2023 Marks Successful Year in Innovator Support and Programming for CWA

January 31, 2024

As we look back at our accomplishments in 2023, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the series of innovative initiatives that reinforced our standing as a global leader in water technology. From growing the transformative Water Accelerator Testbed programming to redefining the Open Innovation Challenge, CWA showcased its commitment to pioneering water management solutions. These efforts were complemented by educational events and the introduction of the Tech Lending Library, furthering CWA's mission to empower partners and drive technological advancements.

A Year of Global Collaboration and Cutting-Edge Deployments in the Smart Lake Erie Watershed Testbed

Cleveland Water Alliance's Smart Lake Erie Watershed Testbed marked 2023 as another year of unparalleled success and innovation. With a total of 15 deployments, the testbed served as a dynamic platform for eleven diverse companies hailing from five different countries, underscoring our global reach and collaborative spirit. This impressive achievement not only highlights the testbed's growing influence but also its effectiveness in attracting a wide array of international talent and technology.

Notably, an Irish company made waves with its groundbreaking nitrate and nitrite analyzer. This device, known for its high accuracy and stable calibration, was adeptly deployed at an outfall location alongside a phosphorus detection device, courtesy of a valued CWA partner.

In another significant deployment, a South Korean company introduced an advanced inline biosensor for measuring turbidity, which was strategically placed at several key locations, including a renowned Great Lake research facility.

These deployments are just a glimpse of the testbed's transformative impact, setting a high bar for 2024, which already boasts a waiting list of 40 eager participants. Through these collaborative efforts, Cleveland Water Alliance continues accelerating innovation and new, market-driven solutions in water management, redefining what is possible for the future of water tech.

2023 Open Innovation Challenge: Trailblazing Lead Pipe Detection Solutions

In 2023, Cleveland Water Alliance redefined its Open Innovation Challenge, focusing on the urgent market need for non-invasive lead service line detection. This pivot was a response to the need for capital, prototyping, and mentorship opportunities to advance early-stage innovations.

The challenge successfully attracted exciting solutions from Global Quality Corp., Solinas Technologies, and Utility Technologies, LLC, awarding them $40,000, $25,000, and $10,000, respectively. Their innovations, which ranged from electromagnetic and acoustic methods to advanced sensor technologies, demonstrated remarkable potential in accurately identifying underground pipe materials.

The challenge benefitted from a diverse panel of expert judges from organizations like Greater Cincinnati Water Works and the City of Cleveland Division of Water, ensuring a comprehensive evaluation of the proposals. The winners now have access to key resources, including technical mentoring, testing facilities, and real-world application insights, significantly enhancing the development and potential market readiness of their solutions.

This initiative by Cleveland Water Alliance not only addresses an immediate public health concern but also sets the stage for future innovations in water management technology, demonstrating a proactive approach in tackling environmental challenges.

For more detailed insights, the Cleveland Water Alliance's blog posts on advancing lead detection and the 2023 winners provide further information.

Empowering Partners: CWA's Free Educational Sensor Tech Training Event at Cleveland State University

In May 2023, Cleveland Water Alliance organized a complimentary educational event at Cleveland State University focused on sensor technology training for water management. This unique event, in collaboration with Freeboard Technology, provided valuable educational and networking opportunities to water managers and industry leaders. It featured expert-led sessions from Freeboard's parent company, LimnoTech, and YSI, a global leader in water-sensing instruments, located right here in Ohio.

The conversations and training centered around sensor cleaning and calibration for Northeast Ohio's specific water conditions. This initiative highlighted CWA's dedication to empowering its partners through advanced technology training and implementation.

For more details on this event, visit the Cleveland Water Alliance's blog post.

Showcasing Innovation: CWA's Smart Lake Erie Watershed Tech Roadshow

Cleveland Water Alliance's Smart Lake Erie Watershed Technology Roadshow in January 2023 highlighted cutting-edge IoT water management technologies. The event, featuring demonstrations by LimnoTech and Freeboard Technologies, offered educational and hands-on experiences with sensor technology. Attendees from various backgrounds participated in interactive sessions, learning about LoRaWAN tech and its applications in water monitoring. The roadshow successfully sparked interest in innovative, cost-effective water tech solutions.

For more information, you can read the full article on the Cleveland Water Alliance's website.

CWA Launches the Tech Lending Library

Cleveland Water Alliance launched an exciting new program in 2023: the Tech Lending Library. This innovative ‘try it before you buy it’ program removes financial and adoption barriers by allowing partners to experiment with CWA’s portfolio of advanced water monitoring technologies. It includes various tools like LoRaWAN kits suitable for various environments and customizable sensor kits. To facilitate adoption, Cleveland Water Alliance provides comprehensive training materials, including tutorials and user manuals, ensuring partners can effectively utilize and integrate this technology into their operations.

CWA Attends Water Tech Conferences Around The World

In 2023, Cleveland Water Alliance significantly enhanced its global presence by participating in various international conferences. These included notable events like:WEFTEC in Chicago where we participated in panels about water clusters, water investment, and hosted a CWA Partner Happy Hour with over 40 partners from around the world in attendance.Aqua Business Days in Montpellier, France where we had numerous meetings with emerging global innovation companies.AquaTech in Amsterdam where we participated in a panel on “Accelerating Innovative Sensing and Data Through Water Technology Testbeds.” BlueTech in Edinburgh, Scotland where, as one of the few US based companies in attendance, we connected with innovators from Netherlands to Australia.CIPPO Conference in Cleveland where we hosted a day of panels on topics about the Blue Economy.

These engagements offered CWA a platform to connect with global innovators and leaders in water technology, further elevating its role in the international water conversation. By attending these conferences, CWA demonstrated its commitment to staying at the forefront of water-related innovation and fostering worldwide partnerships in the industry. Further, we built amazing relationships with emerging technology companies who are interested in testing or demonstrating their solutions in our Water Accelerator Testbeds.

Global Partnerships Prioritized

Cleveland Water Alliance actively enhanced its global partnerships in 2023, hosting events such as a partner happy hour at WEFTEC with over 40 international attendees. This event was a significant step in strengthening CWA's cluster and innovation network, showcasing its commitment to fostering collaborative opportunities and accelerating global solutions. These efforts underlined CWA's dedication to building a robust, global network, furthering its mission to drive innovation and develop sustainable water solutions.

Cleveland Water Alliance's endeavors in 2023 epitomized its role as a catalyst for global collaboration in water technology. Through participating in key international conferences and fostering robust partnerships, CWA has not only advanced its own network but also contributed significantly to the global water tech conversation. As CWA continues to nurture these relationships and explore innovative solutions, it paves the way for a more sustainable and technologically advanced future in water management.

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