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Breakthrough Technology Company of the Year: Shortlist

For the early-stage technology company which made the most impressive commercial breakthrough into the global water technology market in 2018.

Shortlisted Nominees



What is it?

A Singaporean-Australian project developer and decentralised water and wastewater treatment specialist with proprietary membrane technologies.

What has it done?

De.Mem was unstoppable in 2018 as it nearly quadrupled its revenues year-on-year and secured a plethora of new orders across the Asian and Australian markets, including its largest single project to date serving a property construction client in South Australia. As well as displaying an impressive innovative streak through a slew of new membrane product launches, De.Mem expanded its horizons by entering the food & beverage and European markets.

What makes it special?

De.Mem unleashed its enviable portfolio of hollow fibre membrane technologies to greatest effect in 2018, applying them in a wide variety of sectors including municipal, oil & gas, electronics manufacturing and point-of-use. It also secured the first orders for its hollow-fibre nanofiltration membranes, which operate at lower pressure compared to conventional configurations and possess the ability to backwash, bringing clients significant cost savings.

In a year of expansion, on top of taking a stake in a German chemicals company, bringing both membrane pre-treatment into its arsenal as well as a beachhead into the European market, De.Mem also diversified into the food & beverage industry.


A stake in fellow NTU spin-off Aromatec will bring its forward osmosis membranes to a lucrative new market in the shape of the food & beverage industry.

No other company combines a technology business with an engineering business in the decentralised space as well as De.Mem. While its unique suite of membranes gives the firm a competitive edge, its projects business provides opportunities for the swift validation of technological innovations and rapid market penetration.



What is it?

The Ontario-based developer of an artificial intelligence-driven platform specifically aimed at water and wastewater utility performance.

What has it done?

Following a successful product launch just a year earlier, 2018 saw Emagin bring the AI revolution to the water industry in an unrivalled fashion. Emagin successfully deployed its solution with utilities across North America and into Europe, Latin America and Asia, as well as securing key partnerships to bring maximum value to end-users. The company’s bumper year culminated in a stunning contract to deploy its technology across the operations of one of the UK’s largest water utilities, a first in the industry at this scale.

What makes it special?

Throughout 2018 Emagin regularly demonstrated over 20% energy cost savings in three-month pilot projects with clients including the City of Calgary and United Utilities, equating to payback times of just 3-5 months. By prescribing control schedules to minimise energy consumption and strain on a network serving seven million customers, Emagin is driving previously unattainable efficiencies to ensure UU will meet intense cost pressures in the company’s ongoing regulatory period.

2018 saw Emagin go beyond its traditional expertise in energy consumption in networks to a city-wide distribution network and treatment plant level, including into the industrial water space, where its work on a reverse osmosis plant predicted a scaling event 18 hours in advance and averted a major potential cost impact.


The company skilfully combines its artificial intelligence and machine learning expertise with a deep-set understanding of the water and wastewater industry, helping it apply the potential of data-driven modelling to the sector in an unparalleled manner. This has cemented its place at the vanguard of shifting the paradigm of industry operations from reactive to proactive control..


Microvi Biotechnologies

What is it?

An advanced materials company from California that enhances how microorganisms perform in biological treatment with its wide range of proprietary biocatalysts.

What has it done?

Microvi was the name on everybody’s lips in 2018 as its MicroNiche Engineering solution proved its versatility in both drinking and wastewater treatment applications. A year of successful wastewater pilots with leading utilities in the UK was topped off by the securing of a contract to install a full-scale groundwater nitrate treatment project in California, a second major project that positions biological treatment as a compelling option for handling the world’s most prevalent groundwater contaminant.

What makes it special?

Building on previous success at its Sunny Slope project in California, 2018 saw Microvi’s Denitrovi solution selected by the nearby Cucamonga Valley Water District to remove nitrates from groundwater and secure the drinking water supply for a growing population. Making a total of more than two billion gallons of water a year available once more from three contaminated wells, the solution is the only biological treatment process with NSF certification for drinking water.

As the war on nutrient pollution in water bodies intensifies, Microvi’s technology is proving itself under all weather conditions as a go-to solution for removing nitrogen and phosphorus down to very low levels in incredibly short retention times.


By replacing expensive chemical precipitation processes while generating virtually no biosolids, its solution provides a low-impact solution to one of the world’s most pressing water pollution issues.

Microvi continues to demonstrate the power of its unique materials science expertise for continued challenges the water industry faces, including the removal of hazardous organic compounds such as TCP and removal of high strength ammonia from sludge liquor. It is proving itself a truly disruptive technology in a constantly evolving market.


Typhon Treatment

What is it?

A UK-based pioneer in the use of ultraviolet LEDs for water disinfection and advanced oxidation in municipal applications.

What has it done?

In 2018 Typhon Treatment silenced doubters by scoring a first commercial contract for its UV LED system in municipal drinking water, demonstrating beyond a doubt that the technology can commercially competitive compared to traditional mercury UV lamps. Long thought to be viable only in very small applications, Typhon has dramatically moved the needle through its contract with United Utilities.

What makes it special?

Since the securing of its tie-up with United Utilities, Typhon’s system has been scaled up by a previously unthinkable factor, making units suitable for flows of 250m3/hr. With the client plagued by cryptosporidium outbreaks in recent years, the long-term contract will see Typhon’s system rolled out across the drinking water network, while investigation into wastewater applications is at an advanced stage.

Typhon has changed the game for UV LEDs in the water industry. Once mainly driven by the United Nations Minamata Convention ban on mercury, UV LEDs now have an economic driver to marry with the environmental agenda. With traditional mercury lamps reaching the limits of effectiveness, the transition to solid state UV water treatment has begun.


The company ingeniously overcame worries over a lack of energy efficiency for UV LEDs compared to mercury lamps by devising an innovative cooling system which is in contact with every single LED. Furthermore, due to the lack of a temperature difference between the reactor wall and the passing water, there is little to no mineral scaling, significantly reducing the cleaning requirement of the system, a boon for clients.


The Global Water Awards 2018 is proudly sponsored by:

Evoqua logo, links to Evoqua homepage

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