Tech Bundle

Water Tech

Water is a critical resource that sustains all lifeforms on Earth that drives agricultural and industrial activities. Despite its abundance, half a billion people in the world face severe water scarcity all year round. Many of these water resources have been over- exploited and polluted to the extent that utilization is not possible without adequate treatment. The Water Tech Bundle features a well curated list of technologies to enable enterprises to access, license or co-innovate with technology providers to serve the water needs of the industry. This includes a range of solutions to produce potable drinking water and to treat wastewater, digital solutions to automate and optimize processes and  technologies to improve energy efficiency and infrastructures.

Superior Antifouling & Highly Permeable Reverse Osmosis Membranes via Green Synthesis
This technology relates to a series of block co-polymers that have the superior anti-fouling capability made through green synthesis by using water as a solvent. One of the co-polymers has been grafted onto the selective layer of thin film composite (TFC) membranes as a demonstration of its anti-fouling function. The resultant membranes show pure water permeability of up to 10 LMH/bar, NaCl rejection of ~98%, and high resistance to alginate and protein fouling. Moreover, no significant fouling is observed when realistic feed from the local RO plant is tested for 10 days.    
Superlyophobic Materials for Immiscible Liquids Separation
Separation of oil/water mixture using wetting materials has been extensively investigated. However, the wastes released in industrial processes such as multi-phase liquids extraction, food industries or chemical reaction contain more complicated liquids components. The technology presents a novel strategy to prepare a broad range of superlyophobic materials based on polydopamine (PDA) mediated coating. The results demonstrate that the deposition of PDA nanoparticles enhances the growth of silicone microsheets (SMS), which increases trapped air fraction and results in superlyophobicity towards high surface tension liquids and superlyophilicity to liquids with surface tension smaller than 30 mN/m. Superlyophobic sorbents generated from melamine foam and polyurethane foam can absorb various oils with capacity from 53 g/g to 120 g/g (melamine foam) and from 26.5 g/g to 52.5 g/g (polyurethane foam), depending on the oil type and density. High absorption capacity of porous foams towards oils makes them possible to remove low surface tension liquids from a batch of high surface tension immiscible organic liquids such as formamide or diethylene glycol. On the other hand, superlyophobic membranes fabricated from stainless steel mesh, cotton fabric and filter papers can filter chloroform and carbon tetrachloride from water and formamide with efficiency higher than 96%. All as-prepared superlyphobic materials show excellent regeneration. The preparation of superlyophobic materials introduced in this work opens a general strategy for separation of immicible liquids by both static and continuous methods. The technology provider is seeking partner for research collaboration, scale-up testing/test-bedding, product co-development, technology licencing or manufacturing.    
Reinforced Low Energy Membrane and Module for Pressure Driven Water Purification Processes
This technology relates to a reinvention of the structure of spiral wound membrane module to increase productivity and to simplify the membrane fabrication process. Despite undergoing a long history of development, the structure of the spiral wound membrane modules remained the same. Each module is made up of several leaf sets, with each leaf set consisting of feed spacers, flat sheet membranes and a permeate carrier wrapped around the permeate collecting tube. The technology here involves combining the 3 layers in a leaf set into 2 layers on an industrial-scale casting line such that more membrane can fit into a standard specific volume. By combining the permeate carrier and the membrane into a single sheet, we were able to eliminate the need for the typical non-woven backing for the membrane. As such, the leaf set thickness can be significantly reduced by approximately 10-20%, and hence the theoretical surface area and productivity of the membrane modules can be increased by 30-50%. The material cost can potentially be reduced by 10-20% and the internal ion concentration polarization (ICP) is expected to be reduced due to less bulky structure. This design also lessen the work required to roll an element due to less sheets per leaf-set. The technology provider is currently seeking joint-venture partners for technology evaluation licensing with research collaboration agreement (RCA) to scale-up and commercialize the technology.
Inductively Heated Electrically Conductive Spacers to Enhance Membrane Distillation
Membrane distillation (MD) is a promising low-cost, green (based on utilization of low-quality heat) alternative to dominant water treatment processes like thermal distillation and reverse osmosis (RO). However, it is still not commercially viable, at least in part due to the low flux per unit energy. By employing the use of electrically conductive spacers, it is possible to provide localized heating near the membrane surface with the use of induction heating and without a compromise in flux compared to that of membrane coating. Compared to conventional external feed heating, the temperature distribution across the feed-membrane interface is much more uniform when heating takes place right there. Hence, maximizing the energy efficiency of the heat input which is the main cost in most thermal distillation processes. This savings becomes especially evident when heat loss across the membrane increases as the process is being scaled up.
Operational Intelligence Platform For Optimization of Water Treatment
This technology is addressing an industry focused need in the water, wastewater and desalination treatment space. The company's technology developed through 6 years of research and development provides an innovative cloud-based platform for optimisation of water treatment activities. The technology is available as software-as-a-service (SaaS). The cloud-based platform is capable of ingesting and aggregating data flows across a treatment facility to provide real-time, proactive operating instructions to minimize energy and chemical consumption, increase equipment life, and mitigate plant downtime. The technology platform is plant-agnostic and uses available infrastructure and sensors, process models (digital twinning) and proprietary hybrid algorithms (combination of physics-based and machine learning techniques) to optimize plant processes across the entire facility rather than just one-unit process.
Conductive Material to Enhance Organic Waste Biodegradation
Anaerobic digestion (AD) is a biological method widely used to treat wastes and wastewater containing high levels of organic matter in the absence of oxygen to convert chemical energy in organic carbon to biogas. With AD, the waste volume can be reduced drastically with green energy generation simultaneously. In practical applications, complex structure or toxicity of substrates often impair AD performance associated with low degradation rate and unstable biogas production. Electron transfer among different guilds of microorganisms is the rate-limiting step of AD process, and it is also the basic reason behind the deteriorated AD performance. This technology relates to the dosing of conductive materials which can facilitate interspecies electron transfer and improve the overall metabolic activity in anaerobic digestion. In addition, it is a green and cost-effective technology as those selected materials (e.g. biochar, activated carbon, and iron scrap) can be readily obtained from nature or produced from wastes and recovered for repeated use. The technology provider is looking for waste and wastewater biological treatment providers to license and commercialize this technology.
Hybrid Adsorbent & Electrochemical AOP for Challenging Wastewater
Industrial processes can produce effluents that are challenging in terms of strength, variability and composition. Treatment of industrial effluent is complex and depends very much on the load and process nature of the wastewater stream. Advanced oxidation processes (AOP) are commonly used to deal with recalcitrant COD as a final polishing step in water treatment. However, conventional AOP consumes a significant amount of energy. This technology relates to an advanced water treatment method that is capable of breaking down persistent organic compounds, micropollutants, COD and colour through a combination of adsorption and electrochemical oxidation. The contaminants are bound to the adsorbents while an electric current is passed through the adsorbents, oxidizing the adsorbed pollutants to water, hydrogen and carbon dioxide which can be safely vented away.  The hybrid process utilizes lesser energy compared to conventional AOP processes.  The technology provider is keen to work with potential technology adopters through technical collaboration and licensing agreement to deploy the technology.
Low Cost, High Value Smart Water Meter for Reduction of Water Consumption
Water scarcity is a global problem. To try to address this and reduce water consumption, smart systems are already being rolled out globally. However, these smart systems are relatively high cost as they are often relying on re-purposed industrial systems delivering static usage data, delivering minimal value add to the end user. The technology owner has developed a low-cost smart water meter based on ultrasonic sensor. Designed for domestic residential use, the smart water meter can be installed through its unique ‘clamp-on’ mechanism in a non-invasive manner. As such, large scale roll-out of systems using the meter is readily achievable. A smart phone app was also developed to allow users to identify their water consumption habits or potential leaks. It is attractive to both consumer and supplier by providing usage data which is designed to drive behavioural changes to reduce water consumption. The technology owner is seeking licensing partners to manufacture and/or develop a version of the meter meeting local requirements, e.g. pipe size, pipe material, communication protocols – for domestic residential application.  
Catalytic Wet Air Oxidation for Textile Effluents
Environmental pollution is one of the major challenges that the world face today. Our water resources are threatened by contamination from industrial wastewater namely volatile organic pollutants generated from the petrochemical, textile, pharmaceutical, chemical, and automotive industries. A class of compounds that is of great concern are the organic dyes, which represent a large family of refractory organic pollutants. It is estimated that over 10,000 different dyes and pigments are used industrially and over 700,000 tons of synthetic dyes were produced in 2003 worldwide. With about 1-20% of the total world production of dyes being discharged to the aquatic environment during their application, this can potentially result in severe damages to the photosynthetic activities of aquatic plants and the health of humans. Conventional methods for wastewater treatment include biological process, thermal decomposition, adsorption, membrane separation, and advanced oxidation process. Each of these methods has its strengths and limitations. The catalytic wet air oxidation (CWAO) process has gained much attention recently as its uses air as the oxidant at a relatively low cost. This technology relates to a bimetallic hybrid catalytic system for oxidative degradation of organic pollutants. Compared to conventional wet air oxidation processes, CWAO utilizes less energy as it can operate under ambient conditions using a novel catalyst.