Thursday, July 30, 2009

Investing in water's future...

I Googled 'the future of water' the other day to see the results. Mostly for news articles and of course I found many. I invite you to do the same thing if you are so inclined.

Wanted to share some bits from one particular article from 2008 found at titled Inventing Water's Future. It is a quick read but I'll copy and past a couple of parts...

In 2006, General Electric acquired Zenon Environmental, an advanced water-filtration maker, for nearly $700 million. Although GE's water business accounts for less than 2% of the behemoth's annual revenue, water figures prominently in the company's long-term growth strategy.

By effectively outsourcing innovation in clean technology to small start-ups, GE has convinced venture capitalists to invest in water technologies. As a result, venture capital firms like Toronto's XPV Capital have placed big bets on innovative water start-ups on the assumption that they will be future targets for industry giants like GE as scarcity, climate change and energy prices increase the value of water. The amount of money invested in water and wastewater technologies in the U.S. rose a whopping 436% between 2006 and 2007, according to the Cleantech Group, an environmental industry association.

My emphasis above. You see folks there is money being thrown around in the hopes of providing solutions for water issues. While the above does not specifically speak to the 'creation' of water (the problem we face with depleting aquifers), if there is a problem there likely is an investor that can help.

Another bit...

In processes where water use is hard to reduce, companies have sought to increase the yield produced for every unit of water consumed. For example Ecovation, a New York water-filtration start-up acquired by St. Paul, Minn.-based Ecolab (nyse: ECL - news - people ) in February for $210 million, develops energy-efficient water treatment systems for food and beverage companies.

In 2005, Ecovation designed a waste treatment facility for Breyers Yogurt that transforms wastewater into methane-based gas using a thin-film separation technology. That gas can then be burned to provide energy for the plant.

Sounds like killing a couple of birds with one investment to me. I haven't been around all that long, but I have to wonder if we were thinking of these things 50 years ago?? Therefore, what will solutions look like in another 50 years??

If we continue to try and scare away investment and opportunity (like some are doing their darndest to do around here), it won't look any different and all we'll have left are depleting aquifers.

One more from the web page where I got this article...

Veolia Water, a division of France's Veolia Environment, is the world's largest provider of water services in terms of revenue, which reached nearly $17 billion in 2007. Veolia recently won the first water services contract ever awarded to a private operator in Saudi Arabia. Veolia will build one of the world's largest desalination plants in Saudi Arabia, which will provide water to Jubail Industrial City and the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. The six-year contract has an estimated value of roughly $60 million and will eventually provide water to roughly 4.5 million people.

Just a guess here, but I bet the aquifers in Saudi Arabia are depleting too (if they even exist in the first place).

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