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The 3rd Climate Adaptation StartUp Ranking

Billboards are akin to Climate Change – omnipresent in various shapes and colors, eye-catching and evident, yet it often takes several encounters to truly grasp and understand the message.

This month's #adaptation start-up ranking focuses on drought, a formidable challenge of our era. Desertification is encroaching, rivers are dwindling, and crops are perishing - drought stands as one of our greatest adversaries. The United Nations, through its World Water Development Report, alerts us that "Half of the world's population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025," with today witnessing up to three billion people already facing this "future" for at least one month annually. The repercussions are dire: hunger, poverty, displacement, and conflict, all amid an escalating demand for water.

Yet, hope is on the horizon. Novel technologies and groundbreaking methods are carving pathways toward resilience. In our 3rd ranking, I've curated a varied assortment of palpable solutions, ranging from early warning systems to high & low-tech innovations capable of generating water from sunlight or even the air. Indeed, such revelations would make you do a double-take if displayed on a billboard!

Imagine if your photovoltaic (PV) panels could produce water instead of electricity, granting millions access to this vital resource. Source Global, based in Arizona, brings this seemingly fantastical idea to life with their water-generating panels that function independently of additional electricity, solely utilizing solar power. Each panel can supply enough potable water for at least two individuals, offering a sustainable avenue to clean drinking water in regions with scant infrastructure or limited access to safe water.


Prompt responses to wildfires are already saving lives, and their significance is poised to amplify in the future, with a projected +30% increase in fires by 2050, according to UNEP. InsightRobotics, originating from Hong Kong, has developed a 24/7 early wildfire detection system powered by AI-assisted thermal and smoke detection. Their product, InsightFD, is an all-encompassing detection station equipped with cameras and advanced electro-optical and infrared sensors, integrated with an AI algorithm adept at identifying thermal anomalies and smoke presence in the environment. By merging these technologies, Insight Robotics has established itself as a trailblazer in the realm of early wildfire detection systems.


3.      Aqualonis

Why passively await the release of life-sustaining water from clouds when we can actively harvest it without depending on power or sophisticated technology? Aqualonis, a Munich-based firm, has devised a solution involving nets mounted on mountains or hills that capture moisture from clouds or fog, condensing it into tiny water droplets. This approach offers an efficacious means of supplying water to arid mountain regions, empowering local communities to adequately irrigate their crops.

"With the current trajectory, we will need to produce 56% more food in 2050 than we did in 2010," states the World Resource Institute. This daunting goal is unattainable without fostering a more resilient and sustainable agriculture capable of withstanding an array of emerging threats. A significant menace to our food security is the impact of drought and heat, inducing abiotic stress that, according to recent research from Mendel University in Brno, Czech Republic, can slash yields by over 60% compared to record outputs. BioConsortia, hailing from California, allies with nature by employing beneficial plant-associated microbes to bolster plants' resilience and enhance crop yields, a process they've dubbed "biostimulant." By tapping into the potential of beneficial microbes, BioConsortia delivers eco-friendly solutions aimed at securing food sustainability in a shifting climate.


Contrary to fertile terrain, urban landscapes frequently lack water retention capabilities, necessitating an ingenious sponge-like concept. FieldFactor, a Dutch startup, addresses this need with BlueBloqs, their innovative solution that enables the simultaneous tackling of urban flooding and drought by capturing and storing up to 95% of all rainwater that falls on a project site for later reuse. This system rejuvenates the urban water cycle through biofiltration, storage in a central hub, and redistribution as needed, effectively mitigating drought periods in cities, provided there is an average sufficiency of water.


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