Technologies for water conservation and treatment move closer to commercialisation

The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) extends Solutions Grants to MIT researchers to support the commercial launch of products and companies providing innovative technologies for water and food systems.

2023 J-WAFS Solutions Grantees are professor C. Cem Tasan of the department of science and engineering, and professor Andrew Whittle of the department of civil and environmental Engineering whose focus is on detrimental algal blooms, which threaten food systems.

Cem's project aims to reduce water use in steel manufacturing through an innovative process known as scrap metal consolidation (SMC), a steel recycling process that circumvent's liquid metal processing. The J-WAFS solutions grant will enable the development of customer product prototypes and a scale-up strategy.

Andrew's project focuses on harmful algal blooms (HABs), which threaten freshwater and saltwater worldwide, and impact drinking water, commercial fishing areas and desalination. Whittle and his colleagues designed REMORA, a cost-efficient, machine learning prototype spectrofluorometer for tracking induced fluorescence to estimate algae concentration. Whittle will collaborate with professor Fábio Duarte of the department of urban studies and planning to refine RMORA's design and develop software for autonomous operation of the technology's sensor, which could have applications for water-intensive industries, regulatory agencies and water utilities.

"With J-WAFS' support, we hope to see the teams move their technologies from the lab to the market, so they can have a beneficial impact on water use and water quality challenges," notes J-WAFS executive director, Renee Robins.

The J-WAFS Solutions Grant programme has provided renewable grants totalling more than USD 3 million since 2015, and matching grantees with mentors and potential investors. Previous grants under the programme have supported products and technologies including a portable desalination device and an innovative food safety sensor.

MIT News