Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Agriwater’s Electrolysis Technology Treats Animal Waste and Reduces Greenhouse Gases


Agriwater’s Electrolysis Technology Treats Animal Waste and Reduces Greenhouse Gases
Animal waste in the U.S. weighs over a thousand times more than the Empire State Building every year, and its greenhouse gases can have a significant impact on the planet. But what if there was a way to treat the wastewater to help reduce carbon emissions?
This is the goal of Bianca Bailey, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Agriwater, a company that is developing electrolysis-based technology to treat wastewater. Agriwater was founded in 2021 by Bailey, who was completing her Ph.D. in agricultural engineering at the University of Illinois. Her technology removes contaminants from wastewater, which is often stored in dangerous lagoons that can contaminate nearby water sources and create unpleasant odors for nearby residents and farmers. “It becomes a social justice issue when it relates to people who live around these areas who can’t have clean air,” Bailey said. She also noted that farmers who do not manage animal waste properly can face fines from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Her innovative technology not only reduces the risk of pollution and greenhouse gases, but also creates clean water for reuse and recycling. Bailey has participated in various business accelerator programs to advance her technology. In 2022, Agriwater joined the Innovations Crossroads Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lab-Embedded Entrepreneurship Program (LEEP). This two-year program will allow Agriwater to work on commercializing its technology with the help of lab space and mentorship from Oak Ridge Laboratory in Tennessee.
“We’ve proven out the technology on a small scale, and now we’re looking to scale the technology from inside the lab to on-site at a farm,” said Bailey.
Bailey is the winner of the 2023 U.S. Bank Foundation Cleantech Inclusion Award, which supports female and minority entrepreneurs who are building innovative companies that benefit the environment, create jobs and drive economic development. The U.S. Bank Foundation partners with Evergreen Climate Innovations to present the award, which includes a $25,000 grant and a year of mentorship. The funding will help Agriwater conduct its first industrial-size pilot with farms.
“Entrepreneurs like Bailey, who tackle big challenges with such drive and passion, are working to build a more sustainable future for all of us,” said Reba Dominski, chief social responsibility officer at U.S. Bank and president of the U.S. Bank Foundation.
“We are proud to support Agriwater as it continues to refine its technology and expand the scale of its business.” 
“We’re excited to continue our work with U.S. Bank Foundation to support early-stage startups working on solutions for environmental and social impact,” said Erik Birkerts, chief executive officer at Evergreen Climate Innovations.
“We look forward to working with Agriwater and supporting their vision of creating a closed-loop water system for livestock farmers that yields an array of environmental, social and economic benefits.”
Agriwater is Bailey’s first commercial venture, but her interest in water treatment began years ago as an undergraduate studying chemical engineering at Howard University. She led the campus Engineers Without Borders chapter and worked on a student-led water-filtration project in a small village in Kenya. This work, along with her involvement in Girls Inc. as a student and mentor, led to recognition from the White House Champions of Change program in 2011 for helping to recruit and retain girls and women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Her goal is to create a more sustainable environment for the children of the future as they will be, in her words, “stewards of the Earth.”