The EIT Community Water Scarcity - led by EIT Food in collaboration with EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Digital, EIT Manufacturing, Athena Research Center, Bioazul and TU Delft - celebrated its final InnoWise Scale pitching competitions showcasing innovative solutions to tackle water scarcity. In total, 14 companies from all across Europe have been awarded with economic prizes, , 5 of which have been selected for a special prize which will allow them to test their solutions with final users.
These end users are representative for different sectors, and have provided their water-related challenges as case studies for the competition: the Spanish companies Ence Energía y Celulosa (paper industry), Cadagua (water infrastructure) y Familia Torres (wine maker), and the Greek entities DEYAPH (water utility) and the Municipality on Nisyros. In total, 5 case studies for 35 solution providers from 15 different countries.
Five events were held between the 22nd and the 30th of november, under the title ‘Road to 2030: Future circular water-cycle perspectives’. During the events, the companies pitched their solutios to tackle challenges such as access to alternative water sources or optimization of water management, and to opt for several prizes: 1st prize of 12,000 euros and a 2nd prize of 10,000 euros to scale up their business, selected by an external jury. Additionally, the companies that better met the needs of the problem holder were awarded a Special Prize of 30,000 euros, by the EIT, to test their solution with the end users.
In the first InnoWise Scale pitching session, the Spanish multinacional ENCE | Energía y Celulosa, European leader on the pulp and paper industries, proposed challenges related to decentralised water treatment and the access to alternative water sources to reduce their fresh water consumption. The Sepanish company GenaQ was awarded with the second prize, with their atmospheric water generators, while the first prize was awarded to Demand Side Instuments (France), who presented a IoT solution for water resource management in fields. Finally, the the finish company Sofi Filtration, who presenting their innovative solution for water filtration for the transformation of wastewater into a resource, has been awarded with the Special Prize and will be able to pilot their solution an ENCE´s facility in 2023.
During the second session, The Greek Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Company of Pylaia – Hortiati (DEYAPH) who is responsible for water supply, wastewater treatment and sewerage services in the greatest Thessaloniki area, presented the challenges they face regarding water sustainability, preservation of water resources, water loss minimization and water safety in the water network. In this case, the French company Watershed Monitoring was awarded with the second prize, with their solution able to monitor and predict algae-blooms in the reservoirs and distribution networks. The first prize was given to also a French company, Aegir, who resented the first BIM plug-in for 3D flow simulation to make risk assessment and create mitigation strategy at large and small scale for industrials and utility companies. Last but not least, SpaceCrops (Hungary), an agricultural software company that forecasts soil water needs in the farms, was selected by DEYAPH to impement a pilot for a weather forecast platform according to the utility's needs.
During the 3rd pitching competition, The Spanish winery Familia Torres, a family-owned business funded in 1870 in Penedès (Spain), presented challenges related to the need to reduce the high conductivity of their water and nutrients' recovery from wastewater among others. In this case, the juries selected two winners for the second prize: Algaementum, from Portugal, that offers microalgae-based water treatment solution, and Saba Technology, from Italy, with their water-from-air technology Easy Drop. Green Independence (Italy), a promising startup offering descentralised water purification system that can be coupled with green hydrogen production, was awarded with the first prize. The winner of the Special Prize, who will bepiloting their solution in the facilities of Familia Torres in Pacs del Penedès (Catonia, Spain) is EzPack Water (Israel). They offer an off-grid desalination system, with extremely low energy consumption.
The Municipality of Nisyros, responsible for water supply, wastewater treatment and sewerage services in the Greek island of Nisyros presented its challenges during the forth InnoWise Scale pitching competition. Some of their main challenges are related to water sustainability, wastewater management, and access to alternative water sources. In this particular case, the juries selected Agua de Sol (France) for the second prize, who was also awarded with the Special Prize to test their SunAir Fountain,to produce fresh water, locally, thanks to a smart physical process using atmospheric humidity and the solar heat. The Duch company SolarDew, who has developed a novel solar desalination system for the production of high quality drinking water for households, communities and small scale industrial, agricultural or horticultural applications was awarded with the first prize.
Finally, in the fith and last session of the InnoWise Scale pitching series, Cadagua, Spanish company of the Ferrovial group leader in water treatment plats, presented the challenges they face to manage small plants located in remote areas. During the InnoWise Scale competition they were looking for solutions that could allow them to manage several plants remotely by the same manager without the need to travel to each plant daily by means of digital tools. In this last competition, the jury selected the Irish company Biowave Technologies, thanks to their innovative pre-treatment solution to increase the yield of biogas production from wastewater, for the second prize. Sensfix (Poland), who offers a digital solution based in artificial intelligence to automate the maintain of any asset, has been awarded with the first and the Special prizes.
About the InnoWise Scale programme
The programme Innowise Scale focus on finding innovative solutions to reverse water scarcity, changing from water misuse and pollution to reduce, reuse and non-use of water. Moreover, it accelerates the uptake of solutions by providing water innovators with tailored mentoring, trainings, and networking opportunities with end users to co-create solutions in real problems.
During a networking event organised the past 5th and 6th of October 2022 in Bilbao (Spain), five entities provided real cases studies on water-related challenges to be addressed. These entities were ENCE Celulosa y Energía, Familia Torres and Cadagua from Spain, and DEYAPH and the Municipality of Nisyros from Greece, and had the opportunity to explore collaboration with the 35 solution providers, selected to the 3rd edition Innowise Scale programme.
After the matchmaking event, the 35 companies were divided in five InnoWise Scale pitching competition groups. During the events, the companies pitched their solution to specific case studies, with the possibility of been awarded with equity-free cash prizes of up to 12,000€ based on the uniqueness and replicability of their innovations, and 30,000€ of special prize as a voucher to implement a demo study with one of the problem holders.
InnoWise Scale is part of the EIT Community Water Scarcity, led by EIT Food in collaboration with Climate-KIC, EIT Digital, EIT Manufacturing, Athena Research Centre, Bioazul and TuDelft, is designed to alleviate water scarcity in Southern Europe. They work together considering water scarcity as a thematic field from agrifood to manufacturing. The main objective of this initiative is to ease the transition to a water saving economy and to contribute, in the long run, to reduce Europe’s water consumption, wastage and pollution.