Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), a not-for-profit business accelerator, has made a strategic investment in Forward Water Technologies (FWT).

“Environmental regulations concerning industrial wastewater treatment continue to be increasingly more stringent thereby driving the need for improved, cost effective technology alternatives for industry,” said Wayne Maddever, portfolio manager at BIC. “BIC has followed the progress of FWT for several years and is pleased to have recently made a major investment in FWT.”

FWT is commercializing a new water treatment process for the efficient and effective treatment of highly contaminated industrial wastewater. In doing so, FWT not only reduces the cost of water treatment, but also preserves a resource that is continually coming under scrutiny on a global scale.

In developing and commercializing a clean technology of this type, several challenges are evident.

Forward osmosis process diagram. Image Credit: Forward Water Technologies

“FWT has found that advancing new water technologies is challenging as demonstration needs to be completed at a suitable scale to envision full commercial operations,” said Howie Honeyman, CWO of FWT. “This requirement means significant capital equipment must be put in place before any group makes a commercial commitment. This demand is a huge burden for small innovation-based technology companies.”

BIC has been responsible for removing this barrier for FWT, enabling the company to unlock $1,000,000 of non-dilutive funding from Alberta Innovates and Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) for its commercial-scale project in Alberta. BIC also aided by directly providing investment and funds to help relocate FWT’s technical operations and engineering pilot plant to the Western Sarnia-Lambton Research Park.

“Following an extensive technical and economic due diligence process BIC believes that FWT’s forward osmosis technology offers a solution which is superior to alternatives in many aspects,” Maddever said. “In addition, continuing research being carried out by Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario promises to expand the field of applications for FWT’s technology.”

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Furthermore, once FWT began work at the new site in the Research Park, BIC was able to provide additional technical resources and provide guidance on the whole host of services and trades in the Sarnia-Lambton region.

BIC introduced FWT to resources at Lambton College, which has led to funded projects between the college and FWT. This relationship provides additional resources to FWT and enhances the college’s ability to train its students.

FWT strongly believes that without this type of early support for sustainable chemistry and materials-based technologies, it would prove essentially impossible to advance to the early commercial stage. BIC is an enabling development partner, aiding Canadian clean tech community to rapidly evolve in this landscape.

“Both GreenCenter Canada and BIC have supported FWT to overcome this need through investment and support,” said Honeyman said. “As a result, FWT will be able to complete its commercial demonstration which in turn will de-risk the technology in the eyes of the end users and adopters. FWT is targeting first commercial sale of its equipment and processes by the end of 2019.”

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