Waves to Water Prize | Applying Human Centered Design to Deliver Value to Your Customers

In 2019, the US Department of Energy’s Water Power Technologies Office (WPTO) launched theWaves to Water Prize“to encourage the development of small, modular, cost-competitive desalination systems.” After three years and five stages (Concept, Design, Adapt, Create, Drink), the prize concluded in April 2022 with one Grand Prize winner and four other finalists.

This webinar introduces attendees, including the Drink stage finalists, to ideas for leveraging Human Centered Design, a methodology that can ensure that organizations stay focused on delivering value to their key stakeholders. Viewers learn how to refine their value proposition, interacting with a panel of experts who represent potential customers and key stakeholders of wave-powered desalination solutions.

Panelists, selected for their unique perspectives related to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), energy, and the target market, share their insight into technology, implementation and procurement. In addition to panelists from a disaster relief organization, infrastructure, representatives for smaller coastal communities, and the US military, the webinar includes an expert provocation at the intersection of humanitarian relief and innovation from Elhra.

E4C is a proud implementation partner of the Waves to Water Prize.

Learn more about theWaves to Water Prize|Meet the finalist teams|Schedule of events for the Prize


Itika Guptais a Founding Partner at Studio Carbon and IDEO alum. She leads Studio Carbon in the Netherlands and India working at the intersection of design, systems thinking and storytelling to build solutions for an abundant and thriving future. Ms. Gupta’s expertise is in circular design, human centered design for business development, ethos design and strategy for business, and lifecycle analysis. She is the co-founder of Dungse which brings in-house biobased material innovation to the market. Ms. Gupta has a Bachelor’s of Technology in Electrical and Electronics Engineering and a Master of Design, Industrial and Product Design.

露丝鲑鱼is an Innovation Manager at Elrha’s Humanitarian Innovation Fund. In this role she designs and manages funding calls for innovative solutions to gaps in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) humanitarian responses. Before working at Elrha, she worked for a non-profit consultancy designing and scaling innovative financing programs in the WASH, health and education sectors across East and West Africa. She has also worked in monitoring and evaluation and research roles and provided technical assistance to the government of Sierra Leone for two years. She is passionate about using research and innovation to improve development outcomes, and how collaboration between actors from differing perspectives and schools of thought can achieve this. Ms. Salmon has a Bsc in International Development Studies and an Msc in Research for International Development from the University of London.


Will Heegaardis Founder and Operations Director of Footprint Project, which provides clean energy equipment and services to humanitarian organizations to help communities build back greener after climate disasters. Mr. Heegaard sees every disaster as an opportunity to build back greener. A registered paramedic, Will previously worked with International Medical Corps to deploy solar refrigeration in West Africa during the Ebola outbreak, then deployed with Team Rubicon after disasters in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Puerto Rico (USA). Will currently serves on the Board of the Minnesota Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (MNVOAD). He received his B.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies from University of California, Berkeley.

John Peichelis a Global Market Developer at SUEZ Water Technologies & Solutions located in Minnetonka, Minnesota (USA). He has over 31 years of experience in industrial water treatment using membranes. During his career, he has worked in Engineering, Sales, and Product Management. Currently, Mr. Peichel is responsible for research and development of new markets involving advanced filtration and separation technologies and related products including reverse osmosis, nano-filtration, ultrafiltration, microfiltration, and electro-separations with an emphasis on valuable selectivity, lower energy, higher water recovery and robust process applications. Mr. Peichel’s experience includes all aspects of new product innovation, development and commercialization. His expertise also covers system design and operation as they relate to the needs of industrial customers in power, beverage, pharmaceutical, municipal and seawater desalination.

Paul Choulesstarted his desalination and water treatment career over 40 years ago. Since then, he has worked in the areas of business development, permitting, start-up, commissioning, project management, and operating of reverse osmosis and thermal desalination plants around the world with industrial and municipal clients. In 2008 he helped start the Caribbean Desalination Association “CaribDA” and remains a board member. Additionally, in 2011 he was identified as one of desalination’s expert “Desalters” by Global Water Intelligence. Some other highlights of his career include living in Abu Dhabi for 10 years and supporting over 250 desalination plants in the region; working for Specific Equipment Co., MECO, Weir/ Veolia and Water Standard before starting Water Cycle in 2016 which offers consulting, advisory, representation, and business development services; working on the US Navy CVNX program while at MECO; managing regional offices in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Egypt, Brazil, and the United States; helping to start the Texas Desalination Association in 2013 serving as the President until 2019 and remaining now on the board of directors.

Bill Varnava比尔Varnava先生是一位机械工程师与我们同在Naval Facilities Engineering Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC). He has over 30 years experience with research, development. testing and evaluation of desalination and water purification systems and manages operations for the Seawater Desalination Test Facility in Port Hueneme, CA.


Iana Arandais President of Engineering for Change (E4C), a knowledge organization and global community of over 1 million individuals dedicated to design and delivery of essential technologies advancing sustainable development. She is also Director of the Engineering for Global Development at the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), E4C’s parent organization. At ASME, Ms. Aranda sets the business strategy of a portfolio of programs and platforms that advance knowledge, workforce and hardware-led social innovation to improve the quality of life of underserved communities.

Erin Peifferis Research Manager with E4C, where she supports an international cohort of Fellows completing research and design projects at the intersection of engineering, sustainability, and global development with partners across academic institutions, non-profits, multilateral organizations, private sector businesses, and government agencies. Ms. Peiffer graduated from the University of Dayton with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering in 2017 and a M.S. in Renewable and Clean Energy in 2018.

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