Innowise Scale awards 14 innovators proposing solutions to tackle water scarcity

The EIT Community Water Scarcity, supported by EIT Digital, awarded 14 companies for their solutions to tackle water scarcity in Southern Europe during the InnoWise Scale pitching competitions.

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 across Europe have been awarded with economic prizes, and five of them have been selected for a special prize which will allow them to test their solutions with final users.

These end users represent different sectors and provided their water-related challenges as case studies for the competition: the Spanish companies Ence Energía y Celulosa (paper industry), Cadagua (water infrastructure), Familia Torres (wine maker), and the Greek entities DEYAPH (water utility) and the Municipality on Nisyros. In total, five case studies for 35 solution providers from 15 different countries.

Under the title ‘Road to 2030: Future circular water-cycle perspectives’ five events were held between 22nd and 30th of November 2022. During the events, the companies pitched their solutions 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 by the EIT a Special Prize of 30,000 euros to test their solution with the end users.

In the first InnoWise Scale pitching session, the Spanish multinational 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 Spanish company GenaQ was awarded with the second prize, with their atmospheric water generators, while the first prize was awarded to Demand Side Instruments (France), who presented a IoT solution for water resource management in fields. Finally, Sofi Filtration from Finland, 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 at an ENCE 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 greater 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. Also the first prize went to a French company, Aegir, who presented the first BIM plug-in for 3D flow simulation to make risk assessments and create mitigation strategies at large and small scale for industrials and utility companies. Last but not least, SpaceCrops from Hungary, an agricultural software company that forecasts soil water needs in farms, was selected by DEYAPH to implement 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, 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, offers microalgae-based water treatment solutions, and Saba Technology, from Italy, offers their water-from-air technology Easy Drop. Green Independence from Italy, a promising start-up offering a decentralised 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 be piloting their solution in the facilities of Familia Torres in Pacs del Penedès (Catalonia, Spain) is EzPack Water from 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 on the Greek island of Nisyros, presented its challenges during the fourth 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 locally produce fresh water with the help of a smart physical process using atmospheric humidity and solar heat. Dutch 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 fifth and last session of the InnoWise Scale pitching series, Spanish company Cadagua, part of the Ferrovial group and leader in water treatment plants, 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 with digital tools by the same manager without the need to travel daily to each plant. In this last competition, the jury selected for the second prize the Irish company Biowave Technologies for their innovative pre-treatment solution to increase the yield of biogas production from wastewater. Sensfix (Poland), who offers a digital solution based on artificial intelligence to automate the maintenance of any asset, has been awarded with the first and the Special prizes.

Are you interested in joining up with EIT Digital for pan-European or national proposals in the area of digital tech innovation, entrepreneurship or education? Reach out to discuss options and benefits of a partnership!

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