September 23, 2021

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

The Abdul Latif Jameel H2o and Foodstuff Programs Lab (J-WAFS) just lately introduced the 2021 J-WAFS Remedies grant recipients. The J-WAFS Options system aims to propel MIT drinking water- and meals-connected analysis toward commercialization. Grant recipients obtain a person 12 months of financial guidance, as nicely as mentorship, networking, and advice from business authorities, to begin their journey into the business world — regardless of whether that be in the type of bringing innovative merchandise to market or launching chopping-edge startup businesses. 

This year, a few tasks will get funding throughout water, meals, and agriculture spaces. The profitable assignments will progress nascent technologies for off-grid refrigeration, portable h2o filtration, and dairy waste recycling. Just about every delivers an productive, obtainable solution to the respective problem remaining addressed.

Because the get started of the J-WAFS Methods plan in 2015, grants have presented instrumental guidance in building a selection of key MIT startups that target on major h2o and food stuff problems. A 2015-16 grant aided the staff guiding By using Separations establish their business plan to massively decarbonize industrial separations processes. Other prosperous J-WAFS Alternatives alumni incorporate researchers who made a low-expense drinking water filter manufactured from tree branches and the group that released the startup Xibus Methods, which is acquiring a handheld foodstuff security sensor.

“New technological innovations are currently being manufactured at MIT just about every working day, and J-WAFS Answers grants give essential sources and aid for these technologies to make it to current market so that they can transform our regional and worldwide drinking water and food devices,” says J-WAFS Executive Director Renee Robins. “This year’s grant recipients provide modern tools that will deliver much more available food items storage for smallholder farmers in areas like Africa, safer consuming h2o, and a new tactic to recycling foodstuff waste,” Robins notes. She provides, “J-WAFS is enthusiastic to operate with these teams, and we seem forward to seeing their impression on the water and food items sectors.”

The J-WAFS Alternatives plan is executed in collaboration with Neighborhood Jameel, the world wide philanthropic organization launched by Mohammed Jameel ’78, and is supported by the MIT Venture Mentoring Support and the iCorps New England Regional Innovation Node at MIT.

Mobile evaporative cooling rooms for vegetable preservation

Food stuff squander is a persistent problem across food items programs offer chains, as 30-50 per cent of meals created is misplaced ahead of it reaches the table. The problem is compounded in locations devoid of access to the refrigeration vital to retail outlet foods soon after it is harvested. Warm and dry climates in individual struggle to maintain foods ahead of it reaches individuals. A crew led by Daniel Frey, school director for analysis at MIT D-Lab and professor of mechanical engineering, has pioneered a new tactic to enable farmers to superior preserve their deliver and increase access to healthy foods in the group. The workforce involves Leon Glicksman, professor of building know-how and mechanical engineering, and Eric Verploegen, a research engineer in MIT D-Lab.

Rather of relying on traditional refrigeration with large strength and cost requirements, the workforce is employing pressured-air evaporative cooling chambers. Their style and design, based on retrofitting shipping and delivery containers, will offer a lessen-cost, superior-carrying out resolution enabling farmers to chill their make without having access to energy. The exploration crew was beforehand funded by J-WAFS by way of two different grants in 2019 to acquire the off-grid technological know-how in collaboration with researchers 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 crew will carry out with rural farmers in Kenya and India. The MIT workforce will deploy and test the storage chambers by collaborations with two Kenyan social enterprises and a nongovernmental group in Gujarat, India. 

Off-grid moveable ion focus polarization desalination device

Shrinking aquifers, polluted rivers, and enhanced drought are creating refreshing consuming water ever more scarce, driving the require for improved desalination systems. The water purifiers sector, which was $45 billion in 2019, is expected to grow to $90.1 billion in 2025. Nevertheless, latest goods on the industry are restricted in scope, in that they are created to address water that is by now relatively very low in salinity, and do not account for lead contamination or other specialized worries. A improved remedy is expected to assure access to thoroughly clean and protected consuming drinking water in the encounter of water shortages. 

A staff led by Jongyoon Han, professor of organic engineering and electrical engineering at MIT, has formulated a moveable desalination unit that makes use of an ion focus polarization procedure. The compact and lightweight unit has the skill to clear away dissolved and suspended solids from brackish water at a fee of 1 liter per hour, both in mounted and remote subject configurations. The unit was featured in an award-profitable video in the 2021 J-WAFS World Drinking water Day Online video Competition: MIT Research for a H2o Secure Potential. The team programs to develop the future-generation prototype of the desalination unit along with a mass-manufacturing technique and business design.

Converting dairy marketplace waste into food and feed elements

1 of the trendiest food items in the past 10 years, Greek yogurt, has a concealed dark side: acid whey. This lower-pH, liquid by-product of yogurt output has been a escalating trouble for producers, as untreated disposal of the whey can pose environmental dangers thanks to its higher organic written content and acidic odor.

With an approximated 3 million tons of acid whey created in the United States just about every yr, MIT researchers observed an option to flip waste into a precious source for our foodstuff methods. Led by the Willard Henry Dow Professor in Chemical Engineering, Gregory Stephanopoulos, and Anthony J. Sinskey, professor of microbiology, the researchers are using metabolic engineering to convert acid whey into carotenoids, the yellow and orange organic pigments discovered normally in carrots, autumn leaves, and salmon. The team is hoping that these carotenoids can be used as foodstuff dietary supplements or feed additives to make the most of what or else would have been squandered.