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Everglades Foundation Starts 4-year $10-million Prize for Algae Bloom Solution Search

Lucy Towers
06 December 2016, at 12:00am

US - In a bold effort to find a solution to one of the world's most challenging environmental problems, The Everglades Foundation will officially kick off its four-year, $10-million George Barley Water Prize at an event on Wednesday, December 7, 2016, at the Miami Science Barge.

The event, "Tapping Innovation: Breakthrough Thinking, Action & Awards" - sponsored by the Knight Foundation, will feature a distinguished group of water experts discussing the problem of excess nutrients, like phosphorus and nitrogen, causing toxic algae blooms, which foul drinking water, drive delicate ecosystems toward collapse, and annually cost the United States between $2.2 billion and $4.6 billion.

The Foundation will also provide attendees a tour of the Miami Science Barge, a floating environmental innovation lab.

The prize competition, named in honor of the late Florida environmentalist George Barley, is designed to incentivize free-market solutions to the increasingly urgent algae bloom problem, which impacted about 15,000 water bodies worldwide in 2016, including those in at least 20 US states.

The George Barley Water Prize marks the largest cash award ever offered in the field of water stewardship and has already attracted 147 teams from around the world, each striving to discover an innovative and cost-effective solution to remove phosphorus from our lakes, rivers and major freshwater bodies.

At the December 7 event, The Foundation will reveal the winners of the first two phases of Stage 1 of the competition - whose technological innovations, thus far only tested on a small scale, could perhaps go on to win the larger prize and ultimately provide the world with a solution that could reverse the environmental damage done to water bodies as large as Lake Erie.

"We are excited to officially kick off this unique opportunity for global impact," said Eric Eikenberg, CEO of The Foundation.

"The world badly needs a solution to this problem. It has eluded governments and private industry, but we know there are some incredibly inventive entrepreneurs out there who want to apply their expertise to this issue. The competition's four-year timetable allows for the development, testing and production of a phosphorus-removal technology that's ready to solve a local-to-global environmental problem. The first two phases of Stage 1 brought many compelling and innovative ideas to the table and we look forward to seeing what the next stage ushers in as the competition progresses."