GWI Names Water Investment Idol Winner

Global Water Intelligence recently announced the winner of its Water Investment Idol in Washington D.C.

Five technology companies were shortlisted and invited to present their new technologies to the 200-strong audience and a panel of five judges. The competition was chaired by Steve Maxwell, CEO of TechKNOWLEDGEy Strategic Group, and the judges were Jeff Garwood, industry consultant and former CEO of GE Water, David Gray of Credit Suisse and Dan McCarthy of Black & Veatch Water.

Following questioning of the candidates by the panel, the audience was asked to cast their votes based on this consideration:- "If this was your money, which of the following would you invest in?"

Puralytics' new photochemical water purification process uses an LED activated nanotechnology coating to destroy organic contaminants such as pesticides, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals. It also provides complete sterilization of bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, and rapid removal of heavy metals. Environmentally, the Puralytics process features 100 percent water recovery, no added chemicals, no cleaning or backflushing, and low energy use. The Shield 500 system is now available for light industrial process and product water applications, and the sunlight activated SolarBag for remote drinking water in developing world and recreational applications. Presented by Mark Owen, founder and CEO.

BlackGold Biofuels' first product is a patented system to convert fats, oils, and greases from the sewers into biodiesel. The product's value proposition is due to the refining margin of converting a negative-cost raw material into a premium commodity; it also claims substantial operations, maintenance, and infrastructure cost-savings for the water utility. Its $2B U.S. target market is comprised of public and private utilities and private grease haulers. Following market penetration with the waste-to-fuel technology, BlackGold will execute a roll up of other wastewater resource recovery technologies. BlackGold sold its first system to the City of San Francisco in 2009 as a sole-source vendor. Presented by Emily Landsburg, CEO.

Onda Via Inc's technology aims to revolutionize the way people test for contaminants in water via a microfluidics-based platform that will allow portable, real-time monitoring of water samples. This new approach will allow scientists and other technicians to detect a wide range of organic compounds and heavy metals in the field or laboratory using a handheld instrument with a single-use cartridge. This will dramatically increase the testing convenience and minimize turn-around time for those that regulate, produce and monitor water. Presented by Mark Peterman, CEO.

Quantaic Corporation is an early stage water technology company. It employs a recently patented thermal desalination platform, which works at ambient temperatures (50-70 F), or with waste heat, to separate and recover valuable clean water from oil and gas well site production processes, creating fresh water assets at the same time as treating the industry's largest waste liability - produced water. Presented by J. Mark Arnold, co-founder and CFO.

Micromidas is a biotechnology company, located in West Sacramento, that applies several microbial phenomena to transform the carbon in organic wastewater sludge into polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), a family of high-performance biodegradable plastics. Using naturally occurring microorganisms, Micromidas has created a biological population capable of producing high yields of PHA and digesting a wide variety of carbon sources. It uses primary and waste activated municipal sludge as a feedstock, thereby tapping into a readily available, renewable, and negative-cost feedstock. The process consumes carbon and other nutrients from the waste stream, decreasing the amount of material that would have to undergo costly processes such as incineration or chemical treatment. Presented by John Bissell, CEO.

The audience put its money on Puralytics with 28 percent of the vote. In rank order after Puralytics was BlackGold Biofuels (21 percent), Quantaic Corp. (20 percent), Onda Via Inc. (16 percent) and Micromidas (15 percent).