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Imagine H2O Announces 2024 Startup Accelerator Cohort Addressing Water’s Biggest Challenges with Advanced Technologies

Artificial intelligence, decarbonization, IoT networks, novel treatment technologies, and other water novel solutions featured in Imagine H2O’s 2024 Accelerator Cohort.

Imagine H2O, a global nonprofit supporting entrepreneurial water solutions, announced its 2024 Accelerator cohort today. Chosen from a highly competitive pool of about 400 entrepreneurs, the 10 startups selected are addressing climate change, equity, health, and resource efficiency in water.

Imagine H2O’s selection process brought together a committee of 75 technical experts, utility leaders, corporate executives, and investors. Committee members evaluated each startup’s business model, technology, team, impact potential, market focus and other commercial viability indicators.

“This cohort represents Imagine H2O’s impact priorities and global reach as well as technologies and solutions gaining significant market interest. Communities, ecosystems, utilities, and businesses alike stand to benefit from the solutions in this year’s cohort.”

Scott Bryan, President Imagine H2O

The Accelerator’s 8-month program provides companies with startup development, ecosystem access, and marketing and visibility through curriculum and access to the organization’s network of mentors, end-users, and investors. Beyond the Accelerator, startups continue to benefit from the organization’s Portfolio initiative and access to Imagine H2O’s other programs and pilot funding resources.  

Imagine H2O will convene the cohort at its Startup Summit in San Francisco next month. These startups will also be featured during Imagine H2O’s virtual Demo Day this summer and in-person at major industry conferences and investor events.  

CANN Forecast: AI-Powered urban wastewater flow prediction

Montreal, Canada

Problem: Sewer backups are responsible for over 50% of flood claims and are a priority concern for 860 US municipalities. As climate change leads to more extreme rain events, this number is expected to increase rapidly. 

Solution: CANN Forecast utilizes artificial intelligence and real-time data analytics to predict sewer wastewater levels based on past floods, providing early warnings for potential flooding risks and helping cities to safeguard people, buildings, and the environment. 

Impact: With CANN, cities can protect millions of liters of water from contamination and save in damages and operational costs. When tested in operational mode, their technology proved to be superior to leading market hydraulic models in accurately predicting wastewater flow during significant flooding events.

Capta Hydro: Recovering freshwater by improving surface water distribution efficiency 

Santiago, Chile

Problem: 75% of global freshwater withdrawals come from surface water, fueling agriculture, industry, and municipalities. Many surface water distribution networks operate between 35% and 90% efficiency, presenting a critical opportunity to boost water security, especially in stressed basins. 

Solution: Capta Hydro’s specialized hardware and software solutions empower infrastructure managers with better tools to capture, analyze, and manage surface water data – leading to improved water distribution management and millions of cubic meters of water reclaimed. 

Impact: By enhancing basin-wide water security, Capta Hydro helps cities and companies to reach their water stewardship and replenishment goals, improve ecosystem flows and increase availability of drinking water. 

CREW Carbon: Empowering wastewater facilities as climate hubs 

New Haven, CT, USA

Problem: Wastewater utilities account for 2-5% of global GHG emissions, and this number is set to double by 2040. Despite this significant environmental impact, efforts to mitigate emissions during the wastewater treatment process remain insufficient. In the US alone, over 16,000 wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) process 34 billion gallons per day, including industrial wastewater, resulting in substantial CO2 emissions.

Solution: CREW Carbon’s patented hardware and sensor technology speeds up naturally-occurring weathering reactions to remove CO2 and other greenhouse gasses produced in the wastewater treatment process, generating permanent and measurable carbon removal credits. 

Impact: Integrating CREW’s approach enhances WWTPs’ biological treatment while drastically reducing carbon footprints. CREW’s method removes thousands of tons of CO2 per site per year, yielding valuable carbon removal credits valued at hundreds of dollars per ton for esteemed buyers such as Stripe, Microsoft, and JP Morgan.

FTD solutions: Digital transformation tools to achieve water conservation goals

Colorado Springs, CO, USA

Problem: Up to 70% of industrial water use could be decreased through recycling and reuse, but industrial facilities currently use inefficient and outdated decision-making tools – making it challenging to meet ESG goals. 

Solution: FTD solutions is revolutionizing industrial water management through their patented algorithm and customizable platform that visualizes and standardizes water systems data while empowering multi-site enterprises to develop, implement, and monitor water conservation solutions. 

Impact: FTD solutions is helping companies meet their ESG goals through ensuring regulatory compliance, enhancing infrastructure utilities, and boosting resource efficiency. In partnership with FTD solutions, one company was able to conserve 9 billion gallons of water, yielding $60 million in savings with projected $140 million in cost savings the following year. 

OceanWell: Desalination redefined

Menlo Park, CA, USA

Problem: By 2050, water scarcity driven by population growth and climate change will impact over half the world’s population. Desalination is necessary to meet demand, but traditional methods are both costly and harmful to the environment. 

Solution: OceanWell’s modular subsea water farm technology harnesses hydrostatic ocean pressure at depths exceeding 400m to naturally power a reverse osmosis process, producing fresh water with improved energy efficiency, no onshore plants, and a benign brine outfall. 

Impact: OceanWell drastically improves every step of the desalination process, reducing the cost of water for communities and customers and providing reliable fresh water irrespective of weather patterns altered by climate change. In the next decade, OceanWell aims to contribute at least 1 million acre-feet (AF) of affordable, abundant, and environmentally sustainable fresh water to the global supply.

Open Hydro: Unveiling hidden emissions to decarbonize water

London, UK

Problem: Water utilities are struggling to achieve their net-zero targets due to undisclosed emissions from reservoirs, which are estimated to produce 1B tonnes of emissions every year. Despite this significant ecological impact, the lack of accurate emission monitoring technologies hampers the implementation of reduction strategies.

Solution: Powered by AI and satellite data, Open Hydro aids utilities in achieving their net-zero targets by monitoring the impact of nature-based solutions on reservoir emissions. This technology establishes a direct correlation between improvements and emissions reduction, thereby driving tangible advancements in sustainability efforts.

Impact: By bridging the gap between water quality and emissions, Open Hydro helps utilities enhance water resource quality, cut costs linked to emissions, and uplift communities reliant on freshwater resources. With the capacity to impact over 60,000 reservoirs worldwide, Open Hydro empowers accurate measurement and reduction of over 1Gt of emissions annually. 

SampleServe: Streamlining environmental sampling and reporting

Traverse City, MI, USA

Problem: Handwritten, paper-based environmental sample collections are outdated and inefficient, but represent over 99% of the 150-million samples collected annually. 

Solution: SampleServe’s digital platform streamlines workflows for all stakeholders – from field technicians to corporate environmental managers – yielding substantial time and cost savings. Through optimized scheduling, chain-of-custody, data management, and reporting, their platform ties all users and data into a central database, allowing for the generation of actionable reports in seconds. 

Impact: SampleServe’s technology saves users an average of 40% to 60% in project management time and expenses while minimizing manual labor and error margins. The efficiencies created in their sampling system are crucial to identifying and addressing environmental hazards that could affect public health. 

Subeca: Making water tech simple

Dallas, TX, USA

Problem: Small and mid-sized utilities provide clean water to about 45% of the United States, but more than 47,000 of them are unable to access advanced technology due to cost constraints, complexity, and availability of resources, thus limiting their options to improve operational efficiencies and extend the life of aging assets.

Solution: Subeca’s simple-to-use IoT solution provides real-time monitoring and data analytics capabilities, empowering utilities to collect and analyze data from diverse sources, thereby improving water consumption management, operational management, and regulatory compliance.

Impact: Subeca helps utilities and water companies achieve 30-70% cost savings and enables over 500B gallons of non-revenue water savings annually in the United States. Their easy-to-deploy solution and business model is currently being deployed and assessed by 18 utilities in 9 states.

WASE: Unlocking the power of wastewater

Bristol, England

Problem: 80% of wastewater is untreated as it enters our environment, with food and beverage manufacturers, in particular, generating high volumes of wastewater with high organic content. Treating this wastewater and safely discharging or reusing it can be time-consuming and energy intensive. 

Solution: WASE’s patent-pending electro-methanogenic reactor technology treats wastewater and sludge on-site and generates energy-dense biogas as a byproduct. 

Impact: WASE is pioneering the future of Waste-to-Energy starting with mid-sized food and beverage manufacturers. At the Hepworth Brewery, which generates volumes of wastewater similar to industrial manufacturers, WASE is treating 17m3/day of wastewater and generating over >500MWh/yr of renewable energy to power the brewery. The initiative is estimated to save 100 tonnes of CO2e annually through multiple benefits.

Wonderkid: Accelerating access to improved WASH services 

Nairobi, Kenya

Problem: Safe water and sanitation remain inaccessible to 61% of Africa’s population, with 56% of water utilities relying on analogous water and wastewater management methods. 

Solution: Wonderkid facilitates access to improved water and sanitation services for millions of Africans by connecting them with service providers and empowering the providers with innovative, affordable, digital tools for data-driven decision-making. 

Impact: Wonderkid’s solution improves operational efficiency and reduces non-revenue water to increase customer satisfaction by 25%. They are currently partnering with 30 utilities in 4 countries to achieve 20% average revenue growth, empowering over 9,000,000 users.