Bluewater Bio and NeoTech Aqua Solutions, Inc. Sign Licensing Agreement

Bluewater Bio, a leading provider of innovative high-performance, cost-effective water and wastewater treatment technologies, is pleased to announce that it has entered into a licensing agreement with NeoTech Aqua Solutions, Inc. (“NeoTech”) to market their ultra- efficient, highly advanced UV technologies to industrial and municipal clients. The license is global, with exclusive territory rights that include the UK and Ireland.

BwB believe there is an excellent growth market for efficient UV technology in territories that they or their partners currently operate in. The key drivers for UV adoption are primarily its ability to disinfect harmful pathogens in potable water, including Cryptosporidium and E.coli, and the conscious effort to move away from using chlorine for safety and environmental reasons. Major catalysts for UV market growth are cost, water scarcity, public health, demand for high purity process water, reuse/recycling and environmental compliance.

NeoTech, based in San Diego, California, USA, have already proven their patented ultra-efficient UV technology in over 300 installations; selling into the food & beverage, bottled water, pharmaceutical, pools & water parks, microelectronics, wastewater, remediation, and municipal drinking water markets – both for disinfection and for the elimination of organic contaminants (TOC).

NeoTech’s UV technology utilises a patented chamber design combined with ReFleX™ technology which reflects over 99% of the UV generated back into the treated water, continuously until the target contaminant is destroyed.  By comparison, conventional UV systems typically reflect only about a quarter of the UV generated.  NeoTech’s technical advantages eliminate most of the electrical power and number of lamps required to treat a given volume of water, translating to lower operating costs, a 75% smaller footprint, less lamp and

sleeve maintenance, and a unique ability to remain powered on even if water flow is interrupted. Furthermore, NeoTech’s UV systems may be mounted in any configuration and no tools are required for lamp replacement.

BwB, established in 2007 to develop their patented HYBACS® process, have since seen their product portfolio grow to include FilterClear™, a high performance multimedia filtration technology, and GHG-Tox®, an innovative nitrification and greenhouse gas monitoring system. NeoTech aligns perfectly with BwB’s technology aggregation strategy; developing a global mid-market platform for innovative, high performance, low cost water and wastewater treatment products. Whilst each of these solutions can deliver significant performance improvements in isolation, their commercial benefits to municipal and industrial users are even more compelling when combined.
For example, Bluewater Bio’s FilterClear™ range of high performance filtration technologies achieves world class performance; removing particulates from clean water and wastewater in both municipal and industrial settings.  Neotech UV and FilterClear™ together are ideal complementary technologies for ultra-efficient filtration and subsequent disinfection.

NeoTech’s President/CEO, Stephen Dunham said: “The NeoTech team welcomes the opportunity to move forward globally in cooperation with Bluewater Bio.  The synergistic advantages of leveraging BlueWater Bio’s existing technology, global footprint and corporate assets with NeoTech’s unique technological strengths in UV renders a new, multi-faceted capability that will benefit both companies and particularly the market at large.  This is an exciting time of expansion for our respective technologies.”

Daniel Ishag, Founder & CEO of Bluewater Bio International commented: “I would like to take this opportunity to thank both teams for their effort in bringing this deal to fruition. As we look to increase our product platform and service the needs of our ever increasing customer base, this deal signifies an important step in realising that aim. We aspire to be the world’s leading independent water technology provider.  I strongly believe that, with Neotech onboard, we are ever closer to achieving this.”

Download press release

BwB Marks Expansion into India by Joining UK Prime Minister’s Trade Mission

Bluewater Bio International, the provider of high-performance and highly cost-effective water and wastewater treatment technologies, has been invited to join Prime Minister, David Cameron, and Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change, Greg Barker, on the UK Government’s trade mission to India between 17th and 21st February 2013.

The invitation, which BwB is delighted to have accepted, comes just a few months after entering into a partnership agreement with Tatva Global Environmental Ltd, one of India’s largest environmental services conglomerates, to market BwB’s compact, high throughput, low energy filtration product – FilterClear™.

Under the agreement Tatva Global Environmental Ltd (“Tatva”) will not only market the FilterClear technology but also take responsibility for the local assembly and integration of product supplied BwB. The remit of the agreement is expected to expand beyond India, with Tatva planning to broaden its marketing into South East Asia as a whole.

The first filter vessel to be ordered under this partnership has already been delivered to the Nirlon Science and Knowledge Park’s ‘green campus’ in Mumbai’s western suburbs. FilterClear is being incorporated by Tatva into an 840 m3/day water reuse system, valued at £170,000, for this ground-breaking eco-development centred around a 200,000 sq ft traffic-free central park. (www.nirlonltd.com/green_campus.html )

This initial order at Nirlon gives BwB a foothold in a water and wastewater equipment market valued at INR 102 billion (£1.2 billion) by 2016, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 10.1 per cent1. In addition to FilterClear, BwB is seeking commercial and academic partners in India with whom to roll-out its growing technology portfolio, which also includes HYBACS® (HYbrid ACtivated Sludge) and GHG-Tox (nitrification & greenhouse gas monitoring).

Together, Bluewater Bio and Tatva are ideally positioned to share in India’s increasing prosperity, with population growth, expanding disposable incomes and changing lifestyles predicted to double1 the demand for water by 2050. Water supply, irrigation and sanitation are central to India’s emergence as a global commercial powerhouse, accounting for 17 per cent of spending under the Government’s 12th five year plan (2011) 1.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: “We are on track to double our trade with India by 2015. India has the potential to become one of the largest markets in the world. Bluewater Bio are rightly recognising that they can reap the rewards of looking outside Europe for trading partners, selling goods and services to high growth markets outside the EU.”

“Government is clear that we must build deeper ties with India. This means supporting and encouraging a range of companies, both large and small, to do business there in the future, and I am delighted that Bluewater Bio are part of the delegation for this trip.”

Bluewater Bio was established in the UK in early 2007 and has rapidly grown to employ a commercial and engineering team of 30, in London and Glasgow, plus an indirect workforce of up to 300 – including a large contractor base on the Tubli Bay sewage plant upgrade in Bahrain.

BwB currently funds two PhD students in water sciences at Cranfield University and runs an apprenticeship scheme at its London office.
Over 95% of BwB’s equipment is UK sourced, from a network of more than 20 small, traditional engineering firms – centred largely around the country’s manufacturing heartland in the West Midlands.

BwB’s support to UK manufacturing is underpinned by a market-leading R&D programme, sponsoring technology development in the UK within Severn Trent Water, Thames Water, Anglian Water, and Scottish Water. Through its Water Innovate team, the tech transfer business acquired from Cranfield University in September 2010, BwB is committed to the continuous improvement of its core products, the development of new water and wastewater innovations and the identification of third party technologies for potential acquisition or licensing.

Jai Shroff, owner and MD of Tatva Global Environmental, commented:  “We at Tatva are very pleased to add Bluewater Bio’s technologies to our suite of environmental solutions in our continued efforts to be at the forefront of technology leadership in the environment industry. We expect to add substantial value to our clients by offering a technology which out-performs existing solutions on a host of parameters.”

Daniel Ishag, CEO of BwB, concluded: “This high level delegation to India is another major milestone for Bluewater Bio as we expand our global coverage. We are delighted not only to have found a partner of Tatva’s scale and reputation for our first foray into India, but also to be commissioning our first joint installation at an eco-development like the Nirlon Knowledge Park. Building on that flagship foundation we have already identified an ongoing pipeline in India of 12 potential projects with a combined sales value, for the FilterClear component, of approximately £6 million.”

Download press release

Bug hunting beyond chlorine

Chlorine has saved countless millions of lives and it continues to perform humane miracles to this day. But it is effective because it is indeed a killer. Not only can chlorine create carcinogens after reacting with organic compounds in water, as anybody who has dipped into a municipal swimming pool will know it does not taste or smell that nice either. Many people do not like the taste of heavily chlorinated water, making household filters and even bottled water increasingly attractive in markets such as the USA. In the background are a body of data assembled by institutions such as the US Environmental Protection Agency suggesting that too much exposure to chlorinated water is potentially harmful to for example, pregnant women. This has been grabbed with aplomb by lobbyists for every cause, but it leaves us with one great question – how do we deliver water that people can enjoy drinking and can trust, at a fair and attractive price?

Going forwards to a post chlorine drinking water takes us back to water treatment’s roots. Sand filtration is a great way of cleaning up a water stream before using UV. Slow sand filters have been used for treating water since the days of the Egyptians, with small plants used across the medieval world and for a town for the first time in Paisley in 1804. In 1829, the first large scale facility opened, serving the Chelsea waterworks company (now part of Thames Water) in 1829. During much of this time, it was assumed that diseases were transmitted by ‘miasmas’ in foul air and the sand was simply making the water more pleasant to drink.

Sometimes water engineering is a triumph of hope over reality. Leafing through the water treatment literature, you are assured that each technique will blast all bugs into oblivion, with clear sterile water coming out the other end. For example, while Ultra Violet disinfection is a powerful way of finishing off water or wastewater treatment it is only as good as the fluid that you treat and when suspended solids remain, they create a shadow behind which pathogens can survive.

Today, with our fuller understanding of infections and impurities and how to deal with them, sand filtration has much to offer when it comes to removing particulates from treated water. But sand filtration was not called ‘slow sand’ without reason. Even in modern ‘rapid sand’ units the flow rate can be low and the maintenance needs can be high.

BlueWater Bio acquired Filter Clear in 2011 to expand its range of offerings in water and wastewater treatment. Filter Clear’s forte is to minimise contaminant build up so that the units operative life is maximised, while being able to maintain a flow rate which is appreciably higher than seen in slower sand filters. Unlike sand based filtration systems, an internal self-cleaning backwash system cuts back on the downtime needed for cleaning. Even so, the system can retain particles down to 0.5 to 1.0 microns compared with 3.0-10.0 in competing technologies, which minimises the size and concentration of suspended solids remaining in the filtrate.

So, using a Filter Clear unit as a pre-treatment for UV, micro-organisms can run through the water, but they cannot hide. The process removes particulates from the water, giving the UV a free run to eliminate all the contaminants and minimising or removing the need for any post treatment chloride.

Wastewater mining

The nutrient crunch is not a headline grabber, but it ought to be and it is something we are going to learn to get pretty concerned about.

Wastewater used to be seen simply as a waste, something to be treated and disposed of. It is nothing of the sort – it is a vital and under-appreciated resource. Apart from the water that can be recovered, it is a source of increasingly scarce nutrients and contains significant amounts of embedded energy.

From 1450 to 1850, London’s dung was carted to sewage farms, where it was spread, untreated on the ground. It was a brutal job (the carters were well paid, but tended to die young) which provided fertiliser for farms supplying the city. In the 1850s the Guano trade blasted the sewage farms out of use, which was probably a good thing at the time. It meant on the one side a safe source of nutrients and that sewage treatment was taken seriously as an alternative to dumping raw effluent on farmland.

At its peak, the Guano trade saw 100,000 dry tonnes of fertiliser being imported to Britain every year. It has been taken over in turn by other sources of phosphorous, nitrogen and potassium, but none of these sources are likely to last for much longer given the rising demand for food worldwide.

The real problem is that when nutrients are washed out into rivers and seas not only do they harm these habitats but they cannot be beneficially recovered. The nutrient cycle is different to the water cycle – there is no vast sea of nutrients that can be mobilised each year and replaced on the ground. For example, the natural rate of airborne nutrient deposition on a cleared site such as a former clay pit is such that it takes approximately 100 years before there is a nutrient build up enough to support ‘non-leguminous woody shrubs’ as I was taught as a young Environmental Biologist at university thirty years ago. Clearly, it is a fact that has stuck in my mind and it shows just how dependent we are on securing nutrient supplies to optimise agricultural productivity.

The more intensive the agriculture is the more nutrients are needed, even is genetically modified crops become more broadly socially and politically acceptable. Whichever way agriculture evolves, it faces the task not only of feeding the currently hungry, and meeting the challenges of affluence and dietary change, there will also be a further two billion mouths to feed by 2050.

So it is time to take a modern look at nutrient recovery from wastewater. This means going as long way beyond applying post treatment sludge to land, let along the sewage farms of old.

Properly applied, recovering nutrients from sewage can account for a significant amount of what is needed for crop growing. Most of the nutrients are in fact in urine, rather than the sewage sludge so you need to be able to get all of those nutrients out of the combined stream in a recoverable form.

Bluewater Bio’s Hybacs plays its part in realising the potential benefits wastewater has to offer us. As part of its high BOD removal rate, the SMART system is geared towards nitrogen and / or phosphorous removal, creating a post treatment sludge which is well suited for recovering these nutrients as well as ensuring more efficient water and energy recovery.

Written by Dr David Lloyd Owen – Senior Advisor at Bluewater Bio

HYBACS crosses the pond

The agreement announced today that BwB’s HYBACS wastewater treatment technology is to be marketed by Suez Environnement’s Infilco Degremont means that Bluewater Bio is entering not only the world’s largest market for water and wastewater systems, but one with a unique potential for innovators.

The US EPA’s Clean Watersheds Needs Survey for 2008 was presented to Congress in 2010. These surveys are a snapshot as the federal nature of the nation means that no state is obliged to report to Washington, but almost all do and they capture the essence of the nation’s state of play when it comes to wastewater infrastructure.

Since the Clean water Act was signed in 1972, the number of people served by tertiary systems has leapt from 7.8 million to 113.0 million. The 2008 survey found that $298.1 billion needs to be spent on the USA’s wastewater infrastructure over a 20 year period in order to get it into good shape. $105.2 billion of this should go on wastewater treatment plants ($59.9 billion on secondary treatment and $45.3 billion on advanced / tertiary treatment), a cool $21.3 billion increase on the 2004 needs survey estimate.

In 2008 secondary or tertiary plants served 222.5 million people (73% of the population) with 16.9 million served by direct application to the land (‘beneficial reuse’) and 3.8 million having at best basic treatment (‘raw’). Septic tanks cover the 21% of Americans unconnected to the sewerage network. Many of these facilities are already in place and the emphasis is very much on rehabilitating, upgrading and expanding them.

The USA has communities of all sizes, with 58% of spending needs taking place in eight states, each needing at least $10 billion, while 69% of facilities serve just 10% of the population and account for 9% of the spending needs. Crunching the numbers, it is clear that the size of advanced works is rising while those of secondary facilities stay steady, showing how the tertiary facilities are concentrated on the larger communities.

Secondary 1972 2008 2028
People served (million) 32.5 92.7 89.1
Facilities 2,838 7,302 7,015
People per facility 11,451 12,695 12,701
Tertiary 1972 2008 2028
People served (million) 45.7 113.0 161.2
Facilities 2,719 5,072 5,909
People per facility 16,080 22,279 27,280

 

The need for improved efficiency comes through, with Operations and Maintenance rising as a percentage of total local wastewater spending from 50% in 1988 to 60% today.

Now there are spending needs surveys and there are surveys about what actually gets spent. In 2002 the US Congressional Budget Office estimated that back in 1999 that $9.8 billion was being spent each year on wastewater capital projects and debt servicing, against needs of $13.0-20.9 billion. The funding gap has not gone away and the needs keep on rising.

How can HYBACS help?

The US Budget Deficit and a difficult economic outlook means that new Federal funding cannot be relied on, so utilities and communities have to do more with less money.

A real strength of HYBACS is its ability to allow sites to be upgraded and expanded at a significantly lower cost than conventional sludge treatment processes while delivering performance in full compliance with the applicable US EPA standards. With a 40% smaller footprint, it also frees up space on a site, providing headroom for increased treatment capacity and helping the operator to develop new assets such as sludge to energy.

The fact that the HYBACS process optimises sludges for nutrient and energy recovery means that the operator can plan for the longer term in mind, without any additional costs.

Finally, HYBACS helps to claw back escalating operating costs by reducing energy needs by 50% through its product life. Funding freed from O+M can go into accelerating debt servicing and funding new projects, helping to turn the US EPA’s ‘needs’ from what ought to be done to what can be done.