New Zealand startup Aquafortus has signed a licensing agreement with Texas-based PetroH20 Recovery worth US$40 million ($53 million) for the first three years, and US$25 million ($33 million) each subsequent year.
Aquafortus has created zero liquid discharge (ZLD) technology that takes in wastewater with high levels of salinity and separates the brines into dry mineral salts and clean water.
With PetroH20 Recovery a water management and solution provider for the oil and gas industry, the agreement with the company will see Aquafortus’ technology applied across PetroH20 Recovery’s more than 60 locations.
Daryl Briggs, CEO of Aquafortus, said, “Every day US oil and gas wells produce more than 58 million barrels of salty water and these numbers are growing. Our technology ensures the maximum recovery of clean, surface discharge quality water at less than half the cost of current solutions.”
The company is also looking beyond the oil and gas industry; as Briggs explained, 900 million tonnes of wastewater is produced globally each day, with chemical refineries and dairy plants among the operations generating significant amounts that need treatment.
“In addition to this, international ZLD regulations are creating very substantial opportunities as governments get serious about water pollution and its by-products, compelling industries that produce high salinity wastewater to install ZLD systems; this can currently cost on average between USD$20 to $900 per tonne of polluted water to dispose,” Briggs said.
The market is predicted to grow from an estimated US$4.67 billion in 2016 to US$6.88 billion in 2021. As it looks to take on this market, the startup is currently fundraising in New Zealand ahead of a planned international raise.
Briggs was previously founder and CEO of Hydroxsys, a startup that had developed a new method of water extraction using membrane technology. Raising NZ$2.1 million in 2014, the startup’s first focus was on the dairy space, with its technology allowing for the easier, faster, and cheaper conversion of milk into milk powder.
Image: the Aquafortus team.