Australian wastewater innovation wins international water prize
Brisbane-based company Bilexys, originating from The University of Queensland (UQ), has won the Pre-Revenue Track award in the US$200,000 Imagine H20 2011 Prize - the world’s premier competition for water start-up companies.
Bilexys was formed by UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest, to commercialise an innovative wastewater technology developed at the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) within the university.
Accepting the award on behalf of Bilexys, UniQuest Commercialisation Manager and Bilexys Business Development Manager Paul Barrett said the start-up venture was honoured to win the prize and be acknowledged by key drivers in global water innovation.
“This award is excellent recognition of the commercialisation journey Bilexys has been on over the last few years, where we have translated an invention in the lab to a prototype installed on a customer’s site,” Dr Barrett said.
“And also, through partnering with potential customers, we have developed a sound understanding of the business model required to deliver strong commercial returns to future customers and our company.”
The Bilexys technology converts wastewater into high-value chemical products, including sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. The technology can be installed as an add-on to existing wastewater treatment sites, producing chemicals at the point of use and thus eliminating the need for shipping and handling. The chemicals produced are potentially less expensive and have a lower CO2 footprint relative to traditional chemical manufacturing techniques, providing significant economic and environmental benefits.
The Pre-Revenue Track prize, which includes cash and in-kind services, will help Bilexys to springboard into its next phase of product development and accelerate the transfer of the technology into the hands of customers.
Congratulating Bilexys on this achievement, UniQuest Managing Director David Henderson said the award recognised how university inventions can flourish as commercial opportunities, and how collaborations with industry can leverage further private investment and deliver returns on public funding for scientific discoveries.
“Bilexys is a great example of a university technology that has been developed to an investable opportunity, thanks to the support, passion and resourcefulness of the AWMC researchers, a UniQuest commercial proof of concept grant, and a Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund grant,” he said.
“It is also credit to the team, as their approach to market engagement has attracted customers willing to run pilot plants on their sites. The support of industry leaders like Visy Paper, Carlton United Brewery, MeadWestvaco, InBev and Sierra Nevada has also boosted Bilexys’s prospects of making a real economic and environmental impact on the way chemicals can be manufactured.”
UniQuest has licensed the technology to Bilexys, with several subsequent patent applications strengthening the intellectual property value for prospective investors and industry partners seeking a competitive advantage.
For more on Bilexys’ experience in the Imagine H2O 2011 Prize, click here.
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