For Ipurtech Ltd. first came the idea, then the R&D, then the manufacturing. Not easily achieved without funding or support. UK funding is not easy to come bye but luckily we were “talent spotted” and were entered and won a £1.3 million innovation grant. It’s not an easy path, but for SME’s requires no match funding. If anyone would like to get in touch with us and find out the pro’s and con’s about Horizon 2020, please do so.
Our idea to commercialise some new catalyst technology led firstly to odour control systems. These outperformed absorption or bacterial decay systems £ for £, but although conforming to environmental requirements, do not generate real operating-cost savings. Our clients were more interested in reducing sewage disposal costs where outflows of 50 tonnes per hour on large industrial sites was attracting sewage bills and sewage fines in six figures.
We already had small units controlling bacteria in metalworking fluids so the aim was to upsize and add to the catalytic power in order to reduce COD levels. This we have achieved and our equipment, in various sizes, is on several sites in the UK. Meat rendering, tomato hydroponic liquids, brewery waste can all be improved and brought back for re-use at some upstream point in the process. The double gain is reducing water use and improving the quality of any remaining liquid which has to go to drain.
As an R&D company originally, we have moved to manufacturing but the real challenge was to understand the Wastewater industry. Who are you? What do you need? Is each site unique?
We are looking for input and partners. We are Chemists who don’t get out much!
We can destroy organics, even hormones, and drugs. Size matters so can we re-circulate a tank overnight for re-use in the morning? That requires a smaller unit than one which has to “hit” 50 tonnes in one pass. We can deal with liquids adulterated with oils, (palm oil, suds) but this may need a trickle of reagent to generate more action and reduce capital cost.
The core of the system generates very reactive radicals which break down organic chemicals. The catalyst is activated by UV and one of the key patented features is that it is self-cleaning with no moving parts. It can be used to kill bacteria in very turbid (> 600 NTU) fluids with standard UV-C power. No other UV system can claim to do this.
This is new, but well understood technology, which we have commercially developed and proved in site tests, taking it from research to manufacture. During 2017 the project continues at CAMPDEN BRI food research where we will be pasteurising opaque beverages and proving potability of reclaimed water systems. Rainwater harvesting and systems powered by photovoltaics alone, are a year away.
Our thanks to all the brave companies, (Bosch Thermotechnology, (for legionnaire’s protection), Bulwell Precision, John Pointon Rendering, and Barfoots AD amongst others) who took a punt on the technology and have run with it successfully. It takes a leap of faith to go with “new stuff” but without “new stuff” we would carry on wasting water and money, using chemical biocides and messing up our environment.
Chris Gummer, Director of Engineering at Ipurtech Ltd.