A ground-breaking point-of-use water treatment system, using ozonation and IoT sensing technology, has been awarded a Highly Commended in the BusinessGreen Technology Awards.

Aqua21 was shortlisted alongside seven other UK based tech start-ups in the Breakthrough of the Year category at the national ‘clean tech’ awards.

BusinessGreen showcased the best entrepreneurs, engineers, businesses and investors from across the green technology sector at the awards ceremony on 1 December, held at the Institute of Engineering and Technology in central London.

Trevor Costello, inventor and chief technology officer at Aqua21, said: “We were thrilled and delighted to receive a Highly Commended in the Breakthrough of the Year category, especially alongside so many other innovative technologies.
“Using ozone to treat and disinfect water is well established, but it has never been widely adopted because it has, until now, been expensive, using large bulky equipment and vast amounts of energy.

“Our technology really is a breakthrough because it has miniaturised the technology and made it energy efficient, low-cost, low complexity, and therefore it has the potential to be adopted by businesses and organisations worldwide.”
He added: “We’ve integrated this with sensing technology, so that we can test in real time the quality of the water and the amount of ozone needed to treat it, and we can create an IoT network of sensors that can talk to each other. This gives it huge potential and endless possibilities.”

Aqua21’s technology is the result of extensive lab and field research into making ozonation — a powerful and safe form of water disinfection. The unit has a dramatically lower carbon footprint than the alternative of producing, distributing and dosing water with chlorine. It leaves no chemical impact on effluent and will not harm subsequent downstream aquaculture, flora or fauna.

Ozone doesn’t stay in the water after treatment so it does not alter taste, nor strip out mineral content. Having killed any pathogens, the water remains ‘active’ for a short time making the water a safe and mild biocidal agent – this means it could replace disinfectants and chemicals used in hand washing and cleaning.

Some example uses for Aqua21 technology include: cleaning dirty water at point of use in areas of Africa; in farm irrigation systems where it can provide water of one quality for the growing period and of a higher biocidal quality pre-harvest; or in hospitals to prevent the spread of bacteria.

The technology has gained grants and support from the scientific community, and Aqua21 is now seeking further investment and funding partnerships to bring the product to market.