NanoFex wins Water Challenge and $50,000

New Orleans Entrepreneur Week‘s inaugural Water Challenge 2011 culminated yesterday with NanoFex winning the  $50,000 competition.  NanoFex is a high-tech company based in New Orleans that uses new nanotechnology to make the country’s groundwater cleaner.

NanoFex was one of three finalists pitching their business plans to a panel of judges, which included entrepreneurs and business leaders.

NanoFex aims to remediate  ground water contamination through the use of proprietary cellulose nanospheres, made from Louisiana sugarcane and crab and crawfish shells.  Yes, crawfish and crab shells.  The particles will remove contaminates like arsenic, chlorinated solvents and heavy metals, and break them down into harmless carbon dioxide and water.

“With NanoFex, we will create green collar jobs in New Orleans,” said David B. Culpepper, CEO of NanoFex who made the winning pitch. “Our hope is that within 10 years, we will be employing several hundred people in the region. We will help New Orleans retain and attract knowledge-based workers.”

“Our hope with this event was to try to get people to reapproach the water systems, and create resilient, adaptive, and restorative approaches to our water, while also creating businesses and jobs,” Mendoza said. “We wanted to get the community engaged in this discussion and realize they are part of this environment.”