UNESCO calls water pollution one of the main challenges facing societies, with 2 million tonnes of sewage getting into the world’s water every day. Oxyle desires to assist remedy the disaster with a brand new wastewater therapy that removes micropollutants. The Zurich-based startup introduced right now $3 million in pre-seed funding that it’ll use to carry its tech to market. The spherical was led by Wingman Ventures with participation from SOSV, Higher Ventures and one other.vc.
The brand new capital brings Oxyle’s complete raised up to now to $7.4 million because it was based in 2020. The startup’s clients embrace corporations within the pesticide, chemical, textile pigments, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors which can be regulated by strict discharge limits.
Oxyle’s wastewater therapy was developed 5 years in the past by co-founder and CEO Dr. Fajer Mushtaq throughout her doctoral analysis at ETH Zurich. Whereas incomes her masters, Dr. Mushtaq labored with artificial chemical compounds to develop new nanomaterials for biomedical functions. That resulted in wastewater containing poisonous chemical compounds that wanted particular dealing with and disposal strategies. Since there wasn’t an efficient option to take away the chemical compounds, the wastewater needed to be incinerated.
“For me, this fashion of dealing with water was not solely pricey, unsafe and really unsustainable, however it additionally utterly removed one in every of our most valuable sources,” Dr. Mushtaq stated. “The extra I researched this subject, the extra I learnt in regards to the immense scale at which incineration was practiced by small and huge worldwide corporations.”
She determined to focus her doctoral analysis on growing novel catalysts to take away micropollutants. Dr. Mushtaq then labored with co-founder and CTO Dr. Silvan Staufert to combine Oxyle’s water therapy answer right into a scalable know-how platform. Since then, Oxyle has accomplished paid pilots with industrial and municipal clients and elevated its crew to 17 folks.
Oxyle’s wastewater therapy removes micropollutants together with PFAS (chemical compounds present in merchandise like cleansing options, waterproof materials and nonstick cookware), prescription drugs, hormones and pesticides. It entails a nanoporous catalyst (a cloth with excessive floor space that takes vitality) developed by Dr. Mushtaq. When the nanoporous catalyst is activated by water actions like effervescent or vibrations, it creates a chemical response. The chemical response generates oxidative radicals that break down natural pollution into carbon, fluorides and different innocent minerals.
Oxyle makes use of modular reactors to deploy its tech. For corporations that must adjust to discharge rules, Oxyle additionally presents an analytics platform for real-time monitoring of micropollutants related by its reactors.
The startup is continuous to carry out on-site paid pilots with clients to get suggestions on its know-how. It has labored on tasks with agrochemical corporations whose manufacturing processes lead to excessive ranges of pesticides, herbicides and pesticides. That wastewater is normally despatched for incineration, however Dr. Mushtaq stated they had been capable of take away greater than 95% of compounds by utilizing Oxyle’s tech. The startup has additionally completed environmental remediation tasks with industrial clients to carry pollution, together with PFAS, in groundwater all the way down to beneath detection restrict.
Different wastewater options embrace activated carbon know-how (to soak up pollution) and membrane filtration (to filter out pollution) know-how, that are in extensive use all over the world to deal with wastewater. However Dr. Mushtaq stated that pollution nonetheless stay on the used activated carbon or in concentrated water left over from the filtration course of. These applied sciences additionally lead to excessive working prices, because the activated carbon or membranes have to be changed.
Oxyle’s benefit is that it degrades micropollutants with out leading to secondary waste. Its nanoporous catalyst lasts for a very long time, and is totally recyclable, Dr. Mushtaq added. However Oxyle sees filtration applied sciences as companions as a substitute of rivals, because the extremely concentrated wastewater they depart behind might be handled utilizing Oxyle’s strategies.
The startup is increasing its tech platform to cowl extra use circumstances, together with flow-through methods (or synthetic water channels), ultra-compact methods like these utilized in labs, massive scale use circumstances like municipal wastewater and low-cost options for growing economies. Oxyle can also be working with corporations and R&D institutes to enhance the velocity and price effectiveness of its pollutant analytics system.
In an announcement, Wingman Ventures founding companion Alex Stöckl stated, “Our freshwater sources are depleting at alarming charges and poisonous micropollutants in water result in extreme damages in our well being and atmosphere. New rules will demand corporations to behave. However moreover, we have to use sustainable know-how to guard our valuable water sources for us, and our future generations. We’re proud to help Oxyle on their journey to handle our world water drawback so as to give everybody entry to wash water.”