Water and energy work together in almost every form of energy production to provide our cities and towns with the resources we need. Energy generation is one of the largest consumers of water. The water-energy nexus is the relationship between how much water is used to generate and transmit energy, and how much energy is needed to pump, collect, convey, treat and store water. This relationship is of growing importance to communities, municipalities and governments across the world.

New England is home to one of the most diversified and innovative water technology industries in the world. Massachusetts possesses strong potential to bring world-class water technology innovations and brainpower to U.S. and global markets with our universities, technology & engineering companies, investors, foundations, industrial water users, and leading municipal water utilities.

This program is designed to encourage the development of innovative wastewater treatment technologies that reduce electricity consumption, cut energy costs for communities and/or improve the treatment process.

While the selected projects under this program are ongoing, the program is not currently accepting new applications. For program information, please visit the program webpage. To be notified about future funding opportunities under this program, sign up for email alerts here.

Massachusetts is well positioned to establish a strong and robust network of Demonstration Centers for the piloting of new water technologies as part of a strategy to become a global leader in the water innovation and energy efficiency sector.

The Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) commissioned Woodard & Curran to evaluate the feasibility of developing a network of Water Technology Demonstration Centers in Massachusetts. Woodard & Curran assessed the physical condition of each site (electrical, mechanical, structural, etc.) and developed gross estimates of the capital costs needed for facility rehabilitation to support water industry demonstration efforts. Working from a basis of design, these studies developed potential revenue projections and provided options for sustainable business models from the water technology community.


For Download: Final Feasibility Studies Report (422 pgs.)

For Download: Ex. Summary and Overview only (18 pgs.)


Three sites that were studied:

Massachusetts Alternative Septic Testing Center (Buzzards Bay, MA)

UMass Amherst Wastewater Pilot Plant (Amherst, MA)

Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Deer Island Pilot Plant (Winthrop, MA)


Water Technology Demonstration Centers in Massachusetts will:

  • Attract new companies and researchers to the Commonwealth
  • Advance new solutions to local water and wastewater challenges
  • Provide critical infrastructure for innovative technology acceleration
  • Serve existing Massachusetts-based water technology companies
  • Signal to the market that Massachusetts will lead on water tech


Feasibility Studies Scope of Work

For new water technologies to enter the market successfully, they must be thoroughly tested at a near-commercial scale to give tech developers and water system operators credible and externally validated data. A successful Water Technology Demonstration Center network would benefit Massachusetts-based water technology companies while also attracting companies to Massachusetts for demonstration purposes, and encourage innovation across all fields.


  • Water technology test beds and demonstration sites
  • Specific water technology demonstrations
  • Streamlined technology and commercialization readiness activities
  • Site surveys and conditions assessments
  • Stakeholder engagement and competitive landscape
  • Network potential across sites
  • Needs assessment
  • Cost estimates
  • Facility business model
  • Develop next steps

MassCEC offers a variety of funding opportunities that can support the development, demonstration and commercialization of innovative water technologies depending on the technological readiness of the project. These include:

  • Catalyst: This program provides grants to researchers and early-stage companies looking to demonstrate the feasibility of their clean energy technologies and obtain increased industry and investor interest. 

  • InnovateMass: This program addresses the widely recognized funding gap between early- and late-stage clean energy companies by demonstrating the commercial readiness of innovative technologies at paired demonstration sites. 

  • AmplifyMass: This program funds projects pursuing cost share or adders for a federal/non-federal prime award (such as awards from ARPA-E, NSF, DOE, USABC) and other projects that further MassCEC’s mission. This program accepts applications on a rolling basis.

  • Investments: MassCEC makes direct equity and venture debt investments in Massachusetts-based clean energy companies. Equity investments average approximately $500,000 in a Seed, Series A, or Series B financing round, with venture debt investments of $100,000 to $1 million to help Massachusetts-based cleantech companies grow, reach key milestones, and create jobs. 

  • Clean Energy Internship: This program helps prepare the next generation of clean energy workers by funding internships for students and recent graduates at Massachusetts clean energy companies. 

  • Seed Investments: This program supports companies as they advance and commercialize clean energy technologies and business models. It is a two-stage investment program that provides up to $150,000 in convertible notes to clean energy graduates of approved accelerator programs.

Upper Blackstone Water Pollution Abatement District (UBWPAD)

UBWPAD is a water treatment plant in Milbury, MA. This project was undertaken to evaluate the impact of using the flue gas generated through the sludge incineration process at Upper Blackstone to support algae production for downstream markets; the project also successfully aimed to treat wastewater by leveraging algae’s ability to metabolize and capture nutrients. For more information, please see the final project report.

Figure 2: Bank 1: Photobio-control-reactor using CO2; Bank2: Photobio-pilot-reactor using flue gas.


Town of Amherst Water Filtration System

This project was conducted to evaluate the benefits of using an advanced ultrafiltration technology for the Town of Amherst’s wastewater treatment facility and its water reuse program. Clean Membranes, a Massachusetts-based water treatment equipment company, received a $149,987.93 grant from MassCEC’s Wastewater Treatment Pilot Program. The grant funded a partnership with the Town of Amherst to pilot an innovative approach to reclaiming and cleaning wastewater on the UMass Amherst campus. For more information, please visit the project’s success story page and final project report.


Town of Plymouth Municipal Airport (PMA) Facultative Membrane Bioreactor (FMBR)

The facultative membrane bioreactor (FMBR) is a low energy membrane biological wastewater treatment process that removes carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus simultaneously in a single reactor under low DO facultative environment. It replaces the complex reactors in a series of traditional BNR processes with a single reactor. It can be installed on site without a dewatering system and the investment in a long sewer pipeline. Read the full final project report here.

To learn more, watch this video with Chad Whiting at the Plymouth Airport:


Town of Montague Anaerobic Side-Stream Reactor (ASSR)

The Town of Montague partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst to demonstrate the ASSR process to effectively treat wastewater while reducing waste activated sludge production. The ASSR pilot achieved >90% Chemical Oxygen Demand removal, >90% Total Suspended Solids removal, and produced 60% less sludge than the current full-scale system. For more information, read the final report.


Town of Tisbury NitROE Wastewater Treatment System

The Town of Tisbury partnered with KleanTu LLC to demonstrate the NitROE Wastewater Treatment System. This technology is placed between the Title 5 septic tank and the Title 5 soil absorption system. The project verified the technology's ability to provide a highly treated effluent low in total nitrogen (less than 10 mg/l as N on average) at a very economical cost (around $150/lb). For more information, read the final report


Town of Amherst Ceramic Ultra-Filtration Membrane Filtration

The Town of Amherst partnered with UMass Amherst, Nanostone Water, and Peroxygen Systems to pilot the effects of using a novel ceramic ultra-filtration membrane on the filtration of secondary effluent for a downstream reverse osmosis process. For more information, read the final report or the final presentation.


City of Pittsfield Microbial Fuel Cell Technology Pilot

The City of Pittsfield partnered with MICROrganic Technologies to pilot its bio-electrochemical systems for energy-positive secondary wastewater treatment (microbial fuel cell). For more information, read the final report or the brochure.


City of Westfield Ammonia-Based Aeration Control Pilot Test

The City of Westfield partnered with Woodard and Curran to pilot ammonia-based aeration control. ABAC has the potential to reduce the overall quantity of air delivered, thereby saving energy. Aeration energy reduction averaged 15% and dissolved oxygen concentrations averaged closer to 1.4 mg/L in ABAC mode versus 2 mg/L during DO-control mode baseline. For more information, read the final report or the presentation.


City of Haverhill APOLLO AI Platform

The City of Haverhill partnered with Aquasight to pilot a real-time Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to analyze and optimize all of the major treatment processes at the plant. The project demonstrated annual energy savings of 605,000kWh and 24 less truck loads of sludge transportation. For more information, read the final report or case study.


Town of Hull APOLLO AI Platform

The Town of Hull also partnered with Aquasight to pilot the APOLLO AI platform. With the addition of Woodard and Curran, this project not only focused on energy savings but also focused on coastal concerns such as nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus. For more information, read the final report or the case study.


Town of Palmer Blower Control Using In-Line Ammonium and Nitrate Probes

The Town of Palmer partnered with CleanWaterOps to pilot combination sensors for ammonium and nitrate (Hach) in each of Palmer's two in-service aeration tanks. The pilot had two objectives: energy savings and total nitrogen removal. While it did not save energy, it saw significant improvements in nitrogen removal. For more information, read the final report.


Town of Plymouth Biological Nutrient Removal (BNR) Process

The Town of Plymouth partnered with Kleinfelder to optimize the existing plant's BNR process by utilizing on-line sensors to continuously monitor the mixed liquor water quality and manually adjust the aeration control accordingly in order to reduce effluent total nitrogen and provide annual energy savings. Pilot data showed power savings of approximately 28%. For more information, read the final report or the case study

  • 2015 Water Technology Industry Roadmap: MassCEC, in collaboration with Battelle Memorial Institute and Redwood Innovation Partners, published this roadmap to describe the rapidly developing Water Technology Industry in Massachusetts, and identify strategies to increase the impact of this industry on the Massachusetts economy. 

  • World Health Organization Water Page: This webpage contains general information, fact sheets, statistics, and publications on the impact of water on global health.

  • United Nations Water Page: The United Nations inter-agency mechanism on all freshwater related issues, including sanitation.

  • World Water Day: Celebrated annually on March 22nd, this day is about taking action to tackle the water crisis.There are over 663 million people living without a safe water supply close to home, spending countless hours queuing or trekking to distant sources, and coping with the health impacts of using contaminated water (WHO World Water Day.) 

  • MIT Water Club:  This is a premier network for water research and innovation at MIT, with the mission of bringing together individuals to explore ways by which research, innovation, and policy can help solve the most pressing challenges in the water sector.

  • Bluefield Research: This independent advisory firm helps companies and organizations address the regulatory, technology, business, and competitive trends impacting water. The website contains reports on industry trends and issues.

  • BlueTech Research - Water Technology Market Research (Innovation, patent and deal flow trackers).

  • Circle of Blue: A nonprofit organization that covers global water news, including supply shortages and contaminations, flooding crises, policymaking, and global trends

  • Brown and Caldwell Water News: Free national water industry news from the nation's newspapers, magazines, and research publications 

  • Water Online: Free technical information and thought leadership for the drinking water and wastewater treatment community

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