Pilot Program winners get funding to pursue water innovations

Water Council program awards four grants

Global Water Center Building (1)
The Global Water Center at 247 W Freshwater Way.

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:20 pm

The Water Council has announced the winners of its 2018 Pilot Program, who will receive funding to pursue their water innovations.

The four winners are:

  • Bryan Johnson, founder, Energy Tech Innovations LLC. ETI was awarded $30,982. The company has developed a biogas purification method using water.
  • Jose Ramirez, chief executive officer, Milwaukee-based OptikTechnik LLC. The company received $18,000. It makes optical sensors for monitoring aggregating/dissolving particles or droplets in industrial processes.
  • Chris Rochfort, CEO, STAR Water SolutionsSTAR Water was awarded $57,000. The company develops filtration solutions for bio-filtration and bio retention systems.
  • Lindsay Frost, water projects manager, Harbor District Inc. The organization was awarded $10,000. It has created a small scale urban fish habitat retrofits that provide a place on dock walls for plants and bugs to grow, and where fish can find food.

STAR Water has an office in the Water Council’s Global Water Center, and Energy Tech Innovations is based there.

The program winners demonstrated their products address integrated water solutions in a cost-effective, scalable way. Program winners gain funding and technical assistance to develop and validate innovative water technology products. The Pilot Program has awarded a total of $486,000 to five companies since it was launched in 2015.

“This program offers the opportunity to prove out a new water-based technology process – the goal of every startup,” Johnson said. “To date, the program has now helped ETI line up manufacturing support from a well-established, national company and will allow other organizations to see ETI’s low-cost biogas to renewable natural gas conversion process in action.”

The Water Council offers the Pilot Program in collaboration with the Fund for Lake Michigan and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District. FLM and MMSD funded the grants.

“As the Milwaukee area continues to carve out a national reputation as a leader in freshwater technologies, the FFLM is thrilled to support this important sector of our local economy,” said Vicki Elkin, executive director of the FFLM. “The Fund is always looking for new and more effective ways to improve water quality in the region. Our goals align perfectly with water tech companies or entrepreneurs who would like to test emerging clean water technologies in real world settings.”

“The Milwaukee area is fortunate to be home to the Global Water Center and The Water Council. This international organization provides MMSD the ability to pilot new technologies, allowing us to help meet our needs faster, cheaper and more efficiently,” said Kevin Shafer, executive director, MMSD.

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