Water Innovate's N-Tox technology wins Shell Springboard Award

Shell has awarded Water Innovate nearly $70,000 to help extend the market potential of its N-Tox® nitrous oxide monitoring technology. The product was one of just three Southern Region finalists out of 265 entries selected to go through to the Shell Springboard National Final in London. Springboard judges were looking for commercially viable business plans for innovative products and services which would lead to greenhouse gas reductions...

The photograph above was taken at the Shell Springboard Southern Region Final. From left to right we have Tom Stephenson (Technical Director, Water Innovate), James Smith (Chairman, Shell UK), Steve Callister (Managing Director, WI), John Catling (Executive Chairman, WI), and Tim Curtis (Chief Operating Officer, Energy Saving Trust – Southern Region Judge).

CRANFIELD, United Kingdom, April 6, 2006 -- Shell has awarded Water Innovate GBP40,000 [US$69,737] to help extend the market potential of its proven and innovative N-Tox® nitrous oxide monitoring technology, the company announced March 28.

Dr. Steve Callister, managing director at Water Innovate, said "We are delighted to have won this Shell Springboard award - our plans for commercializing N-Tox have been given a valuable boost that will allow us to accelerate the pace of bringing this technology to the international environmental market."

Water Innovate was one of just three Southern Region finalists out of 265 entries selected to go through to the Shell Springboard National Final in London. Springboard judges were looking for commercially viable business plans for innovative products and services which would lead to greenhouse gas reductions.

Prof. Tom Stephenson, Water Innovate's Technical Director, explained that the technology detects nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with almost three hundred times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. He said, "Nitrous oxide is an important but often overlooked greenhouse gas; over four per cent of its emissions arise from wastewater treatment and these discharges are expected to increase significantly as tougher effluent nitrogen controls come into force."

Having recognized this issue, Water Innovate has invested significant resources in developing this product to enable wastewater plant operators to detect nitrous oxide, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas release and mitigate global warming effects.

The new technique has the additional advantage that, at the same time, it can be used for evaluating nitrification efficiency in industrial and municipal activated sludge systems. Tom Stephenson commented, "As nitrous oxide is an indicator of nitrification failure, N-Tox can be used to help the direct control of ammonia levels in treated effluent. Our technology can provide an early warning of wastewater treatment failure."

He added, "When nitrification starts to fail, we see rapid detection of nitrous oxide, and the rate of production is directly related to this failure. Hence, measurement of nitrous oxide using N-Tox allows effective monitoring of nitrification performance to help prevent breakthrough of ammonia into effluent."

Extensive research at Cranfield University, UK, set the foundations to enable Water Innovate to develop this patented technology. The Shell Springboard funding ensures the ongoing development of the product.

The N-Tox monitor is housed within an IP65 enclosure and comprises an integral sample pump, gas conditioning device, non-dispersive infra red gas analyser, auto-calibration system and data logging unit. The robust instrument transmits 4-20 mA in proportion to nitrous oxide level and has various user-configurable plant failure and greenhouse gas emission alarm settings. As N-Tox relies on non-invasive gas-phase detection of nitrous oxide, rather than detection in the aqueous phase, probe fouling problems can be avoided.

Because industrial effluents, such as landfill leachate or pharmaceutical wastewater, have high ammonia levels, and many wastewater treatment works are consented by the UK Environment Agency for ammonia at less than 5 mg/l in treated effluent, the requirement for an N-Tox alarm is critical as the consequences of nitrification failure can be serious.

Water Innovate is bridging the innovation gap by transferring N-Tox and other revolutionary products from the laboratory to the international environmental technology market. The Company brings together a combination of proven management capability, secured financial backing, expert technical knowledge and experience, and protected intellectual property.

Steve Callister said, "The current focus at Water Innovate is on marketing N-Tox, ODOURsim®, our dynamic software package that predicts formation and emission of hydrogen sulphide from effluent treatment plants, and ZR-Coag®, an advanced high performance chemical additive for water and wastewater treatment. We are also developing three advanced tertiary treatment process technologies."

Water Innovate Ltd (WIL) was formed in December 2003 and is focused on the commercial exploitation of six technologies for the environmental technology industries developed by Cranfield University's School of Water Sciences (SWS). Further details on the SWS can be viewed at www.cranfield.ac.uk/sims/water/

WIL (www.waterinnovate.co.uk) is run by a management team comprising John Catling (Executive Chairman), Dr Steve Callister (Managing Director) and Prof Tom Stephenson (Technical Director). Other key staff include Dr Pascal Harper (Product Manager), supported by six academic staff at Cranfield University – Prof Simon Judd, Dr Simon Parsons, Dr Bruce Jefferson, Dr Phil Longhurst, Dr Paul Jeffrey and Dr Elise Cartmell.

Shell Springboard (www.shellspringboard.org) is a programme that seeks to provide a financial boost to a small number of compelling business plans from across the UK. The judges look for business plans for a product or service which is commercially viable and innovative, and will lead to greenhouse gas reductions.

NESTA (www.nesta.org.uk), a major investor in WIL, is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, the organisation that invests in UK creativity and innovation. Set up by Act of Parliament in 1998, NESTA uses the interest on a National Lottery endowment to pioneer ways of supporting and promoting innovation and creativity across science, technology, the arts and learning. NESTA was created to invest at the highest point of risk, and offer individuals, groups and small businesses the time, space, money and support to push at the frontiers of knowledge and practice.

[US$1 = GBP0.5735]

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