Our series on “Pow! emPowering Opportunities in Water” examines the national search for burgeoning, sustainable water technologies. In part one of this three-part series, we take a look behind the scenes of the competition and how Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling LLC is emblematic of the winning companies.

Driven by a desire to highlight its leadership in water innovation to the public, environmental services conglomerate Veolia sought to establish a program that would elevate a truly useful, environmentally conscious, water-related concept into a polished and lucrative product.

By banding with two other forces, technology and entrepreneurial hub The Water Council and public-private investor the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Veolia created “Pow! emPowering Opportunities in Water.” The national competition launched last September and remained open to entries for two months. In February, the three winning technologies were announced.

They are Nano Gas Technologies, Inc., which has devised a highly efficient method for recycling and removing oil from produced water; Nutrient Recovery and Upcycling LLC (NRU), a phosphorus removal company; and WAVVE Stream Inc., offering a moldable hydrogel capable of removing specified contaminants.

Veolia will give each winner a $25,000 cash prize, a year of free office space in its Global Water Center in Milwaukee, as well as mentorship and access to its vast, overseas business network. The Water Council and WEDC will combine to give them each an additional $15,000 cash prize. The Water Council will also donate a $10,000 tuition to its business accelerator of water technology experts and mentors, plus provide business model and operations training. Finally, the winning companies will have access to faculty from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School for Freshwater Sciences, the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and Marquette University.

View the full story by Water Online