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Pipeline H2O announces first class of water tech companies

Water safety is a huge national concern, and the startups involved in Pipeline's first class have the solution.

WEL Enterprise CEO Katrina Eckard with her water reclamation system. WEL is a member of Pipeline's first class.


Pipeline H2O, the region’s first water technology accelerator program, recently announced the members of its first cohort, which will begin work in February at The Hamilton Mill.
 
“We received 66 applications from 14 countries on five continents,” says Rahul Bawa, board chairman of Pipeline H2O and The Hamilton Mill. “Our selection committee chose companies where we could really make an impact and that represented a cross section of the water technology sector.”
 
The eight members of the inaugural cohort are:
  • Champaign, Ill.-based, ANDalyze, which offers products for testing heavy metal levels in water using DNA technology.
  • AguaClara — from Cornell University — provides gravity-driven, large-scale surface water treatment technologies to underserved communities.
  • Hamilton's own kW River Hydroelectric, which is working to further develop and commercialize the Williams Cross-Flow Turbine. 
  • PowerTech Water out of Lexington offers a new low-cost low-waste water treatment technology that removes salts, minerals and toxic metals.
  • Searen uses sustainable technologies to create water treatment solutions right here in Greater Cincinnati.
  • Slipstream ZLD from Albuquerque manufactures a crystallization system that eliminates wastewater for low-volume manufacturing facilities and metal finishing shops.
  • Waterstep, which is based in Louisville, developed a rapid-response mini-water treatment plant that can be used in disasters and for system safety redundancies.
  • WEL Enterprise, also from Hamilton, created a platform that handles both treatment and reclamation of wastewater. It can currently be seen in action at Municiple Brew Works.
The members of the first Pipeline class are all well beyond the ideation stage, with either functioning prototypes or pilot projects. The program, which runs from February-May, includes an intensive week each month that mixes curriculum from the Village Capital model and project-specific field work. The remaining weeks of each month will be devoted to mentoring, homework and continuing to test and improve products.
 
“The city-as-lab model at The Hamilton Mill has grown to the region-as-lab thanks to support from city and county municipalities,” Bawa says. “Pipeline participants will access pilots, customers and revenue, while leveraging local expertise in the water sector. We will adapt the Mill’s concierge-level mentoring to create a targeted experience that fits the needs of each member of the class. We are still building a mentor network with help from The Brandery, Cintrifuse and Confluence.”
 
Regulation of water technology is one area where all cohort members are seeking guidance. The complicated interactions of federal, state and local regulations can be daunting for a startup wanting to enter the water sector.
 
“We are fortunate the EPA has a water research and development facility in Cincinnati,” Bawa says. “The state and federal EPA staff and our partners at Confluence will help the class understand the specific categories of water technology regulation and how to navigate the process.”
 
Pipeline’s first cohort will be featured in a pitch competition during the first week of the program, as part of the OVALS Water Technologies: The Wave of the Future program at the University of Cincinnati on Feb. 16. The two-day conference will feature presentations by University and industry experts, and is organized by Indiana University, Ohio University, The Ohio State University, UC, the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville. For those unable to attend the OVALS pitch competition, Pipeline’s end-of-program Demo Day in May will be open to the public.
 
“The projects in development by our first Pipeline class can make a real difference in the world,” Bawa says. “Our region has the expertise to be a leader in the water technology sector.”
 

Read more articles by Julie Carpenter.

Julie Carpenter is a jack-of-all-trades with a background in cultural heritage tourism, museums and nonprofit organizations. She's a bit obsessed with the built environment and irregularly shares her musings on architecture, urban planning and city life on Facebook and Twitter (@StrawStickBrick).
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