The ECOWATER team is (from left) Shahab Minaei, Khaled Zoroufchi Benis and Mohsen Asadi. (Photo submitted.)

USask Engineering grads students place third in AquaHacking Challenge

Students' ECOWATER project explores optimization of wastewater treatment plants.

By USask Engineering Communications

ECOWATER, a team of three University of Saskatchewan (USask) graduate students who are passionate about solving environmental issues, recently won third place and the audience choice award at the Western Canada AquaHacking Challenge 2021.  

ECOWATER team members are:              

  • Khaled Zoroufchi Benis, PhD student in chemical engineering
  • Shahab Minaei, PhD student in chemical engineering
  • Mohsen Asadi, PhD student in civil and environmental engineering

Their supervisors are USask Engineering professors Kerry McPhedran and Jafar Soltan.

With the third-place finish the team won $10,000 in seed funding for its project, while the audience choice award netted another $1,500.  

The ECOWATER project addresses optimization of wastewater treatment plants with its innovative Eco-Model and EcoFilter to remove pollutants, including pharmaceuticals, from wastewater before it’s released back into the environment.

The AquaHacking Challenge is a tech competition that encourages young Canadians to develop entrepreneurial skills and create solutions to freshwater issues.  

This year, there were 21 teams registered from across Western Canada, Ontario and Quebec. 10 semi-finalists were named and from those three teams were selected for the final. The recording of the event is on YouTube.

Problems this year’s competitors were challenged to address were optimization of drinking water/wastewater treatment plants, on-farm nutrient capture and recycling, innovative ‘social’ technologies for water innovation and toxic algae blooms.