A. O. Smith, The Water Council announce BREW Corporate technology challenge winner


9/19/2016

Milwaukee, Wis.— A. O. Smith Corporation and The Water Council have  selected SofTap Water Inc. of Cincinnati, Ohio as the 2016 winner of the BREW Corporate: Powered by A. O. Smith challenge. 

SofTap Water’s unique water-softening technology utilizes a proprietary, passive filtration system to remove dissolved calcium and magnesium bicarbonates that form scale in drinking and industrial water systems.  In addition to softening, this technology also provides water filtration benefits including the removal of endotoxins, viruses, bacteria, cysts, polysaccharides, colloids, iron, manganese, sub-micron particles, and trace pharmaceuticals. The company’s motto is simple: to reuse, recycle and regenerate. 

“Unlike other water treatment and softening products on the market, SofTap Water’s unique filter combines the best of both worlds, reducing waste while cleaning and softening water. We’re excited about the potential possibilities to partner with the SofTap Water team alongside our engineers at the Corporate Technology Center and the Global Water Center,” notes Dr. Robert Heideman, chief technology officer at A. O. Smith Corporation. 

The SofTap Water team, which includes: Inventor Rakesh Govind and Managing Directors Patrick Hayes and Doug Dennis has developed this new water-softening technology under license from its parent holding company PRD Tech, Inc.  

SofTap Water technology is expected to offer superior softening performance at a price that makes the technology affordable to a much larger market than traditional softening methods. The system can be sized from residential point of use to commercial and large industrial applications. The technology is simpler and more cost-effective than other softening systems that use zeolites, which have to be regenerated using brine or membrane nanofiltration that requires significant pumping costs, water usage, and chemical additives. 

“Our vision to be the globally connected epicenter of freshwater research, innovation, education, and business development is central to developing entrepreneurs such as the SofTap Water team. We anticipate their new unique technology will be a catalyst in helping to reduce the amount of water that’s wasted by many products that soften and treat water in the market today,” says Dean Amhaus, president and CEO at The Water Council.  

The Business, Research, Entrepreneurship in Wisconsin (BREW) Corporate challenge focused on three areas of interest to A. O. Smith: water purification, water heating, and sensors. The challenge delivered more than one dozen viable applicants. 

“Ultimately all entries were reviewed by a panel of A. O. Smith employees, The Water Council senior staff, and subject matter experts in the area of freshwater science. SofTap Water was the overall leader, and we felt it was the best investment for both A. O. Smith and The Water Council,” Heideman continued. 

The SofTap Water team will receive an investment of $50,000 in the form of a note from A. O. Smith, as well as tuition to participate in The Water Council’s 12-month accelerator program in Milwaukee.  In addition to the investment, the winning entrepreneurs will receive: 

  • A suite in the Global Water Center for up to 12 months;
  • Business model and operations training through The Water Council and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Institute for Water Business;
  • Access to faculty and students from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee School for Freshwater Sciences and Marquette University;
  • Access to the Global Water Center’s Flow Lab and A. O. Smith product engineering labs;
  • Mentorship from A. O. Smith corporate development and senior engineering staff, as well as direct access to BREW Preferred Partners;
  • Attendance to conferences and pitch sessions with The Water Council; and
  • A one-year membership to The Water Council providing access to an extensive water technology network.

About BREW Accelerator
BREW Accelerator, a program of The Water Council, is a world-class seed accelerator that unleashes water innovation by funding water technology startups with commercialization potential. The first-of-its-kind accelerator pairs a unique water-focused startup community with credible resources of the World Water Hub to help entrepreneurs from around the world accelerate results. Now in its fourth year, BREW has sponsored a total of 20 freshwater technology companies. An expansion of the BREW Accelerator program, BREW Corporate, partners with global corporations looking for new technologies to solve a specific challenge. 

About PRD Tech, Inc.
PRD Tech, Inc. is a research and development corporation based in Cincinnati, Ohio specializing in biological treatment processes for water, wastewater, air, and soil applications.  For water and wastewater applications, PRD Tech maintains a portfolio of products, patents, and processes focusing on energy-efficient and cost effective solutions for advanced treatment needs that enable water re-use to reduce net consumption of fresh water.  These technologies include patented applications for nutrient removal, desalination, degassing, and advanced decentralized wastewater treatment.  The company was recently recognized by the U.S. EPA for its unique Nutrient Recovery Process that can remove nitrogen and phosphorus from wastewaters more effectively than traditional means. 

About The Water Council
The Water Council was established in 2009 by Milwaukee-area businesses and education and government leaders. The nonprofit organization, consisting of more than 180 members, links together global water technology companies, innovative water entrepreneurs, acclaimed academic research programs and, most importantly, some of the nation’s brightest and most energetic water professionals. The Water Council is capturing the attention of the world and transforming the Milwaukee region into a World Water Hub for freshwater research, economic development and education. For more information, visit www.thewatercouncil.com