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Water Resource Recovery Prize

Water is a critical resource for human health, economic growth, and agricultural productivity, but challenges to the United States freshwater supplies could threaten U.S. economic competitiveness and water security. Wastewater treatment plants are part of the challenge, purchasing about $2 billion of electricity each year and facing more than $200 billion in prospective capital investment needs to meet future water quality objectives. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Manufacturing Office launched the Water Resource Recovery Prize to accelerate the transition from conventional wastewater treatment to a model of resource recovery from municipal wastewater. Multidisciplinary teams competed in this two-phased competition, that offered up to $1 million in cash prizes for cutting-edge water treatment technology system configurations and business plans for small to midsize plants that could help lower the ultimate cost of treatment by extracting additional value from wastewater.

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The Water Resource Recovery Prize: Advancing Transformational Water Treatment Technologies

Through this prize competition, DOE sought novel, solutions from multidisciplinary teams to implement resource revovery at small- to medium-sized water resource recovery facilities.

By presenting cost-effective and innovative facility engineering solutions, competing teams helped the Department of Energy identify transformational technology and innovation that could double resource recovery and accelerate the transition from conventional wastewater treatment to a model of resource recovery from municipal wastewater across the United States.

Applications for participation were evaluated on demonstrated achievement of target recovery levels, with additional credit given for innovation and replicability. Beyond the cash prize, winners, and finalists had their plans published on a public-facing website to provide potential wastewater treatment recovery strategies that other wastewater treatment facilities might adopt.

Aerial imagery of a water treatment facility.

Congratulations to our Grand Prize Winners!

Phase 2 is now closed and offered two Grand Prize Winners $250,000 in cash awards. After a highly competitive selection, four finalists earned honorable mention for their innovative, cutting-edge water treatment technology and plans that will help lower the cost of wastewater treatment. Phase 1 is now closed and offered $50,000 in cash awards to winning submissions.

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Important Dates

  • Phase 1 submissions open: January 29, 2020
  • Phase 1 submissions close: May 28, 2020 (at 5pm ET)
  • Phase 1 notification: June 28, 2020
  • Phase 2 submissions open:: September 9, 2020
  • Phase 2 submissions close: September 9, 2021
  • Phase 2 notification: November 9, 2021

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All dates are subject to change including contest openings, deadlines, and announcements.

Solutions that help shape the future

Are you a thinker, entrepreneur, facility or potential partner? Anyone with an innovative idea can help promote transformation by participating in the American-Made Challenges.

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