A startup called Axine Water Technologies has developed a new low-cost way to clean the waste water created by industries like oil and gas extraction, chemical processing and chip manufacturing. The idea is that if the waste water is cleaned at a lower cost and with a simple process it can be more easily reused, and thus less fresh water is required in the industrial processes.
Axine makes modules that are filled with cells that use electricity to create a reaction. The waste water flows across the electrified cell, and any particles in it are oxidized. The byproduct is pure hydrogen, which can be collected.
The startup, which is based in Vancouver, says the technology costs five times less than competitive solutions and is also beneficial because it uses no chemicals and doesn’t produce any sludge. The modules can scale up to create larger multiple container-sized systems.
The company is still in the ramp-up phase. Axine intends to deliver pilot projects to customer sites early next year, and this week announced that it’s raised a $5.6 million Series A funding round from new investors the Roda Group, and including current investors Chrysalix Energy Venture Capital and BDC Venture Capital.
Smarter water use and water conservation have become front of mind with constrained water resources in areas like California. In the future, extreme weather and a booming population will also mean that water will be constrained in many places beyond those touched by drought.
While water technology hasn’t traditionally been easily funded by venture capitalists and investors, some promising water startups are finding backers, through accelerator programs like Imagine H20.