Young companies leading the way on clean technologies

By Tom Still, Wisconsin Technology Council via Wisconsin State Journal

At the latest “First Look Forum” produced by three of Milwaukee’s leading research universities, three of the six presenting research teams offered solutions to cleaning water — from drinking water at home and abroad to untreated sewage discharges often triggered by storms.

It was a fitting reminder during Earth Week 2021 that some of the best remedies for environmental challenges can stem from innovative research and young companies that put ideas to work. Market forces often produce results more efficiently than “big government” regulation.

The April 21 First Look Forum involved researchers with ties to UW-Milwaukee, Marquette University and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Each researcher or team made a seven-minute presentation and took questions from a panel of early-stage experts.

Milwaukee’s reputation as a center for water research and company formation stood out during the two-hour event.

It featured one Marquette-based startup company — Rapid Radicals, which aims to quickly treat sanitary sewer overflows — and two other ideas that may soon find commercial traction. Those ideas included UW-Milwaukee water filtration research for removing lead from drinking water while maintaining healthy metal ions, and a second UWM-born plan to use a novel ceramic filter to cleanse drinking water of bacteria, virus and arsenic, which is sometimes found in drinking water.

It only makes sense that such ideas are percolating up in Milwaukee, where the UW-Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences works on solving real-world problems and Marquette’s Water Quality Center does similar work, often working in cross-disciplinary ways with engineers and chemists as well as private companies through networks such as The Water Council.

Whether it’s clean water, solar energy, eco-friendly materials, better power sources, forest management tools, improved farming methods or even consumer products, young Wisconsin companies are a part of the mix. Read more …