The Everglades Foundation Officially Kicks Off Search for Algae Bloom Solution with Four-year, $10-million Prize

The Everglades Foundation Officially Kicks Off Search for Algae Bloom Solution with Four-year, $10-million Prize

Categories: Press Releases

The Everglades Foundation (The Foundation) today officially kicked off its four-year, $10-million George Barley Water Prize at the “Tapping Innovation: Breakthrough Thinking, Action & Awards” event at the Miami Science Barge, which was sponsored by the Knight Foundation, unveiling the winners of the first two phases of Stage 1 of the competition. The winners, TEAM blueXgreen and AquaCal AgBag, whose technological innovations have only been tested on a small scale thus far, could perhaps go on to win the larger prize and ultimately provide the world with a solution that could reverse the environmental damage done to water bodies as large as Lake Erie.

The winner of the first phase of Stage 1, TEAM blueXgreen, which is affiliated with the University of Idaho, proposes using N-E-W Tech™, a novel systems approach to water treatment that addresses critical concerns. Producing a nutrient up-cycled biochar biocarbon fertilizer that stores carbon for 200 years, N-E-W Tech™ has the potential to be the world’s first carbon negative advanced water treatment process. To learn more about the Stage 1, Phase 1 winner, please visit http://bit.ly/2cc7lbh.

The winner of the second phase of Stage 1, AquaCal AgBag, seeks to utilize the unique physical properties of oolitic aragonite – a renewable, biogenic precipitated calcium carbonate – to sequester and uptake water born phosphorus on a global scale. By adding aragonite into animal and plant nutrition, AquaCal AgBag’s solution has the potential to mitigate the very generation of phosphorus by livestock and farming activities, while the aragonite solution has the potential to remove remaining phosphorus through a series of passive filtrations. To learn more about the Stage 1, Phase 2 winner, please visit http://bit.ly/2g89PrT.

“We’re pleased to name TEAM blueXgreen and AquaCal AgBag as the winners of the first two phases of Stage 1 of the competition,” said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Foundation. “Through them and the contestants from 11 countries around the globe, we are making progress towards a solution.”

“As the George Barley Water Prize nears the end of its inaugural year, we look forward to the launching of Stage 2 of the competition in January of 2017,” continued Eikenberg. “Both our winners here, along with over 100 teams from 11 countries, will be vying for recognition and an award of $25,000. We are on a quest and won’t stop until toxic algae is no longer a threat to the pristine waters of our planet.”

“Nutrients are troublesome in natural waters because they cause fish-killing toxic algae growth,” said Greg Moller, professor at the University of Idaho and the team lead of TEAM blueXgreen, who is the Stage 1, Phase 1 winner of the George Barley Water Prize, in their application video. “The N-E-W Tech™ process can produce clean and reusable water. Recovering the nutrient-enhanced biochar creates a fertilizer that can address agricultural needs, while storing carbon to manage climate change. Phosphorus is a finite resource, and the ability to recycle it will have huge implications in creating food security for the future.”

“We join The Everglades Foundation, and all of our partners in innovation, to advance the human spirit and overcome the challenges we face for a more sustainable future,” continued Moller. “We need your help, your creativity and, most importantly, your inspiration in moving all of us forward together.”

“Oolitic aragonite is biogenically renewable and is able to naturally absorb phosphorus,” said Charlie Kashiwa, president at Calcean and team lead of AquaCal AgBag. “Waters around the world today are polluted with phosphorus as a result of agricultural and livestock runoff.”

“Our innovative design uses sustainable and biogenically renewable aragonite to absorb phosphorus, bioplastics to minimize plastic pollution and creates a useable byproduct for agriculture,” said Anthony Myers, CEO of Calcean.

“We are ready to implement our design and start cleaning up our waters,” concluded Kashiwa.

” The Foundation also recognizes the Knight Foundation’s vision and leadership,” said Eikenberg. “The Knight Foundation’s support is the beginning of a strong partnership that will empower civic innovation and advancements in technology for one of the largest clean water science prize’s ever run.”

The prize competition, named in honor of the late Florida Environmentalist George Barley, is designed to incentivize free-market solutions to the increasingly urgent algae bloom problem, which impacted about 15,000 water bodies worldwide in 2016, including those in at least 20 states in the United States. The George Barley Water Prize marks the largest cash award ever offered in the field of water stewardship and has already attracted 147 teams from around the world, each striving to discover an innovative and cost-effective solution to remove phosphorus from our lakes, rivers and major freshwater bodies.

For more information on the competition, please visit BarleyPrize.org.

# # #

To learn more about the prize, the algae bloom problem or connect with our team, please contact Sonia Rodriguez at 305-251-0001 or sonia@evergladesfoundation.org.

Contact
Liz Amore, lamore@evergladesfoundation.org, 786.249.4461
Samantha Cartagena, samantha.cartagena@rfbinder.com, 212.994.7686