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Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year

For the early-stage technology company which made the most impressive commercial breakthrough into the global water technology market in 2021.


What is it?

A Canadian start-up optimising the performance of desalination plants through machine learning.

What has it done?

Synauta’s “setpoints-as-a-service” offering revolutionised the practices of desalination and reuse plant operators in 2021, securing the company a plethora of new projects in SWRO, BWRO and reuse applications around the globe, including new geographies in South America, North Africa and southeast Asia. Key industry partners Engie, Osmoflo, Sacyr and Veolia were secured during the year, validating the role that data and machine learning will play in desalination’s next chapter.

What makes it special?

The low-hanging fruit to optimise reverse osmosis desalination has already been harvested and it is accumulation of marginal gains that will get further results. Synauta is at the forefront of the next evolution in desalination where continuous analysis from its machine learning system will give EPC contractors the edge in helping operators optimise their plants.

The benefits of Synauta’s solution stretch across energy, chemicals and carbon footprint. Its machine learning system has reduced the energy bill by hundreds of thousands of dollars at a >200,000m3/d SWRO plant in the Middle East, despite the plant featuring an older and inflexible design, while Synauta’s new RO Chemical Saver recommends the optimal time to clean membranes and maintain performance for brackish water and reuse plant operators irrespective of plant conditions.


Not content with only optimising seawater and brackish water desalination itself, Synauta has expertly turned its hand to maximising RO’s value in brine concentration, where it is being applied on Osmoflo’s Brine Squeezer product. Current results have demonstrated 10-15% chemical savings by cleaning only when necessary, as well as improving permeate output by 6% and doubling projected membrane life.



What is it?

An Israeli developer of a high-recovery reverse osmosis system which alternates the flow direction every few hours to take advantage of the initial slow stage of most chemical reactions that lead to scale formation.

What has it done?

2021 saw demand skyrocket for Rotec’s proprietary Flow Reversal Reverse Osmosis (FR-RO) technology, as industry and municipalities awoke to the value that higher recovery rates can bring to their plants. Landing major municipal contracts as well as installing in a plethora of applications including SWRO and brine concentration, the company also expanded into new sectors including producing ultrapure semiconductor product water and delivering on two oil & gas wastewater treatment plants in China.

What makes it special?

FR-RO has gone mainstream in sensational fashion – it is now being implemented in Singapore PUB’s 288,000m3/d Changi wastewater treatment plant, following on from success of demonstration projects at Kranji and Tuas. Rotec also executed the retrofit of a 6.8MGD (39,200m3/d) drinking water treatment plant with the City of Santa Monica in California.

The company’s ability to retrofit existing RO plants is unique in the water treatment sector compared to competing semi-batch systems, which are typically a new configuration for RO plants. Clients have been impressed with the minor footprint of changes usually required, including piping or valves.


With ever-increasing amounts of brine being produced with limited disposal routes, a cost-effective way of managing the mountains of salt is in high demand. Rotec’s Brine Concentrator product, which can treat waste streams with extremely high levels of silica, has been pivotal to positioning RO as a viable alternative to expensive evaporators in brine concentration.