Pop Up City Contest

Highlights: Direct potable reuse. Improved serviceability. Parallel membranes. Improved control system. PVs vertically oriented to fit into shipping container with other unit processes. Our team, Circular City, won the top prize of $2M CAD.

End-user: Department of National Defence’s (DND) Innovation for Defense Excellend and Security (IDEaS) program

Partners: Innocorps Research Corporation, Circular City

After a year of testing at the Yuma Desalting Plant and some major upgrades, we crated up our el Titan brine concentrator in July 2023 to ship up to Alberta, Canada and compete in the Pop Up City Contest.

Organized by the Department of National Defence, the Pop Up City Contest is a challenge to more efficiently provide necessary utilities (water, energy, and waste management) to personnel in Relocatable Temporary Camps (RTCs). We partnered with Innocorps Research Corporation who led Circular City, one of three finalist teams.

By recovering potable water from the camp’s wastewater stream in an energy-efficient manner without membrane scaling we helped contribute to each of the contest’s targets:

  • at least a 33% reduction in the fuel supplied to the RTCs;
  • at least a 33% reduction of the current potable water supplied to the RTCs; and
  • at least a 33% reduction in the solid and liquid waste requiring disposal from the RTCs.

el Titan Brine Concentrator (v2)

At CFB Suffield we got el Titan up and running for a seven day demonstration. We integrated into the Circular City wastewater treatment train. The feed was a mixture of blackwater, greywater, and surface water. el Titan treated divalent-rich NF concentrate to extract additional potable water and reduce final brine discharge.

After advanced oxidation, UV, and remineralization the water was good to go!

Our team, Circular City, was announced in November as the winner of the Pop-Up City Contest. We split the $2M CAD grand prize with our fellow team members.


  • Ship early in case of shipping delays and customs issues
  • To identify a bad motor, measure individual line currents
  • Keep pump crankcase clean and clear of metal shavings
  • Oil will rapidly foul membranes
  • CAT pumps are easy to service and rebuild


Feed 3 g/kg (divalent-rich)
Recovery up to 90%
Production up to 3.5 gpm | 5040 gpd | 19 m3/day
Flux up to 50 LMH | 29 gfd
Membranes Toray 4” BWRO and Aquamembranes 4” BWRO
Membrane array 2 in parallel
Circulation flow 5.5 gpm | 1.2 m3/h
Pressure limit 34 bar | 500 psi


Contest website | Innocorps press release | CAF video | IDEaS blog

let's make water together


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Boston, MA 02135