Patrick Administration Announces Three Grant Awards for Water Innovation

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Grants will help develop septic system, filtration and condensation technologies
Jun 19, 2013 –

At the Symposium on Water Innovation in Massachusetts (SWIM), Massachusetts energy officials today announced three grant awards valued at $150,000 to aid in the advancement of water innovation technology in the Commonwealth.

“We invest in education, innovation and infrastructure because that's how we grow jobs and leave a stronger Commonwealth for the next generation,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “With that same focus, we can build a water technology supercluster, with the jobs and improved quality of life that come with it." 

“These grants will help bring innovation to the marketplace, creating jobs and positioning Massachusetts as a hub for investments in advanced water technology,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) Secretary Rick Sullivan.

The SWIM brought together over 120 firms in the water innovation field to discuss growing the $500 billion global industry here in Massachusetts. The three grants are being awarded under programs funded by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC).

“Massachusetts is known around the world for its academic research, its skilled workforce and its technological application of bold and innovative ideas,” said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “By bringing these groups together, we can position the Commonwealth as a leader in tackling these pressing global issues.”

In partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the NECEC Institute, MassCEC awarded up to $70,000 to Applied Environmental Technology for a demonstration project that will test wastewater treatment technologies at the Massachusetts Alternative Septic System Test Center in Barnstable. The funding came from MassCEC’s InnovateMass program, which provides grants to technology teams to test and showcase early-stage technologies in preparation for commercialization and sales into the marketplace.

The Applied Environmental Technology project is aimed at developing an effective and affordable septic system retrofit option for homeowners, particularly those in areas like Cape Cod, where the heavy use of septic systems leads to an over-abundance of nutrients in ground water.

"In partnership with MassCEC's InnovateMass program, NECEC Institute is providing an award to Applied Environmental Technology to support the demonstration and performance measurement of waste water technologies at the Mass Alternative Septic System Test Center," said Peter Rothstein, President of NECEC Institute and the New England Clean Energy Council (NECEC). “Together, MassCEC and NECEC Institute worked closely with the U.S. EPA to identify a pressing regional water challenge that can be addressed with innovative and commercially viable solutions. This shows what can be accomplished by bringing the private and public sectors together to accelerate innovation and growth in this dynamic sector."

MassCEC in partnership with the Massachusetts Technology Transfer Center (MTTC) awarded two projects each with $40,000 as part MassCEC’s Catalyst Program, which is administered by MTTC. The Catalyst Program aims to assist in the commercialization of new clean energy technologies from Massachusetts’ startup companies or being spun out our world-class research institutions.

Receiving the $40,000 grants under the Catalyst program are:

  • Latika Menon, a researcher at Northeastern University, investigating an advanced filtration material that could potentially separate water from oil and other complex solutions.
  • NBD Nanotechnologies, Inc., a startup led by Miguel Galvez and Joanna Wong of Boston University working on enhanced condensation technology for HVAC, heat exchangers, power plants, desalination plants and dehumidifiers.

“These small grants are very important in moving a technology from the idea stage to having a prototype that shows that the technology works, this type of funding is exceedingly important in supporting commercialization in the Commonwealth,” said Abigail Barrow, director of the MTTC.

Massachusetts is a leading U.S. destination for water innovation with billion-dollar companies working in water technology and engineering, world-class research and graduate degree programs, a healthy venture capital sector and a dynamic innovation ecosystem. Massachusetts is home to nearly 300 water industry companies, organizations and institutions working to solve the world’s water challenges. The two main water challenges facing Massachusetts are an aging infrastructure and nutrient loading as a result of the wide use of septic systems in coastal communities like Cape Cod. In 2012, Massachusetts was home to the most Small Business and Innovation Research (SBIR) grants per capita at 15 and the most Water Innovation Patents per capita in the country at nearly 120.