Southwest Sustainability Engine


Key Technology Area

Carbon Capture
Water Capture and Recycling
Renewable Energy


Arizona Municipal Water Users Association
Arizona Public Services
Arizona State University
Arizona Tech Council
Caesar's Entertainment
City of Cottonwood Heights
City of Phoenix
City of South Jordan
Clear Creek Associates
Desert Research Institute
Epic Cleantec
Friends of the Great Salt Lake City
Glen Canyon Institute
Greater Phoenix Economic Council
Harmons Grocery
Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance
Maricopa Community Colleges
Nevada Energy, NV5
Place Collaborative
Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities
Salt River Project
SciTech Institute
Seven Canyons Trust
Southern Nevada Water Authority
The Nature Conservancy
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
University of Utah
US Magnesium
Utah Clean Energy
Utah Rivers Council
Water Research Foundation

Arizona State University

The Southwest Sustainability Innovation Engine (SWSIE) will address interrelated, systems-level innovations that can equitably transform water supply and demand and net carbon emissions in a region with the nation’s greatest untapped solar and renewable energy potential. To unleash this potential, SWSIE will build an ecosystem of researchers, innovators, educators, and decision-makers, to harness STEM innovation for securing the water supply, enhancing energy security and negative emissions, and growing a workforce pipeline for the net zero economy.


The American Southwest region of Utah, Nevada, and Arizona is highly vulnerable to climate change due to extreme aridity and heat coupled with rapid population growth. However, the Southwest also has significant potential to unleash the power of STEM discovery and translation to lead the transition to a green economy.

The overarching goal of the Southwest Sustainability Innovation Engine (SWSIE) is to connect and institutionalize a regional sustainability innovation ecosystem - researchers, innovators, investors, decision-makers, and community and industry leaders - who have common goals for a thriving, net zero economy at low water cost. To achieve this goal, SWSIE will:

1. Catalyze co-innovations in technology and governance to overcome limitations to community and economic development and facilitate just and equitable water and energy futures;

2. Expand infrastructure and capacity for inclusive knowledge translation through startups and IP licensing, enabling continued and sustainable economic and population growth, and

3. Prepare a diverse, STEM-enabled sustainability innovation workforce that creates new businesses, meets the needs of existing employers, and provides inclusive access to high wage STEM jobs by leveraging innovations in education and training at scale.