98 Teams Worldwide Enter $1.75 Million Water Abundance XPRIZE Competition

May 16 2017


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May 16, 2017 (LOS ANGELES) -- XPRIZE - the global leader in designing and operating incentive competitions to solve humanity’s grand challenges - today announced 98 teams from 25 countries will compete for its $1.75 million Water Abundance XPRIZE.

The Water Abundance XPRIZE, sponsored by the Tata Group and Australian Aid (the innovationXchange at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade) is a two-year competition aimed at tackling global water scarcity by incentivizing teams from around the world to create and develop a pioneering decentralized technology that can extract water from thin air using only renewable energy. Team members come from a collection of diverse backgrounds and comprise of university students, startups, professional scientists and engineers.

To win, teams must create a device that extracts a minimum of 2,000 litres of water per day from the atmosphere using 100 percent renewable energy, at a cost of no more than two cents per litre. The winning device must be able to create decentralized access to water, giving people the power to access fresh water whenever and wherever they need it.

Details about all competing teams can be found here.

“We are thrilled by the global response to the competition and the impressive number of diverse teams ready to solve water scarcity,” said Zenia Tata, Executive Director of Global Expansion at XPRIZE. "We’re all looking forward to observing the progress the teams make as they navigate their way through the various stages of the challenge over the coming months. We are confident that at least one of these gifted teams will crack the code and create a cost-effective breakthrough to stem global water shortages.”

In addition to today’s announcement of the competing teams, XPRIZE also confirmed the formation of an Advisory Board of academic and technical experts to guide the Water Abundance XPRIZE, comprised of:

  • Suman Chakraborty is head of the School of Medical Science and Technology, professor of Mechanical Engineering and associate dean at the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur.
  • Marcus Howard is the Director, Water Sanitation and Hygiene in the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and has worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for 15 years.
  • Dr. Gopichand (Gopi) Katragadda is group chief technology officer and innovation head for Tata Sons. He also serves as a director on the boards of Tata Elxsi, Tata Communications, Tata Teleservices, Tata Autocomp Systems and Flisom AG.
  • Dr. Arul Shanmugasundram steers manufacturing and project sales business at Tata Group, where he is responsible for development in multiple areas like sales, supply chain and logistics, along with overseeing R&D and product development.

The Water Abundance XPRIZE was launched in India in October 2016 at a United Nations day reception in New Delhi. The two-year competition will look to announce up to five finalist teams in February 2018 and will then embark on final testing through July 2018. The winner for the prize will be announced in August 2018.

For more information on the Water Abundance XPRIZE and the teams that have entered, visit www.xprize.org and http://water.xprize.org/.

Eric Desatnik / Jackie Wei
310.741.4892 / 310.741.4918
[email protected] / [email protected]

XPRIZE, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. XPRIZE utilizes a unique combination of gamification, crowd-sourcing, incentive prize theory, and exponential technologies as a formula to make 10x (vs. 10%) impact in the grand challenge domains facing our world. XPRIZE’s philosophy is that—under the right circumstances— igniting rapid experimentation from a variety of diverse lenses is the most efficient and effective method to driving exponential impact and solutions to grand challenges. Active competitions include the $30M Google Lunar XPRIZE, the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE, the $1.75M Water Abundance XPRIZE and the $1M Anu and Naveen Women’s Safety XPRIZE. For more information, visit www.xprize.org/.

In 2015, the innovationXchange (iXc) at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade was launched as part of the Australian Aid Program to address the growing need for innovative and transformative solutions for intractable problems facing people living in developing countries. The iXc aims to foster a culture of innovation in Australia’s aid program by harnessing new technologies, methodologies, and partnerships. It understands collaboration is pivotal, partnering with other government agencies, the private sector, NGOs, and academics to source new ideas for piloting and experimentation. Each of the iXc’s development portfolios – health and water, economic growth and humanitarian – challenge convention, seeking new ways to multiply the impact of Australian aid in the Indo-Pacific. The iXc has led a variety of open innovation processes to help improve humanitarian responses in the Pacific, aquaculture in the Indian Ocean, and food choices to reduce worsening malnutrition levels in our region. It is also initiating an ambitious social entrepreneurship and financing agenda to equip local innovators and entrepreneurs with the skills, networks, capital, and access to markets required to make their businesses viable, attractive to investment, and scalable. With global partners the iXc supports an online platform to allow hundreds of organisations across the world to share information on innovations and seek finance for them where necessary. It will seek to invest in a range of debt, equity and grant funding initiatives that enable new technologies, behavioural science approaches, and business models to be explored. The iXc believes it is crucial for all contributors to share lessons learned on development innovations being trialled and will continue to seek opportunities to scale successful pilots.

For more information, please visit: https://innovationxchange.dfat.gov.au

Founded by Jamsetji Tata in 1868, the Tata Group is a global enterprise, headquartered in India, comprising over 100 independent operating companies. The group operates in more than 100 countries across six continents, with a mission ‘To improve the quality of life of the communities they serve globally, through long-term stakeholder value creation based on Leadership with Trust’. There are 29 publicly-listed Tata enterprises with a combined market capitalization of about $116 billion (as of March 31, 2016). Tata companies with significant scale include Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Tata Consultancy Services, Tata Power, Tata Chemicals, Tata Global Beverages, Tata Teleservices, Titan, Tata Communication and Indian Hotels.