The European Institute of Innovation selects 20 innovative companies to find solutions for water scarcity

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  • The chosen ones already have innovations in an advanced stage of development and will work for three months to respond to problems related to water in entities in Spain, Greece and Italy.

  • The 20 companies will be eligible for a prize of up to 30,000 euros and the option to test their solutions at end user’s facilities. In Italy it will be in the public owned water utility in central Italy.

  • Last year the award went to the Andalusian ‘start-up’ Brioagro Technologies, an intelligent irrigation platform that avoids the risk of production losses.

20 innovative companies have been selected to participate in the ‘Water Scarcity’ programme, which helps the development of innovative solutions for water scarcity. The need for solutions is one of the principal problems of the present and future of Southern Europe, which has led the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) to launch this initiative.

The selected companies, which already have innovations in an advanced stage of development, will participate in the programme for the next three months. An extensive training focused on scaling and international business development is included. The 20 companies have been been grouped into three sectoral challenges, defined by three selected entities from Italy, Greece and Spain, which seek a solution to their specific needs in relation to water. In this way, the initiative brings together companies that have a water-related problem with those who can provide a solution. It has been organised thanks to the collaboration among different Knowledge Communities (KICs) of EIT. It is coordinated by EIT Food, with the participation of EIT Climate-KIC, EIT Digital and EIT Manufacturing, as well as other partners such as Athena Research and Bioazul.

Through this program, EIT Food creates a space where innovative companies have the opportunity to test their products and services, offering them to the European industry to face the challenges it faces. Thus, it contributes building a water smart economy, reducing in the long term the consumption, waste and pollution of water resources in Europe.

The program will culminate with a competition for each of the sectorial challenges, which will take place on September 27 (Greece) and 29 (Italy) and October 4 (Spain). In each competition, the winner will get 12,000 euros in cash; the second classified, 10,000, and there will be a special prize endowed with 30,000 euros destined to develop the ‘demo’ of their solution.

Last year the award went to the Andalusian ‘start-up’ Brioagro Technologies, an intelligent irrigation platform that avoids the risk of production losses, increasing farm performance and quality.

Solutions for reducing water consumption in agriculture in Murcia

Eight of the 20 selected companies will take part in Murcia (Spain). In agriculture there are different challenges related to the use of water; SanLucar, an international company that produces and supplies fruits and vegetables worldwide, will explore the solution to aspects such as water availability and shortages, salt concentration or crop water efficiency.

Secalflor, a german ‘start-up’ based in Málaga (Spain), manufacture and distribute plant pads made of 100% natural raw materials saving up to 50% and 30% water and fertilizers needs, respectively. Also from Malaga, Agrow Analytics is a platform to monitor in real time and in the future the water available in the plots and its effect on the crops. From Valencia (Spain), visualNACert has developed a platform that combines geospatial technology with smart data analytics to give systematic control and real-time visibility over their assets, resulting in inputs savings of up to 40% and productivity increases of 25%. From San Sebastian, also in Spain, BuntPlanet combines AI with hydraulic simulations to improve the efficiency of the water supply network and reduce drastically the area for leak location on field.

At the international level, Sinafis comes from Castres (France) to help farmers manage their water consumption, reduce insecticides and fertilizers, and get better yields, and have more effective bio-controls at 2-3x less than other products. Soonapse, from Rome, has developed Ploovium®, that predicts the water behavior of each soil/crop system over the next 5 days, with an accuracy typically greater than 99%. WINGS, from Athens, has designed, developed and manufactured ARTEMIS Water, a total solution based on the installation of telemetry and remote management for smart green irrigation systems. Also from Greece, from Pireus, Neuropublic is specialized in the development of Web- and Cloud-based integrated information systems and high-performance applications to minimize water waste and loss in agriculture.

Solutions for the improvement of the water supply in Greece

Six of the 20 selected companies will participate in Greece, where they will apply innovative solutions in the Municipal Water Supply and Sewerage Company of Pylaia (Greece), in the public sector, which will study the responses that the companies selected by EIT give to challenges such as the standardization of digital tools, water quality and safety, pollutant traceability and removal and asset management.

In first place, Fibsen (from Valencia, Spain), develops and introduces a real-time water monitor, analysing structural and water health KPIs to make better decisions. From Brussels (Belgium), Shayp will participate, which has has developed a technology able to monitor the water consumption and to detect and estimate flow of water leak and water loss with high reliability and granularity. Nanoplasmas, from Athens, will offer a detection tool to ensure regular checks and appropriate control measures to man-made water system to prevent patogens as legionella. Enging is a company from Oliveira do Hospitala (Portugal), which has developed the first non-invasive pioneering technology in the market, allowing for an extremely precocious and accurate online fault detection several months before the asset stoppage. The Cypriot Embio Diagnostics, from Nikosia, offers a water bacteria monitoring system with the use on high accuracy biosensors. And, for last, Droople (Laussane, Switzerland), connects any water assets off radar today to their AI-enabled Platform to monitor water usage & quality.

 Solutions for the optimal distribution of water resources in Italy

In Italy, the collaborating entity is a company of the infrastructure sector: it’s the CIIP, Public Owned water utility managing the water and wastewater services in central Italy. Six of the 20 selected companies will face challenges such as the distribution of water by uses, variable according to the season of the year, or the search for alternative water sources, as well as the conservation of the natural area.

Latitudo 40, from Naples (Italy), will try to face these challenges by using satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to create geospatial analyses, supporting the decision-making. Bluephage, from Barcelona (Spain), offers a patented solution in kits allowing to control the microbiological quality of water. It can measure quickly whether reclaimed water for agriculture use or products are safe or not. The German, from Potsdam, has developed a system technology that enables a circular water cycle, stopping 99% of microplastics and reusing 90% of wastewater without additional energy consumption. In this way, the Greek Alchemia-nova, from Athens, is also dedicated to circular economy principles. The group integrates the areas around nature-based solutions, resources cycles, sustainable buildings, and circular financing for co-creating a holistic understanding of systemic solutions. From Sweden, Pharem Biotech offers a disruptive and patented enzyme technology for neutralizing organic micropollutants, such as pharmaceuticals. It will taste its product Zymatic, a great solution for removing certain pollutants that could prevent the reuse of water for irrigation. For last, MobyGIS (Trento, Italy) will contribute with a project, Waterjade, that integrates machine learning and physically-based hydrological models that solve mass and energy balance in complex morphology at high resolution. The result is a full service of water analysis and predictions, applicable on all the timeline.

About EIT Food

EIT Food is the leading initiative in food innovation in Europe. It works to make the food system more sustainable, healthy and trustworthy. It is one of eight innovation communities established by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), an organisation which is independent of the EU and was created in 2008 to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.

The consortium is made up of more than 100 entities, including key industries, leading companies in this field, startups, research centres and universities from 16 EU member states. The headquarters of the south of Europe is established in Spain (in Madrid and Bilbao) and works with partners such as: Acesur, AIA, Angulas Aguinaga, AZTI, Caviro, Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, CSIC, AN Group, Granarolo, Hub Innovazione Trentino, Inalca, International Iberian Nanotechnology Laboratory (INL), Mondragon Corporation, PeakBridge, Strauss, Technion, UAM, UNITO, the University of Bologna and the Volcani Institute of Agricultural Research


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