cleantech insights

A “disruptive” blog post…


The term “disruptive” is thrown around by just about everyone these days – investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and even Cleantech Group!  I fear the word is doomed to follow the same projected path of the word “sustainability”…   Before heading too far down that road, I’d like to get in my two cents on some of the water technologies I perceive to be “disruptive” in today’s world.

  • Amoeba.  A majority of commercial and industrial cooling tower operators have used the same [chemical] treatment system for decades and are hesitant to try anything new, even in the face of rising water and energy costs.  Many alternative treatment systems have been on the market for over a decade, but market penetration has been slow.  Non-oxidizing agents such as biocides, though more expensive, are increasingly being tested and talked about.
  • Axine Water Technologies.  According to data tracked through i3, over a quarter (27%) of venture capital dollars in the first half of 2012 went to companies providing solutions primarily applicable to industrial water users.  The growing presence and importance of this consumer segment stems from concerns around toxicity of wastewater streams, the use of treatment chemicals (and potential creation of byproducts), discharge costs, and more.  Enter Axine, which is in the process of developing a wastewater treatment technology that is chemical-free, does not produce waste solids or hazardous by-products, has reduced energy consumption, and boasts low operating and capital costs.
  • ENBALA Power Networks.  As one of the largest controllable costs of maintaining water networks, energy is an important factor of increasing efficiency and driving down costs.  Water utilities have begun to adapt new technologies that address excessive energy use and, in turn, are saving significant amounts of money.  Some of the more recent innovation trends are seen in grid balancing services like that of ENBALA, which hones in on water and sewage systems’ unique flexibility to manage energy use (i.e., altering the timing and speed of pumps based on cyclical water demands).

To be sure, there are many other interesting water technologies out there that we should all be watching for!  Let me know which “disruptive technologies” you’d like to see in the next round.

Arti Patel is a guest blogger for Cleantech Group.  You can email her at:


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