The XPRIZE Community helped design a prize competition for Infinity Water, sponsored by the Department of Education and Knowledge of the UAE. Click here for a summary of the prize design.

Join the community to be among the first to know when this prize is funded and launched.

About the Infinity Water Prize Design

XPRIZEXPRIZE Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 193 admin
Imagine a world where safe drinking water is universally accessible and the risk of exposure to contaminated wastewater is eliminated. Where reclaimed water is transformed on-site into potable water, facilitating the democratization of access to water. Where decentralized, efficient reclamation solves the water crisis and supports humans and ecosystems alike.

This will be the objective of the Infinity Water Prize. XPRIZE invites you to join our online community of experts to get involved in the design of this prize competition and ensure that we set goals for innovators that are both audacious and achievable.

The Challenge

Water is essential for human life, but it is one of the world’s leading killers. Less than two percent of the world’s water is fresh and available for human use. An even smaller portion of that two percent is uncontaminated at the source for human consumption, leaving 1 in 3 people without access to safe drinking water and over 3 million deaths per year due to water-related illnesses.

Resource scarcity and accessibility to freshwater represent significant obstacles to human interaction with the natural water cycle and are exacerbated by pollution that human output adds back into the system at large.

For the billions who experience clean water scarcity, climate change, population growth, and urbanization will act as multiplier effects, further diminishing access and further polluting natural resources.

The Infinity Water XPRIZE seeks to address these challenges by building a system that makes human interaction in the water cycle a net positive for individuals and for the planet.

The Goal

We are designing an XPRIZE that will incentivize the creation of community-scale and net-zero devices that optimize the safe and decentralized reclamation of water from the grid and natural water bodies, enabling water to be used affordably and potentially make a positive impact on the natural water systems.

The Prize Design will outline what the winning team must accomplish to be awarded the prize and define the parameters of the XPRIZE competition.

The desired impact of this prize will be to give communities all over the world access to affordable, safe, potable water while significantly reducing the environmental impact of water reclamation.

Your Role

Community members can share their knowledge and experiences, and influence the design of this XPRIZE competition.

The community will be invited to weigh in on various aspects of the Prize Design, from analyzing in detail the problems we want to solve to understanding why existing solutions fall short to advising on specific aspects of the competition, such as the timeline and conditions teams will need to meet to win.

What’s in it for you

We know your time is precious, and we appreciate your participation and input.

None of the other benefits below come close to the reward of knowing that you contributed to a truly transformative breakthrough.

We will regularly announce the most prolific community members to recognize their contributions. Participation allows you to:
  • Network with diverse stakeholders;
  • Brainstorm with top experts;
  • Promote your work;
  • Earn rewards, such as online gift cards.

XPRIZE team

This Prize Design is led by @TerryMulligan, @Caroline and @Eti. @NickOttens manages the online community.

About the Sponsor

Abu Dhabi's Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK) fosters the best education ecosystem to enable every learner in Abu Dhabi, from early childhood to higher education, to actively contribute and compete on a global stage. Through their various flagship programs, they ensure access to education, inclusivity in the education sector, and that education opportunities are aligned with Abu Dhabi's current and future needs to enable future-readiness.

Beyond higher education, ADEK along with its partners foster a world-class academic research ecosystem in Abu Dhabi through funding and policy initiatives to improve Abu Dhabi's competitiveness in the knowledge and innovation sector and allow the Emirate's best minds to contribute meaningfully to solving the world’s greatest challenges.

The Abu Dhabi Government has partnered with the XPRIZE Foundation through the first global partnership of the Ghadan 21 accelerator programme to engage a global community of innovators in a shared commitment to solving these challenges in areas of particular interest to Abu Dhabi and the world.

Need help?

If you have questions or need help, leave a comment here or contact the community manager, @NickOttens, via [email protected].

We look forward to engaging with you here on this exciting project!

Comments

  • bhaskarmvbhaskarmv Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Great Idea.

    A lot needs to be done to improve water supply, wastewater treatment and reuse.

    The present system of pumping water over long distances, then conveying wastewater to large centralised WWTPs and then dumping the treated water into the sea in coastal cities and into lakes and rivers in inland cities is not a sustainable solution.

    The water cycle should be completed on-site in each building or at least at community level / small group of buildings.

    Designing a wastewater treatment system for each toilet, / apartment / house, is actually not difficult.
  • ZeniaTataZeniaTata Los Angeles, CaliforniaPosts: 3 XPRIZE
    @bhaskarmv thanks for your comment. This is exactly what we hope to promote with this prize. We understand that a lot is being done in this space but how can we ensure rapid and widespread (almost mandatory) adoption across the world? What are the barriers to that? Is it cost? Infrastructure? Policy?
  • bhaskarmvbhaskarmv Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Policy is the main challenge.

    It appears to me that no country in the world has a policy to develop, support and promote new technologies and solutions in this field.

    I have been struggling for past 10 years to get people to accept a good solution, but have been making very slow progress due to lack of a supportive ecosystem.
  • bhaskarmvbhaskarmv Posts: 24 ✭✭
    Suggestions for design of Infinity Water Prize

    All teams should be evaluated based on the following parameters:
    1. For Wastewater treatment - Reduction in COD, BOD, TN and TP.
    2. Final Water quality, intended for reuse -
    the legally mandated parameters for domestic water supply.

    3. Percentage of wastewater treated to reuse level.
    4. Quantity of sludge produced.

    5. Total amount of Electricity used.
    6. Land used / foot print.
    7. Lead time to set up and start the system.

    8. Capital cost per unit [ KLD ] of installed capacity.
    9. O and M Cost per unit [ KLD ] of water treated.

    Ranking of Teams

    If there are 10 teams, they will be ranked 1 to 10 on each parameter.
    1 for best performance.

    In case of tie, all teams that tie will get the same rank and the next few ranks will not be awarded. So if 2 teams tie for 1st rank on one of the parameters, there will be no 2nd rank for that parameter and only 3rd rank will be awarded to the next team.

    So team with lowest score, / highest rank, wins.

    Phase 1

    Demonstrate with 100 to 1,000 liters per day of Wastewater for 1 month.
    Top few teams advance to the next Phase.

    Phase 2

    Demonstrate with 10,000 to 100,000 liters per day of Wastewater for 1 month.
    Top team wins.
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 881 admin
    Thank you so much for the suggestions, @bhaskarmv! It's still a little too early for us to comment, because right now we're in the stage of the research where we're looking at the problems we want to solve and how. We'll get to the actual prize design later, once we understand the landscape better. Then we'll be able to pick this up. Stay tuned!
  • bramberkelmansbramberkelmans Business Developer Posts: 1
    @bhaskarmv I fully agree with your suggestions on the current design of wastewater treatment all around the globe.
    To add up to your list of characteristics on this, I would suggest:
    - Amount of chemicals used or consumed. obviously a biological treatment through sand filters is rather favorite than the need for chlorine as a post-treatment step to enhance potability.
    - Ability of the treatment solutions to be integrated with a renewable energy source like sun, gravitational flow, wind energy, and/or tidal/wave energy. To enhance the independency and off-grid feature of the novelty.
    - However, the water prize should not only apply to wastewater, as it compromises the notion of water supply.

    We should also further integrate the rol of desalination in the water supply design prize. As almost 70% of people live in coastal communities and cities, this favourites desalination as a abundant solution in comparison to ground and surface water to domestic and potable water supply. However desal uses normally about 3 kWh, while solutions of waste-, surface-, ground- water treatment to domestic level only consume 1,2 - 1,0 - 0,7 kWh respectively. Therefore we need to look into less energy consuming solutions:
    - Level of Integration with renewable energies.
    - Amount of energy consumption.
    - CapEx and OpEx of the solution.
    - Size-Range of production capacity.
    - Energy recovery devices that recycle pressure flows.
    - Brine disposal design and novelties (salt lakes, aquaponics, brackish irrigation of salt-resistant staple crops).
    - Brine TDS (total dissolved solids) and EC (electrical conductivity, so that it does not or reduce impact on marine wildlife.
    - Form of water intake, beach well, open ocean intake, deep well. In order that it doesn't create salt water intrusion in the fresh water coastal aquifer.
    - Types and amounts of necessary chemicals, (favourably none).
    - Types on components used and their durability. As high quality metals will prevent quick oxidation and endure lifetime of the units who would otherwise be facing corrosion easily as they are continuously in contact with sea water. What types of membranes are being used if we talk about reverse osmosis desalination (which is the most energy effective), which polymers and membrane types, what is their lifetime and how can their lifetime be extended through maintenance. For instance the novelty of using fresh flush frequently to repel salt/minerals from the membranes.

    Alright that is more than enough for now. However my expertise is on desalination and coastal/ island water supply. Not so much on wastewater treatment or water recycling.

    I work in Colombia for my (Dutch) company Elemental Water Makers B.V. and we do renewable driven small-scale desalination for coastal and island communties.
  • jordan_shapirojordan_shapiro Posts: 13
    @bramberkelmans Thank you so much for these insights. In regards to desalination, it's very true that in terms of increasing the global freshwater supply, desalination is a very significant technology. It's important to highlight that for the purpose of this prize, we're looking specifically at freshwater reuse and treatment.

    That being said, we'd love to hear your insights on how some of these technologies overlap.
    Membranes are a significant part of the advanced water treatment processes (to make greywater potable again). Do you know how much these membrane technologies overlap?

    Additionally, do you have data and background information on the disposal of solids from desalination? We're exploring opportunities for sustainable waste opportunities.

    Thank you again!
  • akbakb Posts: 188 ✭✭✭
    No doubt technologies to purify/clean water will pop up here. A supporting aspect to potable water is the underlying infrastructure to collect / hold water. You might find some inspiration for that in the innovative water management and irrigation report I wrote a while back: http://bit.ly/InnovativeIrrigation
  • rgovind837rgovind837 President Posts: 1
    We are a small business company in Cincinnati, OH which is currently marketing the NextGen Septic treatment system. We have already sold over 50 such systems in Kentucky and are currently expanding in other states in the US. Our website is: www.nextgenseptic.com

    The NextGen Septic system treats wastewater from a house and treats the water to the extent needed for surface discharge, i.e., can be used for irrigation of the backyard and flower beds. Our systems are currently working at the one of the most prestigious golf courses in Cincinnati, Camargo Club, and at an RV park in Kentucky. We are permitted for surface discharge in Kentucky and for sub-surface discharge in South Dakota.

    The NextGen Septic treatment system generates very small amounts of sludge and uses ozone, made from air, for disinfection. Hence, no chemicals are needed for the treatment system.

    The challenge we have is when the groundwater has high Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), which cannot be removed biologically. For this we have developed a low cost desalination system, which reduces Total Dissolved Solids, such as sodium and potassium salts, divalent salts, etc. We are looking for partners to apply this technology for sea water and brackish water desalination, where the osmostic pressure makes it difficult to use membranes. Typically, for sea water, which is 35,000 ppm salts, we need to operate the membranes at pressures exceeding 900 psi, which is energy intensive. Our technology, which can be applied for TDS as high as 240,000 ppm salts, does not use membranes.

    Dr. Rakesh Govind
    NextGen Septic, LLC and PRD Tech, Inc.
    cell: (513) 673 3583 Email: [email protected]
  • CloudWaterCloudWater Mr. Posts: 6
    Allow to introduce: Cloud Power & Water (project AirHES) is the second (after Sun) source of renewable power (~800TW) and the first source of fresh water (~11 times more than all rivers).
  • CloudWaterCloudWater Mr. Posts: 6
    It seems to me that AirHES easily solves this problem:
    1. Water from the clouds is an ideal fresh water (practically distillate), which was cleaned by solar energy when it evaporates naturally.
    2. This water is publicly available, since clouds occupy ~ 67% of the planet’s surface, and you can get this water almost anywhere relatively cheaply.
    3. Moreover, you do not waste energy, but on the contrary, you can simultaneously receive it in the form of green renewable hydropower.
    4. In addition, this water is cold, clean and supplied under high natural pressure, which allows it to be used in existing communal networks without any additional treatment.
    5. At last, the resource of this water is huge - 11 times more all rivers.
  • BennyLBennyL President Posts: 1
    Suggest to use a local energy source - for example: wind / sun. connect to a battery and to a type of air condition - which will create water from the moister in the air. Local, clean and sustainable....
  • SonyaDSonyaD CEO, Founder Posts: 2
    I agree with Bankelerman: when he said: We should also further integrate the rol of desalination in the water supply design prize. As almost 70% of people live in coastal communities and cities, this favourites desalination as a abundant solution in comparison to ground and surface water to domestic and potable water supply. However desal uses normally about 3 kWh, while solutions of waste-, surface-, ground- water treatment to domestic level only consume 1,2 - 1,0 - 0,7 kWh respectively. Therefore we need to look into less energy consuming solutions:
    - Level of Integration with renewable energies.
    - Amount of energy consumption.
    - CapEx and OpEx of the solution.
    - Size-Range of production capacity.
    - Energy recovery devices that recycle pressure flows.
    - Brine disposal design and novelties (salt lakes, aquaponics, brackish irrigation of salt-resistant staple crops).
    - Brine TDS (total dissolved solids) and EC (electrical conductivity, so that it does not or reduce impact on marine wildlife.
    - Form of water intake, beach well, open ocean intake, deep well. In order that it doesn't create salt water intrusion in the fresh water coastal aquifer.
    - Types and amounts of necessary chemicals, (favourably none).
    - Types on components used and their durability. As high quality metals will prevent quick oxidation and endure lifetime of the units who would otherwise be facing corrosion easily as they are continuously in contact with sea water. What types of membranes are being used if we talk about reverse osmosis desalination (which is the most energy effective), which polymers and membrane types, what is their lifetime and how can their lifetime be extended through maintenance. For instance the novelty of using fresh flush frequently to repel salt/minerals from the membranes.

    Our company H2 Energy Now can also create water from salt water. What makes us unique is we are using electromagnetism.

    Further we can store energy electricity in the process, SonyaD
  • SonyaDSonyaD CEO, Founder Posts: 2
    A solution using contaminated waste water with unknown and dangerous chemicals in it. will at the least result in a byproduct of contaminated waste. Better to use salt water plus renewable energy. Our process H2 Energy Now takes salt water,+ renewable energy to equal hydrogen and oxygen gas which can be safely stored in a liquid. When electricity is needed the hydrogen is released and water plus electricity comes out. Power in power stored, salt water in clean water out. A great solution to this challenge. SonyaD
  • bhaskarmvbhaskarmv Posts: 24 ✭✭

    EPA's National Water Reuse Action Plan: Online Platform
    https://www.epa.gov/waterreuse/national-water-reuse-action-plan-online-platform

    The release of the National Water Reuse Action Plan: Collaborative Implementation (Version 1) includes the launch of this online platform. It houses the full spectrum of actions and communicates the progress toward implementation of those actions that enhance water reuse consideration within the scope of the WRAP. It also aims to help interested parties identify opportunities to join in collective action and contribute their expertise to the effort. EPA invites the contributions of both new and current partners to continue to expand the content and ambitions contained within this Action Plan.

    Through communication with action leaders, the information in the WRAP Online Platform will be updated routinely (e.g., quarterly) to maintain a relatively current reflection of each action’s implementation. These routine action-specific updates will convey progress, including progress on implementation milestones, new entities collaborating on actions, and links to relevant action outputs.

  • ashtonashton Water Sector Desk Analyst Posts: 7
    Hi All

    Thank you Nick for adding me to the community. Thanks to you all community members that have contributed in this platform. I agree in principle with most of the inputs this far and I would like to contribute the following:

    Type of reuse and Scale
    I think in designing the challenge we should elude to the SDGs, status quo and challenges in the space. The contestants will then find solutions i.e fill in the gaps that they would have identified. The challenge must be specific (case by case) as reuse takes various scales as direct potable reuse (DPR) and indirect potable reuse (IDPR) at municipal (centralised), industrial and residential (centralised if its complexes and decentralised if free standing). Wastewater quality is different for all these. At this point my understanding is that we are focusing on DPR and the scale is not defined. We should make it clear which scale do we want for DPR.
    1. Municipal
    USA, Singapore, Namibia, South Africa (SA) have DPR plants at municipal scale where they purify treated wastewater from their wastewater treatment works (WWTWs). The technology used at these plants is mostly reverse osmosis, ultrafiltration, remineralisation and blending with potable water [blending ratio 1 (reuse) :4 (potable from surface water)]. This is the most widely exploited and most feasible approach worldwide. Although its a centralised, the infrastructure is already available. SA (Durban) is also looking at treating wastewater from WWTWs destined for sea disposal (sea outfall) and blending this with sea water and then treat to potable.

    Reuse Challenges or Barriers
    • Treatment process is energy intensive (is use of solar, wind, and sea waves power an alternative?) and expensive
    • Life cycle costs vs revenue: Water is a basic need and hence most governments provide grants to their water and wastewater treatment utilities
      • Concern over contaminants of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals,
      • Public acceptance: "Juck factor" and its against some religions. Thus, convincing the public that the water is potable is a major challenge
      • Legislation is a barrier: Water supply is the mandate of the government and private players will have to register as water service intermediaries (WSI) unless if its for own use. If private companies occupy the space then the utilities will be bank rapt due to lack of revenue from water or grants for water services
      Industrial and residential
      There are packaged plants that are available on the market that use biological treatment process to treat domestic wastewater and industrial organic wastewater such as agri-processing (abattoir, dairy, winery, beverages.....). The treated water can be reused for non potable purposes such as flushing toilets, cleaning, irrigation and etc. The packaged sewage treatment plants must comply with ISO 30500. This solution does not require as much infrastructure and SA is promoting this approach mainly for the remote areas that do not have infrastructure and industrial/residential complexes but water reuse is limited to non potable uses. The City of Cape Town published installation guidelines for such systems and one must ensure water from these systems does not mix with the municipal potable water supply.

      Reuse of water in the food industry is rarely practiced mainly due to health issues.Other inorganic industries treat and reuse their water in their processes. An exception is a mine in one of the SA provinces that treats its wastewater and sends it to a municipal water treatment facility where its blended and distributed to the community.

      In summary, the challenge must be specific and/or contextualised using a case study. If left open, then participants should state their specific gap that they are addressing and must motivate. Nonetheless, the technologies must be green, span the SDGs, adhere to the engineering ethos, low life cycle costs, and meet its purpose i.e water quality.
  • EtiEti Posts: 82 XPRIZE
    edited March 11
    @ashton Thank you ever so much for your details and fascinating insights, and welcome to the community! We began the process of exploring specific core problems/barriers in this link, should you have additional insights on any of the issues. From these barriers, we begin developing the prize competition criteria, so, we would love to hear your thoughts.

    One issue you raise, which we would appreciate your insights on, in particular, is the scale - size and/or volume. To inform such a criterion, we are trying to identify the target community size. To share a few initial insights, we've heard that 300 people is the minimum needed for the system to be cost-effective for innovators, we also heard that a minimum of 1,000 is needed to incorporate aspects of circular water economy and recover sufficient resources. Some insights on this topic were shared in this discussion.

    With regards to DPR/IPR -- we aim for the system to be location agnostic, so DPR is likely to be pursued by competitors.
  • bhaskarmvbhaskarmv Posts: 24 ✭✭
    @Eti We can design a complete Sewage Treatment Solution with reuse of the treated wastewater for single toilets, used by 1 to 10 persons. The wastewater flow can be as low as 100 Liters per Day. Each toilet can be fitted with its own treatment plant.
  • EtiEti Posts: 82 XPRIZE
    @bhaskarmv Thank you for sharing another great idea; however, we are targeting community-scale solutions in this prize; ultimately, we also wish to avoid duplication of important efforts, and the Gates Foundation widely pursues this focus.

    As to the size of the target community, this is an important question we are debating over how to determine. i.e., to make it cost-effective, we've heard numbers ranging from 300 people to 2,000 and, at times, 30,000 people. Do you have insights on what factors should be taken into consideration when considering the size?
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    The giveaway 1:
    This was one of my contributions in the XPRIZE Water Abundance challenge.
    It is an energy efficient low cost solution for dehumidification and an opportunity to extract water from the air.
    The need for water is huge.
    It is a unit without the need of heating cooling or long inlets and air ducts.
    The principle is that moist air passes through a filter to a slowly rotating blade system or cell structure made of or coated with appropriate adsorption material.
    It must be a material where adsorption occurs through physical adsorption this because when the leaves or cell structure is moisture saturated, the water is centrifuged from the leaves/cell structure.
    A suitable adsorption material must be used and tested, a MOF material might be just right but other materials are available.
    The material is chosen depending on the application.
    The water is collected after centrifugation.
    Centrifugation cycles can be short if a strong electric motor/generator is used.
    The retardation energy is used and when an electric motor/generator is energy efficient, the energy demand becomes low.
    The unit is powered by a combined electric motor/generator that is connected to a battery.
    You can take power from solar/wind power or the network for maintenance charging.
    If used as a low energy dehumidifier it may be used in submarines, maybe space shuttles, colonies in space etcetera and of course wherever where the temperature is above 0 C.
    I have checked the idea with a nearby university; the professor said that he never had seen this design during his 30 years in the field and that it will work. His eyes sparkled.
    However I underestimated the difficulties of a patent application and to find sponsors.
    I had other ideas as well and I naively assumed the world would like them.
    I wrecked my company and my retirement savings.
    Well ---- happens.
    “Stupid is who stupid does”.
    So here is my first give away.
    It would make me happy chap if it at least comes to use.
  • NickOttensNickOttens Community Manager Barcelona, SpainPosts: 881 admin
    Thank you to all community members who advised on this prize design! Your feedback has helped XPRIZE design the best possible competition to incentivize the creation of a wastewater reuse and resource recovery system.

    Click here for a summary of the prize design.

    We have now moved into fundraising for this prize. The complete prize design will be shared with potential donors, sponsors and other stakeholders. We're looking forward to launching the competition as soon as funding is secured.
Sign In or Register to comment.