Dutch reverse electrodialysis technology wins Aquatech Innovation Award 2023
EDBM ElectroMembrane Stacks by Dutch start-up REDstack BV is the Overall Winner of this year’s Aquatech Innovation Award, after also winning the Innovation Not To Market Yet and Wastewater Treatment categories.
The Aquatech Innovation Award recognises world-class innovation and technologies that have the potential to disrupt the global water market. With a record number of entries, a major focus of the 2023 awards was innovation in sensors, particularly around contaminants of emerging concern.
Scaling up electroactive membranes
REDstack BV’s DBM ElectroMembrane Stack has been announced as the Overall Winner of the Aquatech Innovation Award at the opening of the flagship Aquatech Amsterdam event on 6 November. The Dutch start-up was recognised by the judging committee for its pivotal role in helping to scale up electroactive membranes and its ability to connect multiple systems.
“We initially developed an electrodialysis technology to produce electricity from salt and fresh water and then we worked on this industrial standard skid to make it easier and cheaper to install,” explained Simon Grasman, Chief Technology Officer at REDstack BV. “Now we are seeking new markets for our knowledge on bipolar membrane technology, which can be used for purposes such as recovering ammonium from wastewater for use as a fertiliser. Having designed this standard skid, we can easily scale up these other applications as well,” he adds.
“The membrane stacks impressed the jury,” said jury chairman Professor Cees Buisman, Scientific Director of Wetsus, the European centre of excellent for sustainable water technology. “To date, there has not been such a scaling up of electroactive membranes, which seemed to be optimally sized. The ability to connect multiple systems, combined with the bipolar membranes, make the system applicable for many recovery processes.”
REDstack BV takes its name from RED (reverse electrodialysis) technology and its practical use with a stack of membranes. This membrane stack consists of many hundreds of membrane pairs and the final voltage is the sum of the individual voltages.
The platform technology stacks can be used for various resource recovery applications, including carbon capture, ammonia recovery from waste streams, and lithium recovery. Potential end users for the solution include the food and beverage market, the oil and gas industry, energy and power companies, and the agriculture and municipal water sectors.
“Many companies design membranes, but not at scale. […] Including the electrical field on the stacks, this scale is innovative and one of the reasons we decided this innovation should be the overall winner,” added Buisman.
Aquatech Innovation Award 2023 – category winners
Recognising world-class innovations and the latest technological developments, the Aquatech Innovation Award 2023 received 92 innovation nominations – the highest in its history. After an independent and detailed review, the expert jury selected 14 innovative technologies from which the category winners and the overall winner were chosen.
The category winners are as follows:
- Wastewater Treatment | EDBM ElectroMembrane Stack – REDstack BV
- Water Supply (drinking water, clean water, including point of use/entry) | ClipR – Factorylab BV
- Transport and Process & Control | Inline Pipeline Inspection Dashboard – Acquaint
- Green Chemicals for Water Technology | NEAT – Sudoc LLC
- Innovation Not To Market Yet | Blue Energy – REDstack BV
Reflecting on the quality of the overall innovations, Buisman adds that “Two years ago, the jury thought we had witnessed all the innovations possible in the water sector, but the entries continue to surprise us! Many people know that innovating in the water sector is time-consuming and expensive, and only the rare few succeed. It’s inspiring to see so many people engaged in the water sector to work on a better world.”
The popular vote goes to …
Sanipur with its Zero.B innovation received the highest number of votes from the water technology professionals and was announced as the winner of the Aquatech Community Award.
Zero.B is an innovative bio-based, eco-friendly technology that allows effective biofilm removal action and a subsequent deep sanitation of water distribution systems. It is thus the ideal solution for all those systems where microbial water quality is crucial. Zero.B provides high performance, material compatibility, reduced environmental impact and user safety.