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Identifying Technologies to Reduce Nutrient Pollution 

Our client, a philanthropic investor, works to improve ocean health through technology, policy, and science. The group is concerned about the increasing impact of wastewater and fecal sludge-derived nutrient pollution on aquatic ecosystems. Our client wanted to better understand existing and emerging nutrient treatment technologies to inform their investment decisions.

To baseline their investment thesis, our client needed to understand state-of-the-art nutrient treatment technologies and barriers to scaling globally. We engaged with industry experts and conducted a global technology search to help our client understand:

  • cost, performance, benefits, and limitations of leading technology solutions,
  • policy, cost, and operational challenges facing users, and
  • volumetric scale and technology areas ripe for philanthropic investment impact.

Using this research, we worked with our client to down-select to three emerging technology areas: algae-, electrochemical-, and membrane-based treatment. We explored these areas in the context of intermediate-scale treatment plants, as they have a strong, underserved need for inexpensive and simple nutrient treatment solutions.

To ensure our client understood potential investment opportunities, we:

  • identified emerging research groups and private companies that offer promising technologies, and
  • conducted interviews to clarify technologies and growth plans.

Using our insights, our client prioritized nutrient technology opportunities and investments in their portfolio. Further, we published our findings to ensure that our research would catalyze other beneficial investments and partnerships across the sector.

Access the report that highlights our findings.

Technology Opportunities for Improved Nutrient Removal from Human Waste.


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