Erie Hack Semi Finalists Announced

Semi-Finalist teams will compete at the Sustainable Brands Conference in Detroit on June 5th!To learn more about each team and vote for them in the Cleveland Water Alliance People's Choice Award, click here.


Engineers for a Sustainable World 

Solar MAP, or Solar Marine Autonomous Platform, is an innovative and adaptable solution to Lake Erie’s data problems. Creating an ideal drone platform, Solar MAP allows for the capture of water quality data that is tailored to fit the needs of the location. This solution will allow areas to test for water quality data that is relevant to them and allows for the production of data visuals that make information easy to understand and accessible. This was designed by undergraduate students at the University at Buffalo representing the organization Engineers for A Sustainable World. 


CazWest is a team of Buffalo innovators that have developed SMS-based chatbots and analytical dashboards to help decentralize the process of storm and wastewater data collection. Their toolkit, “The Wastewater Warehouse,” allows individuals, businesses, and governments to access, explore, and participate in the collection and management of data related to wastewater. Access links visitors to relevant state and local data resources. Explore allows individuals to visualize and interact with those datasets through dashboards. Participate encourages concerned citizens to engage in the ongoing management, creation, and curation of data. 



CLE AI is a team of Artificial Intelligence enthusiasts from the Cleveland AI Meetup that is tackling a Mini-Challenge put out by NOAA GLERL. They are using machine learning technology to automate the output of environmental sampling processors, the best current device for analyzing harmful algae toxicity in the field. The team is interested in scaling their work into a broader plan for visual water quality data.  

Copper Silver 

Copper Silver is a Team of Erie Hack 2017 Semi-Finalists that return to pitch their environmentally-friendly and market-ready solution to water treatment in HVAC systems. Their goal is for this technology, which uses sustainable applied physics instead of chemicals, to become the industry standard saving millions of gallons water. The technology also prevents microbiological contamination, including the deadly legionella bacteria, and generates significant economic benefits through energy conservation. 

CWRU Submersible 

CWRU Submersible has developed a low-cost submersible device that collects water samples at discrete depths, runs preliminary tests on each sample and transmits the data back to a research lab on the surface. Their vision is to implement a network of these nodes to provide substantial and dynamic data about the health of Lake Erie. Their device addresses the issue of time consuming, cumbersome research by automating testing processes and organizing data in a accessible way. 


Erie-Duction is a team of John Carroll students using is a phosphorus filtration system that will be implemented into farm drainage tiles. We will build wing walls around these drainage tiles and implement a replaceable porous block which acts as a membrane for ochre, a clay like mineral from runoff of coal mining sites. Ochre has been proven in many different scientific trials to capture phosphorus from contaminated water. They hope to use it to collect the phosphorus directly from farms, one of the major sources since phosphorus is used as a fertilizer. 


Eriesponsible is a team of Lake Erie enthusiasts that love the lake and its bounties. They have taken it upon themselves to bear some responsibility for the cleanliness and general wellbeing of this resource, its harbors, and tributaries. Improving the water quality of the beaches, marinas and harbors will in turn improve the health and beauty of the Lake overall. By engaging recreational users, marinas, and industries with their social media marketing campaign and open-source, DIY debris-capturing device, the team aim’s to create a social movement to be “eriesponsible.” 


The goal of Team S4 to reduce nutrient loading into bodies of water that experience harmful algal blooms (HABs) by addressing the problem at the source: fertilizers applied to agricultural fields. Team S4 will build an automated spectroscopic robot to analyze phosphorous and nitrogen concentrations in agricultural drainage ditches, buffer zones, and cover crops. The resulting 3D chemical maps will enable optimization of these nutrient traps. Team S4 addresses nutrient loading with a proactive and ecologically safe management plan that would give farmers agency in being part of the HAB solution. 


TACSO=Trap and Contain Stormwater Objects is good riddance to trash going into Lake Erie! After a storm, our highways, streets, parking lots send huge amounts of stormwater that ends up in our lake. Storm sewers pass on filthy waste, animal parts, plastic, deadly used opioid needles right into our waterways. For communities adjacent to Lake Erie, all this junk washes up our beaches. An eyesore, a heath hazard, our invention is 'let's trap this crap' with a unique trap invention. TACSO contains and removes this junk at the onset. 


The water coming from your faucet should be safe, but every year the green tide poisons more of our water supply. Team VOL is a team of Cleveland State Students building a social movement to save Lake Erie. They are making a platform, a community, and a large distributed network of volunteers that can quickly mobilize around environmental and social issues. The result is a more connected community, a scalable business platform, and an uptick in local beach cleanups and citizen science. 


Yeah Buoy! 

Yeah Buoy is a team of Wayne State students killing algae, one frequency at a time. They are implementing an ultrasonic solution to the biggest problem that the lake faces, with environmentally-friendly solutions that can be implemented now. They leverage ultrasonic frequencies to become mobile algae-killing platforms. Their solar-powered buoys have motor-driven mobility and environmental resilience. 


Nemo is a team of Detroit-based IoT experts are developing a new class of smart sensors for water quality monitoring that will be fully equipped with state of the art machine learning algorithms running on the backend to optimize everything from the network traffic to the processing of real time data. Although they are robust, current water water monitoring solutions are extremely expensive and clunky. The team aims to modularize and enhance current solutions, incorporate dynamic sleep protocol to find the optimal interval for sensors to send data on to help battery life, and to use low-cost open source hardware to increase quality testing sites across water bodies. 


ESSRE RePleNish 

ESSRE RePleNish is a Pennsylvania startup that is using commercially available nanocomposites to measure, monitor, model and mitigate nutrient pollution in Lake Erie urban watersheds one by one. Nanocomposites will be deployed in lake water and in on-shore soils to measure, monitor, and model bioavailable P in 2D or 3D visual mapping. For Erie Hack, the HABs impacted area of Presque Isle State Park will be measured and monitored for dissolved P flux and the data will be mapped with existing water quality monitoring (e.g., DO) to develop a better HABs predictor. 



PlexNet is a company focusing on environmental innovation through the use of robotics. They will use their "AL" robotic system to remove the abundance of nutrients and toxins from our fresh water systems. By using an organic medium, this system will be able to mitigate the nutrient and toxin load present in lakes and fresh water systems thus preventing toxic algae blooms. This system can also help reduce the chemical treatment cost of water that most cities must pay each year in order to prevent algae from showing up in their drinking water. With the AL system, cities will be able to decrease their usage of chemicals for water treatment, remove harmful toxins, and prevent algae blooms from happening. 

Lead-ing the Way

Lead is not present in water that leaves water treatment plants or in the water mains running beneath the streets. When present, lead service lines that connect homes and businesses to water systems, and lead solder in plumbing or fixtures can dissolve, especially in hot water, or particles can break off when plumbing is disturbed and wind up at the tap. This team's proposal is to pilot technology to offer consumers who have lead lines and plumbing additional confirmation that corrosion controls and safe water practices are effective in reducing the risk of lead in drinking water though an inexpensive method using real-time data! 


The members of Team CCTronic grew up in a country where water is not available as a natural resource. When they moved to a city on a Great Lake, they thought their water problems would be over. They learned about the challenges facing Lake Erie and how deeply these affect the surrounding community. So they came up with 'cHorizon' to help farmers preserve soil and extract nutrients from the water before it reaches the lake; giving the lake a better chance to heal. The system has 3 parts: part 1 is a soil probe that gets data on the amount of nutrients in the soil, part 2 is a valve designed to shut the tile system to keep water in soil until you decide to release it and part 3 is a mesh extraction device that is position in the waterways to extract nutrients from the water before it gets to the lake.   



UWin Team 

UWin is a team of University of Windsor students that are using drone technology coupled with cutting-edge imaging hardware and hydrodynamic modeling to provide high resolution, dynamic intelligence on water quality. Their novel approach allows for imaging in tributaries, now-casting and forecasting of a variety of parameters, backward tracking of contamination and citizen science applications. 

Blue Lion Labs

Blue Lion Labs was founded on the belief that everyone deserves to know if their water is safe to drink. They are building a microscope powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that locates and identifies algae in a water sample. With this technology, water treatment plants can analyze water samples on-site, saving valuable time and money. Their vision is that this technology be used worldwide to help organizations determine if their water is safe to drink.  


Taking the advantage of solar energy as a clean, inexpensive and renewable source of energy that is harnessable nearly everywhere in the world, Photodynamica brings new efficient low-cost technology to harvest sun light for water remediation. Their idea is to develop and produce an efficient water floating material which is solar active. This activated material produces reactive species, which kills the cyanobacteria and its associated toxins. The material is not only photosensitive but also has the three important characteristics of sustainability i.e., recycle, renewable and reuse. The floating material provides effective contact with harmful algae/toxins which directly increases the absorbency and thereby provide and easy to deteriorate the toxic levels. 

Cocoa Compost 

Cocoa Compost is a team of Canadian innovators that transform buffer strip biomass (combined with manure) into Cocoa Compost and then return the trapped nutrients to farmers’ fields as stable fertilizer. Their model creates a sustainable financial incentive for farmers to implement this best management practice which can reduce runoff sediments by 95% and nutrients by 90%. 

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