John Favier, NanobOx
Highly energy efficient technology for oxygenation of water using nanobubbles.
What problem are you solving and what is innovative about your approach?
Maintaining levels of dissolved oxygen in process waters is a significant operating cost and is critical to productivity in many commercial bio-processes including controlled environment crop cultivation, aquaculture, wastewater treatment, bio-reactors, fermentation and more. Oxygen is typically dissolved in water using air bubbles of micron size or larger generated mechanically or using high pressure diffusers that have an oxygen transfer efficiency of only 2-3%. In contrast, nanosized (10-9m diameter) bubbles have a transfer efficiency of 85% or more. However, current methods of generating nanobubbles are highly energy intensive which has limited their use in many industrial processes despite their known benefits.
Using a novel, patented technology, NanobOx have reduced by an order of magnitude the energy required to generate nanobubbles in water. When the nanobubbles are generated from air they are uniquely oxygen-enriched, acting as a long lasting ‘oxygen battery’. Our nanobubble generators can be powered by a solar cell or a battery and have no moving parts so are easy to clean and maintain. The technology is highly scalable and can oxygenate water at high flowrates. It can also uniquely be operated under water and can be retrofitted to existing diffusion aeration equipment to enhance efficiency.
How is this idea commercially attractive?
Wild fish stocks continue to decline and over 50% of fish consumed globally is now produced using aquaculture; forecast to increase to 70% by 2030. The energy cost of oxygenation in aquaculture is the second highest expense after feed. NanobOx will drive down the cost of oxygenation in aquaculture which represents a €2.5 billion market opportunity.
Over 1 million ha of crops globally are cultivated in a controlled environment and the Controlled Environment Agriculture Technology market is valued at €40 billion. Use of NanobOx technology will deliver higher yields, and will enable low fertiliser inputs and use of chemicals for cleaning and suppression of harmful algae and pathogens. The immediately serviceable opportunity is valued at €0.5 billion expanding to €5+ billion including outdoor crop irrigation.
Aeration is 60%-70% of OPEX in biological wastewater treatment (WWT) used worldwide in Municipal, Industrial and Agricultural WWT and WWT Aeration Systems is a €20 billion market. For example, the cost of aeration for a municipal WWT plant servicing 50,000 people is of the order of €300,000 p.a. Use of NanobOx technology has the potential to bring significant savings in the energy cost of aeration for WWT.
What do you hope to achieve by participating in Big Ideas?
We are closing our first investment round that will fund our engagement with prospective customers and strategic partners to further validate our value proposition and go-to-market. Big Ideas provides a great opportunity to showcase our technology to prospective partners and customers and engage with potential strategic investors in advance of our next funding round.