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Introducing Imagine H2O Asia’s Fifth Cohort of Water Tech Startups

Eleven startups will participate in the Singapore-based water solutions accelerator to access market entry support and pilot funding across the region.

The UN recently reported that progress towards achieving universal access to water and sanitation is alarmingly off track. Climate disruption makes this even harder and communities across Asia will be disproportionately impacted. 

Imagine H2O Asia partners with promising entrepreneurs and their municipal and industrial customers to accelerate the adoption of solutions to this crisis. Eleven startups from seven countries were selected this year to join Cohort 5.

Companies will benefit from an expanded program to jumpstart access to new markets and funding. Highlights include engaging new in-country advisors in markets like Vietnam and the Philippines, showcasing at Singapore International Water Week 2024, and accessing co-financing and implementation support for pilots

Meet Cohort 5:

Expanding Drinking Water Access

Nearly 500 million people in Asia-Pacific lack basic drinking water access, and disparities in access between urban and rural areas are as high as 30% in some countries. 

Learn about the solutions helping improve piped and off-grid drinking water services: 

Bringing drinking water access to remote communities

Solar Water Solutions (Finland) provides safe drinking water to off-grid communities with its solar-powered water purification and desalination units. 

Its patented technology has demonstrated more than 80% OPEX savings in ongoing installations in Pacific Island communities, as compared to conventional diesel-powered desalination systems.  

Improving operational efficiencies in water utilities

SmartValve (United Kingdom) provides real-time guidance for utility field operators through a mobile application that manages manual assets in clean water networks and documents operational workflows. 

In the last seven years, SmartValve has helped its utility customers regulate transient pressure in the network, saving $1.9 million in water quality fines and $9.5 million in repairs from reduced pipe bursts.

Atera Water (Singapore) has developed the TeraStream filtration system, incorporating nanocomposite ultrafiltration membranes, targeting the treatment of high turbidity water without the need for chemical pretreatment and minimal sludge generation.

In ongoing field trials, their membranes are shown to perform in fluctuating conditions and high turbidities of up to 300NTU with an operational cost savings of 40% compared to traditional coagulation treatment systems.

Movements Inc. (South Korea) offers an end-to-end smart construction solution with its proprietary AR and digital twin for underground utilities management. 

By synthesizing real-time data from various stakeholders across a project’s lifecycle, Movements has helped municipal users in South Korea save more than 60% of 3D-modeling design costs compared to conventional BIM products and decrease construction time by 30%.

From left to right: Solar Water Solutions, SmartValve, Atera Water, Movements Inc.

Improving Water Quality

Nearly 3 billion people, mostly in emerging markets, are at risk of consuming polluted water due to a lack of capacity to monitor water quality. 

Learn about our innovators reducing pollution through wastewater treatment while also increasing visibility into water quality:

Improving operational efficiencies in wastewater treatment plants 

UrbanBlue Technologies (India) automates microbial sampling and analysis in wastewater management using robotics and AI to prevent operational delays and plant downtime. 

Pilots with industrial wastewater treatment plants have demonstrated up to 50% improvements in incident response time and up to 60% reduction in labor hours. 

Aquamonitrix (Ireland) provides in-situ sensing of nitrite and nitrate using rapid ion chromatography and UV detection to optimize aeration processes in municipal wastewater treatment. 

An improved understanding of nitrous oxide and nitrite has allowed utilities to not only reduce their energy consumption and costs through more streamlined aeration processes, but also lower the production of nitrous oxide – a highly potent greenhouse gas. 

N&E Innovations (Singapore) valorizes food waste into a natural anti-microbial agent that can potentially treat wastewater with lower sludge production. 

While N&E’s traction has primarily been in surface disinfection and sanitisation, early trials have been conducted to explore the material’s efficacy in wastewater treatment. 

Monitoring water quality in facilities and freshwater bodies 

NatureDots (India) provides real-time water quality monitoring of freshwater bodies and maps present and future risks to water health using digital twins.

To date, NatureDots has deployed with aquaculture farms in India to optimize fish production as well as with municipalities to support watershed reporting and planning.  

MIPS Innovations (Singapore) develops specialized water quality sensors based on their Molecularly Imprinted Polymer (MIP) coating technology that quantifies target analytes rapidly. 

Mining, solid waste companies, universities as well as government agencies have partnered with MIPS to detect heavy metals and biotoxins for both in-process and waste discharge monitoring. 

From left to right: Aquamonitrix, N&E Innovations, NatureDots, MIPS Innovations

Increasing Water Availability

Asia-Pacific has the highest rates of groundwater depletion and accounts for 60% of groundwater withdrawals globally. 

Learn how our innovators are helping governments and businesses comply with new groundwater regulations in the region through improved groundwater data collection:

Tracking changes in groundwater levels for farmers

Aumsat Technologies (India) uses earth imaging and satellite-based hydrological analysis to map groundwater zones, track shifts in groundwater levels and predict its water balance. 

Both farmer organizations and government agencies have worked with Aumsat to identify appropriate borewells for farmers as well as potential locations for water recharge infrastructure. Their solution pinpoints underground water more efficiently, cutting costs by 75%.

Monitoring industrial groundwater consumption in remote areas

Ontoto (Australia) monitors groundwater usage for businesses and governments using a cost-effective, cloud-based telemetry logger that transmits groundwater data via satellites. 

Significant traction has been gained working with industries and regulatory authorities to ensure reporting obligations on groundwater usage are met across Australia. Ontoto’s devices also help customers save 60% in costs when compared to manual sampling.

From left to right: Aumsat Technologies, Ontoto