In the face of climate change and the growing water scarcity crisis, innovative solutions are needed to provide access to clean and sustainable water sources.
SkyH2O, a California-based company, is taking on this challenge with a groundbreaking approach: atmospheric water generation (AWG). With plans to build its first full-scale water generation plants in the Houston area, SkyH2O is poised to make a significant impact in the world of water sustainability.
In this article, we’ll delve into how SkyH2O is partnering with Chicago-based Return on Good to raise funds for its Texas operations and the exciting potential of AWG technology.
The Genesis of SkyH2O
SkyH2O was founded by Alexander von Welczeck, a serial entrepreneur who previously sold his San Francisco-based solar power company to Houston-based NRG Energy Inc. in 2011. Recognizing that while there were abundant energy solutions, the world faced a dire shortage of clean water, von Welczeck shifted his focus to addressing this critical issue.
In an interview with Houston Inno, von Welczeck said, “There’s no shortage of energy. The question is, who can produce it faster and cheaper? Water, there’s a huge shortage.”
Indeed, approximately 3.2 billion people are affected by the global water stress crisis, and this number is expected to rise in the coming years.
SkyH2O’s response to this water crisis is rooted in atmospheric water generation (AWG). This technology harnesses the moisture present in the atmosphere and converts it into fresh, healthy drinking water. As the climate crisis intensifies, the manifestations of water scarcity become increasingly profound, making AWG a critical solution for the future.
AWG technology capitalizes on the simple yet brilliant principle that a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. By drawing water from the air, SkyH2O effectively tackles the water scarcity problem. The company is committed to advancing and scaling AWG for larger commercial, industrial, and government applications while maintaining a strong commitment to environmental responsibility.
Scaling Up: SkyH2O’s Ambitious Projects
SkyH2O’s AWG projects are substantial endeavors. The most effective projects generate from 50,000 to 500,000 liters per day (LPD) of fresh, healthy water. These large-scale water generation plants will have a significant impact on water sustainability and accessibility.
By selecting the Houston area for its inaugural Stations, SkyH2O is not only addressing a pressing need but also leveraging the unique environmental conditions of the region to maximize water generation.
Central to SkyH2O’s mission is the construction of atmospheric water generation plants, aptly named “Stations.” The first two Stations will be established in Dickinson and Angleton, Texas, with the Dickinson location expected to generate over 30,000 gallons of drinkable water daily. This water will be bottled and sold on-site, allowing customers to access fresh, clean water right at the source.
These Stations are not just about water generation; they are designed to be multifunctional spaces. SkyH2O envisions them as hubs for sustainability. In addition to offering water, these Stations will feature electric vehicle charging facilities, delivery services for water, and a range of other amenities. The company is even exploring partnerships with retailers to sell its water in stores, making clean water more accessible to a broader audience.
Capitalizing on Houston’s Humidity
The much-maligned humidity of Houston, typically seen as a discomfort by its residents, becomes a unique advantage for SkyH2O. Atmospheric water generation relies on drawing water from the air, and locations with higher humidity levels are ideal for this technology. Houston, where average humidity ranges from 70% to 80%, offers the potential for generating up to 3,000 gallons of water daily.
It’s not just Houston that benefits from this atmospheric water generation technology. SkyH2O has garnered interest from investors in regions with similar humidity levels, such as Saudi Arabia. This international appeal highlights the global significance of the technology and the need for sustainable water solutions.
SkyH2O’s journey has been bolstered by its partnership with Greentown Labs, a climate tech incubator located in Houston. This incubator offers unique advantages due to its strong support from industrial players, including Chevron, Shell, and Aramco.
Alexander von Welczeck expresses his admiration for Greentown Labs, calling it “the best of all these different types of incubators.” Unlike many other incubators across the country, Greentown Labs boasts significant resources and genuine industrial involvement. This collaborative environment provides SkyH2O with valuable support and opportunities for growth in the climate technology sector.
Greentown Labs continues to strengthen its leadership team, which now includes former Department of Energy Chief of Staff Kevin Knobloch as its new permanent CEO. The Houston location has also appointed former corporate venture capital investor Timmeko Moore Love to fill the newly created position of general manager. These developments further underscore the incubator’s commitment to fostering innovation in climate technology.
Purposeful Investment Opportunities
One distinctive aspect of SkyH2O’s approach is that its Stations also serve as investment vehicles. The company is in the process of raising a $20 million Series A round, with $6.5 million already secured. Investors have the opportunity not only to support the company but to fund the construction of an individual Station, each valued at $25 million. This approach aligns with SkyH2O’s goal of expanding rapidly, with plans to have 100 Stations operating in the United States by 2027, including six to eight in the Houston area.
Alexander von Welczeck emphasizes that SkyH2O is open to a diverse range of Qualified Investors, including those who can contribute smaller amounts as well as larger strategic investors. With this flexible approach, the company can accommodate a broad spectrum of supporters.
Partnering with Return on Good
An exciting chapter in SkyH2O’s story is its partnership with Chicago-based Return on Good, a platform dedicated to connecting impact-driven companies with investors and capital. This strategic collaboration will allow SkyH2O to raise funds for its Texas operations, bringing atmospheric water generation one step closer to becoming a reality in the Houston area.
Return on Good is renowned for its dedication to driving positive change through investment. By partnering with SkyH2O, the platform further solidifies its mission of supporting companies that make a tangible difference in addressing global challenges.
The partnership between SkyH2O and Return on Good marks an important milestone in the journey to secure access to clean and sustainable water sources.
The technology of atmospheric water generation is a game-changer in combating water scarcity, and the commitment of these two organizations to advance this technology is commendable.
As SkyH2O prepares to build its first full-scale water generation plants in the Houston area, it’s clear that innovation and collaboration will play a crucial role in shaping the future of water sustainability.
With the support of investors, partners like Return on Good, and the conducive environmental conditions of regions like Houston, SkyH2O is poised to make a substantial impact in providing fresh, healthy water for communities and businesses.