Water is one of the most hidden of our environmental sustainability issues, and yet it poses critical challenges for our future. In this panel discussion at Stanford University, experts from water companies and academia discuss efforts for reducing energy usage, production, and transportation of water and wastewater. They share what water companies are doing to save energy, and how entrepreneurs can best approach the industry to create new technologies and business opportunities in this regard. Speakers were invited by the Stanford Graduate School of Business Energy Club in partnership with the San Francisco-based nonprofit Imagine H2O.

Josh Becker is founder and general partner of New Cycle Capital. He started his career in the clean energy area in 1991. From Williams College he went to work for ICF-Kaiser International, a DC-based environmental consulting and engineering firm. After working on Capitol Hill as a press secretary for a congresswoman on the Energy and Commerce Committee, he started his first Internet company in 1994 when he co-founded IntraACTIVE, a pioneering groupware company. He was also one of the first employees at EarthWeb Inc, which went public in 1998. After joint degrees from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stanford Law School, Becker joined Brentwood Venture Capital, followed by Redpoint Ventures.

Craig Criddle is a professor in the Stanford Environmental Engineering and Science program and a senior fellow with the Woods Institute for the Environment. His research focus is environmental biotechnology. Criddle is best known for large interdisciplinary field projects, studies of microbial ecology in bioreactors, and work on microbial transformations of persistent contaminants. Some current projects include a field-scale evaluation of uranium remediation, DNA-monitoring of microbial community structure at full-scale biological wastewater treatment plants, and the development of membrane bioreactors for energy recovery and nutrient removal. To promote science literacy, he worked with award-winning San Francisco cartoonist, Larry Gonick to write The Cartoon Guide to Chemistry.

Anil Jha is founder and president of HydroNovation, a pioneer in the development of Continuous Electrodeionization (CEDI) Technology, the most advanced electrochemical water treatment technology in the market today. Jha has more than 30 years of water treatment industry experience. Previously, he worked for Millipore Corporation, Sterimatics Corporation (a venture-backed firm developing water treatment devices for medical applications), Liquipure Corporation (a venture-backed water treatment company acquired by US Filter), and Siemens Water Technology Corp. as director of R&D. Jha has held a variety of positions in the companies listed above, including general manager of Laboratory Water Systems Group at US Filter, and manager of business development at Sterimatics Corporation.

Ryan Matley is the industrial portfolio manager for Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s ET program, which leads the industry in identifying innovative and cutting-edge emerging technologies for energy efficiency and demand response. The ET teams are identifying and assessing the next generation of energy efficiency innovations and making them available and affordable for customers. Matley currently manages several energy efficient initiatives in the high tech, biotech, agriculture, food processing, and heavy industry market sectors. Prior to joining PG&E, Ryan was a consultant at Environex, providing a variety of technical and market research results for precious metal refining processes, automotive emission control catalysis, and pollution control from power generation. He holds a BSE in chemical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.

Gonzalo “G.G.” Pique is president and CEO of Energy Recovery Inc, which developed and manufactures the PX, a unique device that recycles 98 percent of the energy from a desalination plant. The PX becomes the CPU of a modern desalination plant and is the enabling component helping drive a global boom in desalination as an affordable supply solution to the world water crisis. Pique is an entrepreneurial leader who has been with ERI since February 2000.

Tom Victorine is the operations manager at the San Jose Water Company.