Imagine H2O has announced an initiative to establish pilot programs for water startups — the winners of its food and agriculture competition — with commercial growers and food processors in California’s Central Valley.
The group’s fifth annual program aims to advance innovation in using, supplying and treating water to improve the food system. The contest will be open to entries in October with the winners announced in March 2014, at which time the top companies will present their innovations to the program’s pilot partners.
BlueTechValley, an Imagine H2O Accelerator Hub partner, will introduce the competition’s top companies to a group of pilot partners for the purpose of establishing demonstration programs at commercial food facilities. Former Imagine H2O winners and finalists including Fruition Sciences, mOasis, BlackGold Biofuels and FOGbusters.
Imagine H2O cites a 2012 UN World Water Assessment Program survey, which says agriculture accounts for more than 70 percent of global water usage, and says the connection between water resource management and food production is paramount.
The global water technology market in the food and beverage sector is set to almost double in size by 2020 as concerns over water scarcity increase, according to research by business data research center Global Water Intelligence. Drivers including rising demand coupled with a fixed supply, and companies’ increasing concern over environmental branding, will boost capital expenditure on water technology from $3.3 billion in 2011 to $6.0 billion in 2020.
In late April, Nike, along with partners NASA, the US Agency for International Development and the US Department of State, challenged materials manufacturers and others to create new, sustainable materials. The sustainable materials challenge is part of the Launch initiative, started in 2010 by Nike, NASA, USAID, and the Department of State to support innovative approaches to sustainability issues.