J-WAFS announces 2021 Solutions Grants for commercializing water and food technologies | MIT News

Cortez Deacetis

The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Foods Techniques Lab (J-WAFS) lately announced the 2021 J-WAFS Methods grant recipients. The J-WAFS Alternatives plan aims to propel MIT water- and meals-connected research toward commercialization. Grant recipients get just one 12 months of fiscal help, as very well as mentorship, networking, and advice from sector professionals, to start out their journey into the business entire world — no matter if that be in the form of bringing innovative products and solutions to marketplace or launching slicing-edge startup providers. 

This yr, three initiatives will acquire funding throughout drinking water, food, and agriculture spaces. The winning projects will advance nascent technologies for off-grid refrigeration, moveable h2o filtration, and dairy squander recycling. Every presents an successful, available option to the respective challenge staying dealt with.

Given that the begin of the J-WAFS Answers program in 2015, grants have supplied instrumental help in producing a quantity of essential MIT startups that target on key water and food worries. A 2015-16 grant assisted the crew powering By means of Separations develop their business plan to massively decarbonize industrial separations procedures. Other productive J-WAFS Alternatives alumni include researchers who designed a minimal-charge drinking water filter designed from tree branches and the workforce that released the startup Xibus Devices, which is producing a handheld foods basic safety sensor.

“New technological advances are becoming manufactured at MIT just about every day, and J-WAFS Solutions grants give significant resources and assistance for these systems to make it to sector so that they can rework our neighborhood and world-wide h2o and food stuff systems,” says J-WAFS Govt Director Renee Robins. “This year’s grant recipients offer you modern applications that will supply far more accessible food items storage for smallholder farmers in sites like Africa, safer consuming drinking water, and a new technique to recycling foodstuff squander,” Robins notes. She provides, “J-WAFS is energized to get the job done with these groups, and we seem forward to viewing their impact on the water and meals sectors.”

The J-WAFS Answers system is carried out in collaboration with Community Jameel, the worldwide philanthropic business founded by Mohammed Jameel ’78, and is supported by the MIT Venture Mentoring Company and the iCorps New England Regional Innovation Node at MIT.

Mobile evaporative cooling rooms for vegetable preservation

Food items waste is a persistent dilemma across food programs offer chains, as 30-50 per cent of food stuff produced is missing before it reaches the table. The problem is compounded in locations with out obtain to the refrigeration important to retail store foods immediately after it is harvested. Sizzling and dry climates in certain wrestle to maintain food items right before it reaches consumers. A workforce led by Daniel Frey, faculty director for investigate at MIT D-Lab and professor of mechanical engineering, has pioneered a new approach to enable farmers to superior maintain their develop and strengthen access to healthy food items in the group. The group includes Leon Glicksman, professor of creating engineering and mechanical engineering, and Eric Verploegen, a investigation engineer in MIT D-Lab.

Rather of relying on regular refrigeration with superior electricity and cost demands, the crew is making use of forced-air evaporative cooling chambers. Their style and design, based on retrofitting transport containers, will provide a reduce-expense, superior-accomplishing resolution enabling farmers to chill their produce without having entry to power. The investigate staff was earlier funded by J-WAFS via two different grants in 2019 to produce the off-grid technological know-how in collaboration with scientists at the College of Nairobi and the Collectives for Built-in Livelihood Initiatives (CInI), Jamshedpur. Now, the cooling rooms are ready for pilot screening, which the MIT team will conduct with rural farmers in Kenya and India. The MIT group will deploy and test the storage chambers via collaborations with two Kenyan social enterprises and a nongovernmental organization in Gujarat, India. 

Off-grid moveable ion focus polarization desalination unit

Shrinking aquifers, polluted rivers, and greater drought are producing new drinking h2o significantly scarce, driving the will need for improved desalination technologies. The water purifiers industry, which was $45 billion in 2019, is expected to increase to $90.1 billion in 2025. Even so, current merchandise on the industry are restricted in scope, in that they are built to handle h2o that is now somewhat minimal in salinity, and do not account for guide contamination or other complex difficulties. A far better resolution is essential to be certain obtain to clean up and safe and sound drinking water in the confront of h2o shortages. 

A team led by Jongyoon Han, professor of biological engineering and electrical engineering at MIT, has made a portable desalination unit that utilizes an ion concentration polarization procedure. The compact and light-weight unit has the means to remove dissolved and suspended solids from brackish drinking water at a rate of one liter for every hour, each in installed and remote subject options. The unit was showcased in an award-profitable online video in the 2021 J-WAFS Entire world Water Working day Video Levels of competition: MIT Investigate for a Drinking water Safe Future. The team plans to produce the up coming-generation prototype of the desalination unit along with a mass-production tactic and business model.

Converting dairy business squander into meals and feed components

Just one of the trendiest meals in the very last decade, Greek yogurt, has a concealed dark facet: acid whey. This reduced-pH, liquid by-item of yogurt production has been a escalating issue for producers, as untreated disposal of the whey can pose environmental pitfalls due to its significant organic articles and acidic odor.

With an approximated 3 million tons of acid whey generated in the United States every yr, MIT researchers observed an possibility to switch squander into a important useful resource for our food stuff systems. Led by the Willard Henry Dow Professor in Chemical Engineering, Gregory Stephanopoulos, and Anthony J. Sinskey, professor of microbiology, the researchers are utilizing metabolic engineering to switch acid whey into carotenoids, the yellow and orange organic pigments identified the natural way in carrots, autumn leaves, and salmon. The group is hoping that these carotenoids can be utilized as meals dietary supplements or feed additives to make the most of what otherwise would have been wasted.

Next Post

Helping underrepresented doctoral students of color thrive in the broader MIT community | MIT News

The MIT University Center for Exemplary Mentoring (UCEM) was started in 2015 with an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant that facilities on the recruitment, retention, and educational results of underrepresented doctoral college students of colour in 5 parts within just the University of Engineering: the departments of Biological Engineering, Chemical […]