The BioForward team has competed in Amsterdam the international final of ClimateLaunchpad, the world's largest green business ideas contest that gives access to the EIT Climate-KIC Accelerator and cash prizes. The qualifiers were held in the Dutch capital on 14 and 15 November.
After winning the 2019 Spanish edition of ClimateLaunchpad, the team –led by Dr. Juan Manuel Ortiz and trained by IMDEA Agua researchers, has conquered the jury with its biotechnology-based water desalination solution with low energy consumption.
Over the course of two days, the 130 participating teams from 50 countries have attended the different qualifying rounds, in which they have faced the main investors and entrepreneurs in the sector. The IMDEA team could not be placed between the 16 to enter for the final victory. Yet, the low cost desalination "is worth developing and we will pursue the access to the ideas accelerator," according to Israel Griol Barres, international mentor of ClimateLaunchPad and head of Entrepenurial Ecosystem at the Polytechnic University of Valencia.
The BioForward team is made up of IMDEA researchers Juan Manuel Ortiz (CEO); Junkal Landaburu (scientific director); Colin Wardman (business development); Marina Ramírez (technical director); Abraham Esteve-Núñez (scientific advisor) and Belén Barroeta (communications manager).
Low cost desalination
The idea that conquered the Spanish jury in the first phase of the contest proposes low cost desalination as a solution to the shortage of fresh water. This is one of the main challenges for society, since it is estimated that more than 700 million people worldwide do not have access to it. BioForward and its biotechnology-based solution would allow producing fresh water for human consumption or irrigation use without energy demand, since sunlight is used to produce it.