Smart Water SolutionsNov 17, 2022
#68 - Lyle King: Influx Search
In this latest podcast episode featuring Lyle King, CEO of Influx Search, as he sheds light on the nuances of recruiting in the water industry. King discusses his journey and the unique challenges in this specialized sector. But what drives a focus solely on water industry recruitment? 🤔He then explores the growth and expansion strategies of Influx Search, especially in clean tech and sustainability. Within technological advancements, how does Influx balance tech with the vital human element in recruitment? King emphasizes the importance of a passion for water conservation in candidates, beyond just technical skills. What advice does he offer to those transitioning to the water industry? For startups in the water sector, Influx Search isn't just a recruitment firm; it's a consultancy guiding them on talent needs, including navigating diverse regulatory landscapes.
📌 Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated – feel free to share them!
#67 - Dr. Arian Edalat: Active Membranes
In this episode, join Dr. Arian Edalat, Co-Founder and CEO of Active Membranes, as we explore the journey from academic research to real-world industrial applications in water treatment. How has Edalat's team successfully accelerated the commercialization of Active Membranes in the desalination industry? Edalat shares that targeting areas with significant challenges, where people are eager for solutions and the impact is greatest, is key to the successful early adoption of innovative water technologies like Active Membranes. We discuss the challenges of fouling and scaling in desalination plants and how Active Membranes electrically conductive membranes offer a cost-effective and efficient solution. What does the future hold for these innovative “smart membranes” in water treatment? Discover how Active Membranes, recognized as Water Tech Idol 2023, is pushing the boundaries to make desalination more sustainable and accessible. Learn about the potential of transforming commercial nanofiltration and reverse osmosis membranes into active membranes utilizing the expertise at Active Membranes.
#66 - Dr. André F. van Rooyen
In this episode, Rhea and I explore the world of agriculture and water management in Africa with our guest, Dr. André F. van Rooyen, a Principal Scientist at ICRISAT in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. We discussed the intricate dance between modern agriculture and age-old farming wisdom. As land areas get smaller, how can we optimize food production in places like Africa? Why, despite the World Bank's massive irrigation projects, do some solutions seem to add more complexity than clarity? Dr. van Rooyen challenges the notion that more water always equals more food and highlights the unintended consequences of over-reliance on fertilizers. Interestingly, he emphasizes that modern advanced agriculture has much to learn from indigenous, often illiterate, yet profoundly wise and intelligent farmers. Can we truly bridge the gap between modern science and millennia of farming knowledge, especially when it comes to water management?
#65 - James Ellsmoor: Island Innovation
In this episode, meet James Ellsmoor, the CEO @ Island Innovation. We'll explore the unique water challenges islands face. Consider this: tourism intensifies their water demands. So, how do they adapt? How does Island Innovation platform bridge sustainable island water solutions with water startups, governments, and financial institutions? Dive into our episode as we discuss the relationship between tourism, renewable energy, and island-specific water solutions. Are islands just smaller versions of global challenges or do they need their own solutions? Tune in to find out!
#64 - Dr. Piotr Dlugolecki: Aqua Azure
In this episode, Dr. Piotr Dlugolecki and I discuss water-based energy generation and storage, highlighting the potential of reverse electrodialysis technology and ion exchange membranes. We talk about the challenges and opportunities in hydrogen production, especially in Europe, and look at the future of energy storage solutions, including redox flow batteries. Our guest, Piotr, founder of Aqua-Azure, shares his journey from moving countries to starting a company and offers insights into helping businesses grow faster.
#63 - Karen Schuett: Livestock Water
This episode features Karen Schuett, Co-Founder and CEO of Livestock Water Recycling (LWR). With her roots in zoology, Karen embarked on a journey from groundwater treatment in the oil and gas sector to forging solutions in livestock manure treatment. A local farmer's challenge with manure lagoons prompted this shift, leading to the development of LWR's specialized system.
Livestock waste is denser than municipal waste, making its treatment a challenge. LWR has developed a system that efficiently separates this waste and recovers nutrients. This approach is eco-friendly, cost-effective, and even allows farmers to sell the extracted nutrients. By using machine learning, LWR has cut chemical use by 40%. Karen Schuett and her team are now looking to harness data, like weather and animal health, to further refine their solutions. Learn about the future of livestock water recycling through Karen's insights
#62 - Prof. Julio Berbel
🎙️ Join us in our latest episode with Professor Julio Berbel from the University of Cordoba. Together with Rhea Verbeke, we delve deep into the intricacies of European water management. From the fundamental Water Framework Directive to the debate between water pricing vs. governance, we explore the future of sustainable water use. 💧 Curious about the balance between policy and practice? Give it a listen!
#61 - Oliver Lawal: AquiSense Technologies
In this episode, Oliver Lawal, the CEO and founder of AquiSense Technologies, talks about the challenges in water disinfection and the promise of UV-C LED technology as an alternative to chemical treatments. He shares the progress of UV-C LED chips, how they're becoming more affordable, and their real-world applications. The conversation explores how to enhance UV systems and what's on the horizon for water purification.
#60 - Prof. Ryan Kingsbury
In this episode, Rhea and I talk with Professor Ryan Kingsbury from Princeton University about ion-selective transport in membranes. We discuss how traditional methods based on particle size and charge fall short for tasks like extracting lithium from brine. Professor Kingsbury highlights the importance of considering molecular interactions and electronic structures of ions. We also learn about his career journey, exploring the different rewards of academia and industry.
#59 - Brian Pinkard: Aquagga
In this episode, we'll delve into the water treatment solutions for PFAS with our guest, Brian Pinkard, the CTO & Co-Founder at Aquagga. We'll uncover the journey from using hydrothermal technology for destroying chemical weapons, to now dealing with PFAS. Learn about the safety, cost-effectiveness, and advantages of Hydrothermal Alkaline Treatment or HALT technology, and see how it measures up against other methods like incineration. Plus, we'll discuss the financial implications, regulatory factors, and corporate duties when it comes to water contaminated with PFAS.
#58 - Prof. Richard Luthy
In this podcast episode, Rhea and I were thankful to engage with Prof. Richard Luthy, a renowned ocean engineer, @US Nav Navy submersible pilot, and chemical engineering PhD from University of California, Berkeley, now teaching Civil Engineering at Stanford University. With water scarcity as a central topic, Prof. Luthy elaborated on the indispensable role of stormwater capture and reuse. He emphasized the importance of collaborative, multidisciplinary approaches in water management, advocating for reform in both urban and rural sectors regarding water rights and agricultural practices. His discussion highlighted the need to leave more water for ecosystems, urging us to recognize and acknowledge our collective responsibility in this issue. One of the profound quotes that Rhea and I gleaned from this conversation is, "We are all part of the problem, we are all part of the solution”
#57 - Prof. Markus Berger
The water footprint is the water that we consume and pollute in the supply chain of our daily goods. We may use around 125 liters of water/day at home, but in total we are consuming around 7000 liters of water/day via the food we eat and the fashion we buy. To better understand the water footprint, Rhea and I hosted prof Markus Berger from the University of Twente. We learned more about different types of water and, more importantly, about how much our awareness of our daily purchased goods can affect water scarcity. It may sound like an exaggeration but raising awareness about and decreasing our water footprint may solve the current water crisis much faster than developing breakthrough water technologies.
#56 - Riggs Eckelberry: OriginClear
Investing is oxygen for water techs. One can invest in assets such as oil and gas and real state, but how about investing in water? Apparently, there is not enough financial infrastructure to invest in water beyond a handful of large water OEM’s (Origin Equipment Manufacturing or a company that builds water treatment systems) and few big chemical firms which regularly acquire water tech startups. Riggs Eckelberry, CEO of OriginClear, discusses in this podcast episode the possibility of investing directly in water asset by investing in decentralized water systems. These systems can be outsourced and paid per the amount of treated water/wastewater.
#55 - Prof. Stefan Wuertz
A growing global population causes an increased demand for food, and more specifically for more sustainable protein sources. In this podcast episode, Rhea and I had an inspiring discussion with Stefan Wuertz, Professor of Environmental Engineering at Nanyang Technological University, about microbial community-based protein production from wastewater for animal feed applications. Stefan’s interdisciplinary team is researching and engineering processes that can grow bacteria in wastewater. The bacteria biomass contains proteins that can be used as feed for animals. The water footprint of this process is much lower than that of conventional protein sources, as the water that is used here would normally be discarded. Currently, his team is computing the economical feasibility and sustainability of this process, while collaborating with the industry for product valorization.
#54 - Prof. Ngai Yin Yip
Finding a niche in academic water research can be challenging for young professors and postdocs. In this episode, Rhea and I hosted Prof. Ngai Yin Yip, professor at Columbia University, who conducts research on membrane-less and non-evaporative desalination of hypersaline brines by temperature swing solvent extraction (TSSE). This TSSE desalination is driven by low-grade thermal heat to cost-competitively treat high-salinity waters. He is also developing a cost-competitive and sustainable membrane-based process to remove and recover nitrogen as ammonia and phosphor as phosphate from nutrient-rich wastewaters.
#53 - Greg Newbloom: Membrion
Ceramic membranes are robust, durable and outperform polymeric membranes in harsh liquid environments. However, their price is still high because of the raw materials and the high temperature of manufacturing. Here is an advanced silica-based (silica is the most abundant elements in Earth's crust) sol-gel ceramic membrane that is synthesized without high temperature processing. In this episode, Greg Newbloom, founder & CEO of Membrion, shares how he scales up an academic lab membrane to an industrial membrane to treat difficult wastewater such as produced water in petroleum industry. The Membrion technology comprises ion exchange membranes that are stacked together to remove charged species and recover clean water from wastewater.
#52 - Prof. Wiebe M. de Vos
Prof. Wiebe M. de Vos, leader of the research group Membrane Surface Science at Twente University, tries to solve complex water treatment problems through interdisciplinary and creative research. In this episode, he shares his three research pillars with us: 1- Complex fouling mechanisms occurring when treating e.g. produced water from O&G, 2- Coatings, layer by layer and polyelectrolyte membranes, and 3- A fully aqueous membrane synthesis platform. We also talk about the research edges and opportunities in ion exchange membranes.
#51 - Ole Kristian Sivertsen: Desert Control
Imagine whenever you go to the supermarket, you can find the water consumption of any food product on its label! The amount of water that was consumed from its planting to its harvesting. Wouldn’t that help you make a sustainable choice? Why food?! because agriculture consumes above 60% of the total water consumption across industries. According to the United Nations, above 12 million hectares are becoming desert every year or as Ole Kristian Sivertsen said, “about one football field of fertile land disappears every two seconds”. One nonchemical way to return desert to fertile land has been developed by Desert Control. Ole Kristian Sivertsen, CEO of Desert Control, explains in this episode how big and challenging the desertification problem and how Desert Control solution can stop and recover dying lands to green land. The solution is called Liquid Natural Clay (LNC) that can be produced onsite and sprayed directly to sand or arid soil to form a structure like sponge, which enables the sand to capture water for a long time and improve its mineral composition contents for agriculture. As a result, LNC saves up to 50% of water and fertilizer consumption.
#50 - Bruno Abreu: SCUBIC
Urban population growth, economic development and change of consumption patterns increase water demand. The challenge is how can water utilities continue using old water infrastructure to maintain the increase of water demand at lower cost? Daily urban water consumption is processed by algorithms to predict the exact needed water amount that should be supplied to the right underground reservoir and at the right time. This water supply via pumps consumes electricity which makes 30-40% of the total tap water cost. Electricity price in Europe and abroad changes every hour of the day for 24 hours. Processing all these data to reduce the water supply cost by more than 3% is one of SCUBIC achievements. Bruno Abreu, co-founder of SCUBIC, discusses in this episode how his platform deploys mathematical algorithms that benefit water utilities making intelligent decisions to cut the water supply cost and reduce the overuse of water infrastructure.
#49 - Prof. Mathias Wessling
Professor Mathias Wessling from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, winner of the Leibniz 2019 price, is innovating four pillars of membrane technology: 1-hollow fiber NF, 2-layer by layer membranes, 3-AI backward design recipes, and 4-water treatment inverse problems. We (Rhea Verbeke and I) talked about the contributions of his research that have been made it from lab scale to pilot scale to industrial products. His membrane innovations are either licensed to companies such as Evonik or transformed into new companies such as Con-vergence, furthr-research, Amovion and Biothrust. Currently, his team is developing a novel membrane for dialysis that has thepotential to shift the dialysis market. Enjoy this episode that bridges valuable insights for academics, industrial experts and investors active in water field and beyond!
#48 - Victor L. Shikoli: HydroIQ
According to HydroIQ, half of the water supplied by utilities in Africa is lost before reaching the consumer due to leakages. Hence, there is a need for an online platform layer between water suppliers and consumers to visualize the exact consumed amount of water and pay for this amount frictionless. Victor L. Shikoli, co-founder of HydroIQ, shares in this podcast episode how HydroIQ assist homes, utilities, businesses and industries to use, manage, report, bill and pay for water efficiently.
#47 - Prof. Mihail Barboiu
Professor Mihail Barboiu belongs to the pioneers of biomimetic membranes. Via supramolecular chemistry, he designs artificial channels, embedded in membranes, through which water or ions can selectively permeate. In this episode, we dive into Prof. Mihail’s journey: his inspiration, the working mechanisms of artificial channels, the upscaling of these membranes, and the impact they can have on society as they can reach 2 LMHbar output. These membranes seem way ahead of the game implying they can cut CAPEX and OPEX of seawater desalination by half! We also touch on other applications such as the selective removal of lithium from sea water and the potential of artificial water channels in medical applications. This episode contains many insights, all the way from nano to macro!
#46 - Prof. Andrea Iris Schäfer
"I have a dream: safe water for all children" professor Andrea Iris Schäfer, KIT. In this episode, Rhea and I hosted Prof. Andrea Schaefer who develops reliable drinking water systems at an affordable price for several communities in Africa and abroad. These decentralized systems combine membrane technology with renewable energy. Moreover, she is researching and developing low pressure reactive membranes to remove endocrine disrupters from wastewater. It was inspiring to learn how her academic career started and how it developed over the years. Her vision and the key insights she shared with us in this episode can be valuable for junior researchers who would like to pursue an academic career.
#45 - Prof. Jeffrey McCutcheon
“Our ideas are our art as scientists” professor Jeffrey McCutcheon at the University of Connecticut, USA. In this episode, my co-host Rhea Verbeke and I discuss Prof's breakthrough research on additive manufacturing methods for water purification membranes. We talk about the gaps between academia and industry, about the hype cycle of new water technologies and the opportunities that lay in convergence research. He also shares interesting new research directions and talks about what you need to become a good academician.
#44 - Steve Creech: Wyland Foundation
''Thousands have lived without love, not one without water'' W.H.Auden was a poet (1907-1973). The Wyland Foundation, a non-profit organization, brings artists, scientists and teachers together to raise environmental awareness through education programs, public arts projects, and community events. Steve Creech, president of The Wyland Foundation, shares in this episode the tools and the key lessons of the US Mayor’s Challenge to save water across the US.
#43 - Jan Post: Wetsus
In water, the business of science and engineering is to transfer skills that straddle both academia and industry towards solving urgent firm water challenges. In these regards, Wetsus is a platform coordinating multidisciplinary experts from both industry and academia to skill young water solutionists and deliver innovations applicable to the society. Jan Post, program director at Wetsus, discusses in this episode how Wetsus impacts water sector and what is going on its innovation pipelines focused on four research themes: 1-drought resilience, 2-healthy environment, 3-recovered resources and 4-sustainable water.
#42 - James Dunning: Syrinix
Water and wastewater utilities process their network data to secure safe drinking water and ensure treated wastewater discharge to the ecosystem. Displaying worth processed data on the screen to the operators to take the right action at the right time for the right location is vital. Syrinix is one of the key players in developing hardware and software to process and monitor utilities water networks. James Dunning, CEO of Syrinix, speaks in this episode about the value of proceed data to water utilities and how Syrinix adds value in this matter.
#41 - Max Gangestad: GWT algae water solution
The harvesting cost of algal biofilm is one of the bottleneck of commercialising algae-based product. GWT developed a system that uses vertically oriented conveyor belts that grow algae on their surface. Max Gangestad, COO at GWT, elaborates on GWT solution and how algae can be used to make fertilisers, bioplastics, and biofuels.
#40 - Amanda Siqueira: VAPAR
According to Eureau.org, the total length of the sewer network in EU is 3 million km. Because of the aging, population growth and pandemic situation, the stress is increasing on this network, which leads to leakage and abrupt. One efficient way to assess the sewer network is to record and watch the cleaned pipes via cameras. VAPAR is a platform using AI to process this CCTV (closed-circuit television) files at a fast pace to detect the leakages and increase network exploitation efficiency. Amanda Siqueira, CEO at VAPAR, explains the golden circle: why, how and what is VAPAR solution to the water market.
#39 - Amrit Om Nayak: Indra water
Amrit Om Nayak, Co-Founder & CEO at Indra Water, discusses a novel decentralized Electro-oxidation (EO) system designed to treat two wastewater categories; Blackwater and greywater. This system provides a chemical free alternative to chemical coagulation or Membrane bioreactor (MBR). Among questions in the episode: when and how to use Indra system instead of conventional ones to treat a wide range of COD and harmful chemicals from different industrial wastewater streams.
#38 - Baker Bozeyeh: Flowless
Non-revenue water (NRW) is water that is supplied to the system but doesn’t reach the customer. Among the factors behind this phenomena are the lack of knowledge of the network and outdated infrastructures. Baker Bozeyeh, CEO of Flowless, explains in this episode how Flowless can enhance water supply efficiency by deploying emerging technologies for automated faults detection & process optimization.
#37 - Zachary Sadow: KMX Technologies
Global demand for lithium is increasing at a faster clip than it was forecasted. The lithium is manufactured from either the extraction of lithium-containing salts from underground brine reservoirs or the mining of lithium-containing rock. Its concentration in the brine is one of the challenging steps in the mineral processing. Zachary Sadow, Chairman & CEO at KMX Technologies, discusses how KMX membrane technology facilitates a separation of pure water and valuable minerals such as lithium from brine and waste-streams at low temperature and pressure.
#36 - William Janssen: Desolenator
#35 - Chris Thomas: AQUA4D
#34 - Qilin Li: Solar Membrane Distillation
Reverse Osmosis membrane (RO) and thermal (MED, MVC and MSF) desalination are two main types of desalination technologies in the water market. The two solutions cost energy that is not always affordable. One way to reduce the energy cost is to couple renewable energy with these two desalination techs. Another way is to transfer academia breakthrough technologies such as solar membrane distillation to the industry. In this episode Prof Qilin Li at Rice university and the Founder and Chief Scientist at SolMem discusses:
1. Engineering one reactor that combines a solar thermal collector with a membrane distillation reactor.
2. Advantages of using a spiral wound membrane configuration in SMD
3. Challenges to transfer an academia SMD water tech to the water market
#33 - Peter Christou: SWIRLTEX: a new spin on membrane filtration
#32 - Moritz Waldstein: "mitte” offers a purified and mineralized drinking water.
Moritz Waldstein, CEO of "mitte’’, lays out in this episode the key components of how ‘’mitte’’ solution will not only clean water but also enhance its taste and regain its natural mineral composition:
· Could an ‘’iPhone’’ moment happens in the drinking water industry? An intuitive home drinking water solution that combines state of the art water techs with an IOT system and respects the product life-cycle sustainability.
· Instead of only removing substances from water, ‘’mitte’’ adds minerals to water to restore its naturalness and tastiness.
· Sooner or later existing drinking water techs will be canalized and wiped out of the market, while the need for healthy and tasty water will continue to be more fragmented.
#31 - Michael Gardner: Raising blended capital for water techs
Water industry can mimic the financial infrastructure available for the IT and electronic start-ups to release their product to the market. AQAIX is one promising platform.
Building a strong IT team inside a water tech company will not only enable extracting the values from the data but will also construct a strategic digital infrastructure.
#30 - Christoph Kellenberger: Micro- to Nanofiltration flat sheet membranes made from almost any polymer
#29 - Wolfgang Vogl: Online water bacteria analyser
Wolfgang Vogl, CEO-Founder at VWMs GmbH, talks about his rapid microbiology analyser, how does it work, its techno-economical values and the ability of this technology to change the design of wastewater treatment plant configuration.
#28 - Piotr Dlugolecki: The digital ecosystem of Berghof’s membranes
Piotr Dlugolecki, head of technology, discusses three points in this episode: 1- the techno-economical values of Berghof’s tubular UF, 2- B-smart ecosystem to run B-UF in a reliable and optimised way, 3- B-care service to develop a solution from an idea or technical challenges till the realization of an industrial water solution.
#27 - Maarten Ter Keurst: Investing in water disruptive techs
Maarten Ter Keurst, director of Investments at PureTerra Ventures, shares why, how and when water start-ups can consider investors such as capital ventures. Meanwhile, he elucidates the key mistakes that young water start-up leaders can circumvent.
#26 - Hassan Aboelnga: Urban Water Security
Hassan Aboelnga, vice president of the Middle East Water Forum, explains that securing urban water is like solving rubik's cube. The solution is based on a developing and implementing water security indexes which takes into consideration the climate change, urban population growth, the water resources stress and the aging of tap water, rain water and wastewater infrastructures.
#25 - William T. Guiney: The breakthrough XCPC solar thermal technology for water treatment
William T. Guiney, founder of Artic Solar, expounds the uniqueness and values of the XCPC (External Concentrating Parabolic Collector) technology as well as its implantation in the solar-thermal desalination (STD).
#24 - Jeroen De Lathouwer: Digitalization unlocks the efficiency of wastewater treatment plants
#23 - Elango Thevar: AI and machine learning to detect and predict water infrastructure leakage
Elango Thevar, CEO of NEER digital platform, elucidates how this platform uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to identify leaks and predict water, sewer and stormwater collection systems failures.
#22 - Howie Honeyman: The solutions of Forward Water Technologies
#21 - Markus Multhauf: Pharmaceutical waters by means of advanced purification techs
#20 - Rachel Major & Ari Ochoa: NuLeaf solution to treat and recycle wastewater
#19 - Gaëtane Suzenet: EU value chain for water tech start-up
Gaëtane Suzenet, Managing Partner, enlighten us on how policy makers and investors in EU are fortifying the water innovation and building an ecosystem to the market uptake.