MIT MBA student Javier Renna (left) presents the MIT Water Prize winners with their award.
MIT MBA student Javier Renna (left) presents the MIT Water Prize winners with their award.

A membrane technology for textile manufacturers, a recirculating aquaculture system and a social enterprise in Rwanda have been announced as joint winners of the MIT Water Innovation Prize.

The MIT Water Innovation Prize is a start-up competition run by MIT Water Club network for water research and innovation at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Up to US$35,000 in innovation grants is awarded annually to teams from across the world. The winners will also receive a consultation with a market analyst from sponsor BlueTech Research and access its market intelligence resources.

Student-led teams from start-ups SiPure and Symbrosia will share the US$35,000 prize with Volta Irrigation.  SiPure has developed a membrane technology capable of purifying textile wastewater which the team says has the potential to reduce global textile industry water demand by 500 billion litres per year.

Symbrosia’s recirculating aquaculture system produces the red macro-algae Asparagopsis taxiformis, a species of seaweed. Replacing just 2% of cattle feed with A. taxiformis can lead to a 99% reduction in cattle methane production - addressing global climate change and food security.

Volta Irrigation lends resources such as seeds and fertilisers to farmers with smallholdings in Rwanda and the surrounding countries. It combines its loans with sustainable and affordable irrigation technology called Alma Volta, a pedalling system powers an inverter, battery and pump which can distribute enough water to irrigate around 25 hectares of farmland.

The MIT Water Prize winners will have the opportunity to attend BlueTech Forum 2019, which takes place in London on 5-6 June and gives delegates the opportunity to network closely with industry leaders from utilities, industrial water users, academia and the investment community.