Watercycle Technologies is revolutionising water filtration

This University of Manchester spinout specialises in the development of advanced graphene/polymer composite water filtration membranes and systems capable of treating contaminated water faster and for longer than those currently available on the market.

Watercycle Technologies have developed a high flux, low fouling membrane which, when coupled with its advanced membrane distillation (MD) technology, can treat highly concentrated wastewater from industries as diverse as desalination, mining, oil & gas, textiles, food & beverage, and others.

The system has the additional advantage of having low running costs as the process is driven by thermal solar power or low-grade waste heat from an industrial process.

Access to clean water is an essential component of every society and with naturally-occurring supplies becoming increasingly depleted around the world due to over-extraction and climate change, there is an ever greater need for water purification technology.

There is an increasing focus on regulation requiring industries to treat the wastewater that they produce, providing an opportunity for ever more sophisticated filtration methods.

Graphene Water Technologies's water-resistant membrane.

Watercycle Technologies is developing membranes with tuned wettability that enable the extraction of pure water vapour from contaminated water sources such as mining effluent, textile wastewater or desalination brine.

An estimated 80% of global wastewater produced is left untreated, which equates to several hundred cubic kilometres a year, an opportunity WCT intends to exploit.

The company was founded by Seb Leaper, a former PhD student at The University of Manchester who, along with Chief Technical Officer, Ahmed Abdelkarim, has developed a deep understanding of water treatment and membrane technology. The team also includes Andy Wilkinson and Margherita Sepioni who have provided their extensive expertise in support of the company since its inception.

Watercycle’s graphene/polymer composite membranes offer the following advantages over current membrane technologies:

  • Higher output flow rate
  • Higher contaminant rejection
  • Greater fouling resistance
  • Improved mechanical strength and durability
Graphene Water Technologies' MD demonstrator unit.

MD demonstrator unit

Unlike other graphene-based membrane technologies, which tend to lack durability and require bespoke manufacturing equipment, their polymer composite technology is highly durable and can be produced at scale using industry-standard techniques. This reliability and ease of construction will be imperative to meet the increasing demand around the world for fresh and clean water.

With their advanced membrane distillation technology, the competitive advantages Watercycle has over conventional processes include:

  • Tolerance to complex, highly concentrated wastewater
  • Higher water and resource recovery (towards zero-liquid discharge)
  • Powered by low grade or waste heat
  • Reduced electrical demand
  • Lower capital and operating costs

The membranes and equipment can also be used to create high concentration brines to ‘harvest’ high value ions such as lithium.

Visit Watercycle Technologies to find out more or contact the Project Manager.