Awardee – FORGE Product Development Grant
Clean water is an increasingly scarce and vital resource. Human and industrial activities are extremely water-intensive, and the demand for more sustainable solutions is growing. Meanwhile, decontaminating water can be costly and wasteful. Traditional methods often use chemicals and produce secondary waste streams that are environmentally harmful. Elateq is an advanced wastewater treatment company with new technology addressing this issue.
Elateq’s unique electrochemical technology simultaneously removes toxic chemicals, metals and pathogens. It can also extract resources and nutrients from the water, all without the use of chemicals. The Elateq system is both cost-effective and energy-efficient compared to alternatives like reverse osmosis. Elateq’s process does not retain any water or produce secondary wastewater, making it a scalable, functional solution to water scarcity.
Based at the Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst, Elateq is one of three recipients of this round of FORGE’s Product Development Grants. This round of the Cleantech Product Development Grants specifically supports startups with leadership identifying as female or non-binary. For Dr. Ljiljana Rajic, co-founder and CSO of Elateq, this type of funding is especially exciting. She says she hopes to see more grants like this one in the future.
The FORGE Product Development Grant will allow Elateq to upgrade and develop part of its current water treatment system. In order to better monitor and control the treatment process, Elateq is upgrading its device. They will use this funding to transform their new and improved device prototype into a user-friendly product. Scaling and commercializing Elateq’s water treatment system will help make clean water more widely sustainable and accessible.
Dr. Rajic co-founded Elateq with an extensive background in electrochemistry and environmental engineering, including 5 years at the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Northeastern University where she co-led the Green Water Remediation Project. She shared that Elateq and FORGE have had an ongoing relationship over the last several years that is much more than just this particular grant.
“In the beginning, FORGE helped us identify who to talk with, in addition to who we already know here in Massachusetts. They also helped us connect with MassMEP when we were applying for other grants and facilitated that relationship.” Dr. Rajic added that this was Elateq’s third time applying for a FORGE grant, saying “When we didn’t get it, we talked with Anya [FORGE’s Sr. Program Manager] and she was very helpful in how to navigate our next proposal. They’ve been great in helping us find our next steps.”
Elateq also presented at the Western Massachusetts Founder Network (WMFN) Demo Day , where they pitched their startup and shared their story with other regional startups and local leaders. FORGE worked with WMFN to support the unique eight-week program leading up to the Demo Day, which was designed to help startups in Western MA scale and gain access to resources. This work included facilitating monthly founder roundtables.
By the numbers
- 90 percent less energy and 80 percent savings on total operating costs compared to Reverse Osmosis
- In 20 years of operation, a 50k GPD Elateq system vs. reverse osmosis
- 1400K gal water saved
- 4K MWh energy saved
- 50 pounds waste saved