — Today, in honor of World Water Day, XPRIZE – the world’s leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges – announced the five finalist teams advancing in the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE, a two-year competition aimed at tackling global water scarcity.
Sponsored by Australian Aid and the Tata Group, the Water Abundance XPRIZE incentivizes teams from around the world to create and develop pioneering technologies that can extract a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere using 100 percent renewable energy, at a cost of two cents per liter.
“Water is our lifeblood. With alarming water shortages impacting livelihood around the world, we are in dire need of decentralized and democratized water breakthroughs now more than ever,” said Zenia Tata, vice president of Global Impact Strategy at XPRIZE. “The promising prototypes presented by these five finalist teams bring us one step closer towards finding a cost-effective solution for extracting water from thin air and offering on-demand access to water, anytime and anywhere.”
The five finalists were chosen based on submissions of technical documentation, test results, and video of a solution prototype that can extract water from the atmosphere using any source of energy and without any requirement for minimum water output cost per liter. The finalists include startups, professors, professional scientists and engineers. The five finalists will share a $250,000 milestone prize purse.
The five advancing teams are:
- Hydro Harvest Operation (Newcastle, Australia) - Led by the University of Newcastle’s Professor Behdad Moghtaderi, the team is going back to basics to develop a simple, energy-efficient and cost-effective device – giving communities worldwide the ability to harvest their own fresh water.
- JMCC WING (South Point – Island of Hawaii) – Led by James McCanney, M.S., the team is powering the JMCC WING, LLC line of industrial Atmospheric Water Generators (AWGs) with the JMCC WING, a high efficiency wind energy system, to extract water from the atmosphere.
- Skydra (Chicago, IL) – Led by Jacques Laramie, Nathan Taylor, and Chris Wlezien, the team have employed a hybrid solution that utilizes both natural and engineered systems to condense water out of the air.
- Uravu (Hyderabad, India) –Led by Swapnil Shrivastav, the team is developing a completely off-grid water from air device, spinning together the magic of material sciences and solar thermal energy.
- The Veragon & ThinAir Partnership (London, United Kingdom) - Led by Laura Dean, the team have developed a partnership with the key objective of revolutionizing the capability of Atmospheric Water Generators to deliver high quality, mineralized drinking water at the point of need, in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
The Water Abundance XPRIZE finalists were chosen from a field of 98 teams by an international and independent judging panel of seven industry experts in mechanical engineering, water treatment, ocean energy, strategic design and emerging technologies. Judges include: Mike Claerhout, RGL Reservoir Management; Nicholas Davis, World Economic Forum; David Ginley, Ph.D., National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Eric Hoek, Ph.D., Water Planet; David Ireland, Ph.D., ThinkPlace; Purnima Jalihal, Ph.D., National Institute of Ocean Technology, India; and Matthew Stuber, Ph.D., University of Connecticut and WaterFX.
The finalists will begin round 2 testing in July 2018 at a location to be determined. During this phase, teams must fully demonstrate that their device can extract a minimum of 2,000 liters of water per day from the atmosphere using 100 percent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than two cents per liter. At the end of this testing phase, the team whose solution enables the greatest ability to create decentralized access to water - giving people the power to access fresh water whenever and wherever they need it - will receive the Grand Prize of $1.5 million, to be announced in August 2018.
XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances— igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org.
About AUSTRALIAN AID – DFAT – INNOVATIONXCHANGE
In 2015, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s innovationXchange (iXc) was launched by Foreign Minister Julie Bishop to deliver valuable outcomes for Australia’s aid program through the testing and piloting of new technologies, methodologies, and partnerships. The iXc ensures the lessons learned from these approaches are shared to support current and planned DFAT programs and shape regional and global forums on development innovation as well as to support innovative approaches across the department’s work.
About TATA GROUP
Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, the Tata Group is a global enterprise, headquartered in India, comprising over 100 independent operating companies. The group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities they serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’. There are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises with a combined market capitalization of about $116 billion (as of March 31, 2016). Tata companies with significant scale include Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communication and Indian Hotels.
For more information, please visit: http://www.tata.com/