The problem: clean, fresh water — it’s one of three basic needs for survival and it’s becoming an increasingly scarce resource. Water stress is a growing global concern, with approximately 2.1 billion people without access to clean drinking water at home. Facing such a growing issue world-wide, we seek to identify investment opportunities that bridge the nexus between private capital and a distinct impact opportunity, and as such we’re excited to highlight one of our private market companies: Zero Mass Water.
Founded in 2014 by Cody Friesen, Zero Mass Water’s vision is on water independence and reinventing drinking water. The technology solution to fulfill this vision is SOURCE, which is a solar-powered and infrastructure-free drinking water technology that comes in the form of a hydropanel (see image on the right). While the technology for the SOURCE hydropanel may be complex, the inputs for clean drinkable water are simple: Sun + Air = Water. The hydropanel uses solar power to pull water vapor from the air and transform it into clean drinking water.
SOURCE hydropanels are currently utilized in more than 30 countries worldwide, and the applications and market opportunities continue to grow as aging infrastructures and increased water scarcity show few signs of abating. What’s more, the technology also carries with it many ancillary benefits, including the reduction of single use plastic bottles, which are a tremendous blight on the environment. The statistics are staggering, with the world using over one million plastic bottles a minute. Two SOURCE hydropanels would not only provide clean drinking water for a family, but would also be the equivalent of removing 100,000 plastic bottles from the environment.
The applications for the technology are immense. The utilization of the SOURCE technology for disaster relief has been a focus for Friesen and the Zero Mass team. Whether drought, hurricane, or other natural disaster, the deployment of their arrays provides clean drinking water to those in need when most vulnerable.
Mr. Friesen’s strides and success have not gone unnoticed. In September of this year, he was awarded the 2019 Lemelson-MIT Price in recognition of social, economic, and environmentally sustaining inventions. “‘At the end of the day, our work is about impact,’” says Friesen, “’and this recognition propels us forward as we deploy SOURCE Hydropanels to change the human relationship to water across the globe.’”
by Chris Van Dyke, CFA, CAIA, Senior Investment Advisor
Sources: “U.S. Stock Market is Biggest & Most Expensive in World, but U.S. Economy is Not the Most Productive,” by Ron Surz; Nasdaq; April 2, 2018 “60 Stock Market Statisitcs & Facts for 2019”; Lexington Law; January 1, 2019