J-WAFS announces 2019 Solutions Grants supporting agriculture and clean water

The development of new technologies frequently starts with funded institution analysis. Venture capital firms tend to be eager to straight back well-tested products or services that are prepared go into the startup phase. But money that bridges the space between these two phases can be tricky to find. The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food program Lab (J-WAFS) at MIT aims to fill this gap with regards to J-WAFS Solutions give program. This program provides critical capital to pupils and professors at MIT that have promising bench-scale technologies which can be put on water and food systems challenges, but they are maybe not yet market-ready. By giving support to the crucial measures in almost any startup journey — customer finding, market examination, prototyping, design, plus — along with mentorship from skillfully developed through the entire life of the grant, this give system really helps to speed the development of services and solutions which have the potential to increase the safety, strength, and accessibility of world’s water and food materials.

J-WAFS possibilities funds provide a year of monetary assistance to MIT principal investigators with promising early-stage technologies, plus mentorship from industry experts and practiced business owners through the entire grant. With additional networking and guidance given by MIT’s Deshpande Center for technology, project groups are supported while they advance their technologies toward commercialization. Since the beginning of the system in 2015, J-WAFS possibilities grants have been instrumental inside launch of two MIT startups — Via Separations and Xibus Systems — and an open-source technology to guide clean water access for the rural and metropolitan bad in India.

John H. Lienhard V, director of J-WAFS and Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Water and Mechanical Engineering at MIT, describes the role of this J-WAFS possibilities system this way: “The combined results of unsustainable human usage patterns while the climate crisis threaten the world’s water and food materials. These challenges are usually present, and the dangers had been made ordinary in many present, high-profile worldwide news reports. Innovation in the water and food areas will, and it’s also urgently required. Through the J-WAFS Solutions system, we look for to recognize nascent technologies with all the greatest potential to transform local and even international food and water methods, then to speed their transfer to promote. We seek to leverage MIT’s entrepreneurial spirit to ensure water and food needs of your global human being neighborhood could be met sustainably, now and far into the future.”

Two tasks financed by the J-WAFS possibilities system in 2019 tend to be using this entrepreneurial approach to sensors that assistance clean liquid and strength into the farming industry. Three tasks, all-in the farming industry and funded by previous grants, are continuing this year, which together include a profile of interesting MIT technologies which can be helping resolve sustenance and water challenges across the world. 

Simplifying liquid quality evaluating in Nepal and beyond

In 2018, the J-WAFS Systems program supported a collaboration involving the MIT-Nepal Initiative, led by teacher of record Jeffrey Ravel, MIT D-Lab lecturer Susan Murcott, additionally the Nepalese non-governmental business Environment and Public wellness business (ENPHO). The task desired to improve the style of a wearable water test kit produced by Susan Murcott that offered simple, obtainable approaches to test the clear presence of E. coli in drinking water, even in probably the most remote options. Because very first year of J-WAFS funding, the investigation staff caused their particular Nepali partners, ENPHO, and their social company partner in Nepal, EcoConcern, to complete the design of their product, called the ECC Vial, which, using the products that they’ve today sourced, may be offered for under $1 in Nepal — a somewhat discounted than just about any other water-testing product in the marketplace.  

This technology is urgently needed by communities in Nepal, where many normal water materials tend to be contaminated by E. coli. Standard evaluating methods are very pricey, need significant laboratory infrastructure, or are just ordinary inaccessible to the many people confronted with unsafe normal water. Indeed, children under the age 5 are the many susceptible, and much more than 40,000 children in Nepal alone perish annually because of drinking contaminated water. The ECC Vial is intended to be the next-generation user-friendly, lightweight, low-cost means for E. coli recognition in water samples. Its specifically made for efficiency and it is befitting use within remote and low-resource options.

The 2019 revival grant when it comes to project “Manufacturing and advertising EC-Kits in Nepal” will support the staff in working together with exactly the same Nepali partners to enhance the manufacturing process for the ECC Vials and refine the online marketing strategy so that you can make certain that technology which sold to customers is trustworthy and therefore the company design for regional purveyors is viable now and into the future. Once the item enters industry in 2010, the team plans to begin circulation in Bangladesh, and can evaluate marketplace opportunities in Asia, Pakistan, Peru, and Ghana, where there is a similar need for a simple and inexpensive and E.coli indicator testing product for usage by government companies, personal water vendors, bottled water corporations, worldwide nonprofit organizations and low-income populations without usage of safe water. Based on customer demand in Nepal and past, this solution gets the potential to attain a lot more than 3 million people during only its first couple of many years available on the market.

Supporting the strength of this citrus business

Citrus flowers are very high-value plants and nutrient-dense foods. They are an essential part of food diets for folks in developing countries with micronutrient deficiencies, as well as for people in developed economies who are suffering from obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Citric acid fruits have grown to be basics across seasons, countries, and geographies, the large-scale citrus farms in the usa that assistance much of our domestic citrus usage tend to be challenged by citrus greening condition. Also referred to as Huanglongbing (HLB), it is an uncurable infection brought on by germs transmitted with a tiny insect, the Asian citrus psyllid. The bacterial infection triggers trees to wither and fruit to produce an unpleasantly sour style, rendering the tree’s fruit inedible. If remaining undetected, HLB can very quickly spread throughout big citrus groves. Because there is no treatment, contaminated woods must be removed to stop additional spreading. The disease presents a sudden threat toward $3.3 billion-per-year worldwide citrus industry. One of the reasons HLB is really unpleasant is the fact that there does not yet exist an accessible and inexpensive early-detection method. After the observable apparent symptoms of the condition have indicated up within one element of a citrus grove, the likelihood is a lot more woods happen to be contaminated.

Taking on this challenge is a research team at MIT led by Karen Gleason, the Alexander and I. Michael Kasser (1960) Professor when you look at the division of Chemical Engineering. A 2019 J-WAFS Solutions grant the project “Early recognition of Huanglongbing (HLB) Citrus Greening Disease” is supporting the development of an innovative new technology for very early detection of HLB disease in citrus woods. The team’s method is always to deploy a number of affordable, high-sensitivity sensors that can be used on-site, and that are attuned to volatile organic compounds emitted by citrus woods that change in concentration during early-stage HLB illness when woods try not to yet display visible symptoms. Utilizing the data collected via these sensors, an algorithm developed by the group offers a high-accuracy prediction system for presence regarding the condition so that farmers and farm supervisors can make informed choices about tree treatment so that you can protect the residual woods inside their citrus groves. Their particular aim is detect HLB condition in months, as opposed to the many years it today takes for illness found. 

Currently funded J-WAFS possibilities technologies seeking to revolutionize farming methods

Three various other J-WAFS Solutions tasks are continuing through the 2019-20 academic 12 months. Coming from a tractor-pulled reactor product that may change farming wastes on outlying facilities into nutrient-rich fertilizer, to a polymer-based additive for agriculture aerosols that dramatically decreases runoff recently showcased by the BBC, to a reasonable earth sensor that aims to make precision farming methods open to smallholder farmers in Asia, these J-WAFS-funded jobs are each looking to transform the durability of little- and large-scale agriculture practices.  

The J-WAFS Solutions system is implemented in collaboration with Community Jameel — the global philanthropic organization founded by MIT alumnus Mohammed Jameel — and is administered by J-WAFS in partnership with the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.

Fady Jameel, president, intercontinental of Community Jameel, claims: “Access to completely clean water, and better management of water sources, can enhance countries’ financial growth and can contribute considerably to poverty reduction. We always aim through J-WAFS to support the development and implementation of technologies, guidelines, and programs that will contribute to assist humankind adapt to a quickly altering world and combat worldwide liquid scarcity and food offer.”