J-WAFS awards grants for commercialization of food and water technologies

The Abdul Latif Jameel World food and water protection Lab (J-WAFS) has launched two brand new J-WAFS Solutions grant recipients, who will be developing technologies that will offer powerful solutions for enhancing water and food access into the Global Southern. 

One technology turns agricultural waste into affordable fertilizer, and another will allow rural communities in establishing countries to check Escherichia coli (E. coli) levels in drinking tap water via an affordable and accessible cellular kit. J-WAFS Solutions funds provide twelve months of economic support to MIT principal investigators with bench-scale, market-ready technologies. The investment is associated with mentorship from industry partners and extra networking and assistance, promoting project teams while they advance their particular technologies toward commercialization. 

Since the start of system in 2015, J-WAFS possibilities grants have been completely instrumental into the launch of three MIT startups. The firstly these was Via Separations, an organization spun out coming from a 2015 J-WAFS Systems grant that has since already been supported by The Engine, has received many development rewards, and it has already been acquiesced by other startup accelerators within and outside MIT.

“As we face the next increasingly shaped by environment modification, urbanization, and populace boost, we can’t ensure the sustainability of our sustenance and water systems without significant development,” says J-WAFS Executive Director Renee J. Robins. “But innovation alone does not solve problems. J-WAFS Solutions funds assist change MIT discoveries and inventions into food and water sector services and products that may have real-world impact.”

Increasing farming efficiency in which fertilizer accessibility is restricted

At this time, all of the world’s fertilizers are produced in capital-intensive and energy-intensive centralized services in North America, European countries, and China. As a result, outlying farmers in the Global Southern frequently spend 2-3 times the cost of fertilizer somewhere else. 

Ahmed Ghoniem, the Ronald C. Crane (1972) Professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering, possesses solution. He and his team happen granted a commercialization grant to build up a technology that downsizes and decentralizes soil enhancement production in order for it to be completed around small-scale basis in rural villages. 

The process, called decentralized biomass torrefaction, utilizes minor reactor devices created in Ghoniem’s lab to heat farming residues (husks, stalks, also natural materials that are usually considered waste) using conditions that turn this biomass into an alkaline carbon-rich compound. When added to grounds, it promotes plant development and gets better earth retention of vitamins and dampness. The portable reactors may be latched on the straight back of tractors or interior standard delivery containers and can do the biomass processing in the field instead of at centralized plant, reducing the cost of fertilizer and enabling rural, small-scale farmers to improve both their yield and their net income.

Improving water protection in Nepal utilizing inexpensive monitoring kits

In springtime 2016, the MIT-Nepal Initiative funded manufacturing and delivery of 2,000 low-cost, user-friendly, and very precise water-testing kits to Nepal. The wearable kits had been created by MIT D-Lab lecturer Susan Murcott and offer a straightforward, available solution to test the existence of E. coli in drinking tap water. That 12 months the prototypes were utilized by the Environment and Public Health business (ENPHO), a Nepali non-governmental business, to evaluate liquid found in meals vehicles and mobile water tanks in Kathmandu Valley when you look at the wake for the April 2015 quake. 

Building from the popularity of that initial collaboration, a J-WAFS Solutions grant will support a collaboration associated with MIT-Nepal Initiative, led by Murcott and Professor Jeffrey Ravel, utilizing the NGO ENPHO and its particular company subsidiary EcoConcern. The target is to improve the style of the kits centered on feedback from people in Kathmandu in 2016 in addition to Murcott’s subsequent kit design and execution in Ghana, the Philippines, plus in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria. 

The team intends to create a regionally-appropriate production and marketing campaign that means that the kits tend to be available to outlying and urban communities in Nepal and elsewhere in Southern Asia which face the possibility of water-related conditions from hazardous drinking water. Their sight is actually for the gains from the sale of those kits to support ENPHO’s personal and environmental targets that improve properly managed liquid, sanitation, and hygiene in the area.

The J-WAFS Options program aims to assist MIT faculty and pupils commercialize encouraging innovations for our food and water systems. By speeding the introduction of new services and services, J-WAFS Solutions funds help advance MIT technologies that may increase the protection, supply, effectiveness, and availability of food and water, and deliver concrete financial and societal advantageous assets to the communities in which they truly are implemented. 

The program is part of a analysis cooperation with Community Jameel — the personal enterprise company that co-founded J-WAFS with MIT in 2015, and it is administered together with the MIT Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation.

“With increasing populations, climate change, and urbanization, we have to begin taking activity now to satisfy the whole world’s future needs for water and food,” Community Jameel International President Fady Jameel says. “Community Jameel is pleased to be always a key companion of MIT in tackling some of the most pressing issues related to food and water safety and security at the center East and internationally.”

Murcott claims the woman group “is delighted to possess J-WAFS assistance for production and promoting the E.coli test system.”

“Early level a few ideas can more readily get capital, whereas assistance for commercialization is more difficult in the future by,” she states. “This is doubly the case whenever a person views commercialization of the product like ours within a low-income economy such as for example Nepal. However, it’s exactly such contexts in which this product is most required. So the J-WAFS Options grant provides us through a huge possibility.”

Both brand new 2018 J-WAFS Systems grant recipients and their particular projects are:

“Decentralized torrefaction for creating high-yield, irrigation-saving fertilizer”
PI: Ahmed Ghoniem, the Ronald C. Crane (1972) Professor in Department of Mechanical Engineering

“Manufacturing and Marketing E. coli Test Kits to advertise Safely operated Drinking Water and Improved Public Health in Nepal”
PIs: Jeffrey S. Ravel, professor into the division of History; and Susan Murcott, lecturer inside MIT D-Lab