The Water Abundance XPRIZE is privileged to work with an expert set of judges who will ensure a fair and rigorous competition. Their professional insight will be imperative as we look to award teams who have successfully developed energy-efficient technologies that harvest fresh water from thin air.

Mike Claerhout


Mike graduated from Northern Alberta Institute of Technology’s Groundwater Technology program in 1991 and their Mechanical Engineering Technology program in 1993. In his 20 plus year career in product and process development Mike has been involved in many different fields including the manufacture of Medical, Motorcycle, Automotive Accessories and Consumer Products as well as many facets of the Oil and Gas industry. Mike has also been involved as an entrepreneur/owner in 3 successful start-up companies. After joining RGL in 2001 as a process developer, Mike has also served as a machine designer, engineering manager and on to his current role as VP of Product Development. Mike was instrumental in the design and construction of both RGL’s Nisku and Oman production facilities.

Nicholas Davis


Nicholas Davis is Head of Society and Innovation and a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, Switzerland. Nick leads the Forum’s work on “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”, focusing on how emerging technologies could disrupt industries, labour markets, societies and governments, and how technology can be used to empower communities to create a human-centred future. Nick is also responsible for the Forum’s global NGO, labour and faith communities. With Klaus Schwab, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, he is the co-author of Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution, published in January 2018.

Originally from Sydney, and previously a commercial lawyer, Director at Oxford Investment Research and the World Economic Forum’s Head of Europe, Nick is a Certified Professional Facilitator and a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA) in the UK. He sits on the board of the IMP3rove European Innovation Management Academy and holds degrees in Arts and Law from the University of Sydney as well as a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Oxford.

David Ginley, PhD


David’s current activities at the national Renewable Energy Laboratory are in the areas of the general class of defective transition metal oxides including high temperature superconductors, LiTMO2 rechargeable Li battery materials, ferroelectric materials, transparent conducting oxides and electrochromic materials. Another focus of his work is on the development of new nanomaterials for organic electronics and as biofilters etc.. David earned his B.S., at Colorado School of Mines (Mineral Engineering Chemistry) and his Ph.D. at MIT (Inorganic Chemistry).

Eric Hoek, PhD


Eric Hoek is an internationally recognized expert in water treatment, UCLA environmental engineering professor, founder of 6 successful water technology startups, and considered a thought leader in the water industry.  He has worked on various aspects of water treatment including drinking water treatment, wastewater treatment, desalination, oil & gas produced water treatment, municipal and industrial water reuse and oil spill remediation. He has served as a served as a technical advisor/consultant to municipal water authorities, water technology startups, hedge funds, venture capital funds, law firms, private research foundations, non-profit foundations, US federal, state and local agencies and foreign national research agencies. He has over 130 scientific publications, over 70 patents filed in the U.S. and internationally, and serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Nature Publishing Group journal npj Clean Water.  He is a graduate of Penn State (B.S.), UCLA (M.S.), Yale University (Ph.D.) and the Executive Management program at the UCLA Anderson School of Management.

David Ireland, PhD


David is the Chief Innovation Officer at ThinkPlace, a strategic design and innovation consultancy.  In this role, David applies innovation, systems transformation, and human centered design expertise to resolve complexity and design sustainable and high impact solutions.  David is also an adjunct professor at The University of Queensland, a board member of several not-for-profit and for-profit organizations, and is a serial entrepreneur.  David has a dual PhD in Chemistry and Innovation and is a 2018 Fulbright Fellow for not-for-profit leadership.

Purnima Jalihal, PhD


Dr. Purnima is a senior scientist who heads the Energy and Fresh Water group in the National Institute of Ocean Technology, India. She has coordinated many first – ever projects in ocean energy and desalination.  She has a tremendous contribution in the setting up of the first ever ocean thermal gradient based desalination plant at Kavaratti island in the Lakshadweep group  in the Arabian Sea which has helped transform the lives of the small island community which had a serious lack of drinking water. For this work she was awarded the Vishwakarma Medal in 2006 by the Indian National Science Academy.   This success led to more plants in islands and offshore. Dr Purnima is now attempting to scale up the technology and power such plants using ocean renewable energies. She has a PhD in Civil Engineering from Duke University , USA.  She is on many committees of the Indian Government , related to water and renewable energy.

Matthew Stuber, PhD


Dr. Stuber is an Assistant Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Connecticut (UConn) and a faculty member of the United Technologies Institute for Advanced Systems Engineering at UConn.  His primary research focuses on applied mathematics and optimization algorithms to solve challenging systems engineering problems with applications across energy, water, healthcare, and finance.  Dr. Stuber is a cofounder and chief technical advisor of WaterFX, Inc., a water innovation start-up leading in solar thermal desalination for inland water treatment and reuse.  Dr. Stuber holds a PhD in Chemical Engineering from MIT and a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities.

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