UAE: Local startup wins Europe innovation award

Manhat was founded by an Emirati in Abu Dhabi

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Ashwani Kumar

Published: Fri 17 Jun 2022, 12:53 PM

Abu Dhabi-based deep technology startup founded by an Emirati has won a top honour in Europe.

Manhat, a startup that produces fresh water out of the sea, has bagged the prestigious Water Europe Innovations 2022 SMEs Award. Presenting the award to the startup’s founder Dr Saeed Alhassan, Water Europe noted the recognition is for Manhat’s “sustainable water and floating farm solution”.

By using the natural water distillation technology, their innovative device has been able to “produce water sustainability from open water surfaces for irrigation use,” underlined Water Europe, which was established by the European Commission as the European technology platform for water.

Manhat’s novel technique is to trap evaporated vapour from open water areas. The water vapour formed then condenses to form water droplets and is collected. The process doesn’t require any electricity and has zero CO2 emissions. This water can immediately be used for irrigating crops on floating farms.

Dr Alhassan, an Abu Dhabi national, is thrilled after receiving the award.

“We are delighted at Manhat to receive the Water Europe SME innovation award. This award is given to the most innovative SME that provides key solutions for the water sector. Manhat has developed a technology that produces water by adapting a natural distillation process that doesn’t require electricity and hence doesn’t produce brine or emit carbon dioxide,” said Dr. Alhassan, who is an associate professor at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi, told Khaleej Times.

The startup was formed in 2019 and a prototype has been tried out in different locations in Abu Dhabi.

Manhat’s co-founder Vishnu Vijayan Pillai, who hails from the Indian state of Kerala, said the Award recognises SMEs that are innovative both in terms of the solutions and technologies that they create.

“Manhat’s technology was developed in the UAE, and we are proud to bring home the prestigious award. It recognises global water technology startups that are innovative in terms of solutions and technologies,” said Vishnu, who is an MTech in nanotechnology.

“Our next goal is to secure seed funds to deploy the pilot floating farm project,” he noted.

In the past, Manhat has won the Thought for Food 2022 Mena Agri-Food-Tech Challenge hosted by the UAE Ministry of Climate Change and Environment and United Nations FAO at the Food for Future Summit, Expo 2020 Dubai.


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