Eco Innovator March 2012

Equity Capital

International Investment in Water Technology

An Australian water treatment technology has caught the eye of an international venture capital investor with clean-tech company BioGill securing a multi-million dollar investment through BW Ventures, a subsidiary of the global maritime group BW Group. The exact amount was not disclosed, but BW Ventures has a substantial minority position.

BioGill chief executive, John West, said BioGill was approached by BW Ventures, which found its technology in a cleantech directory and was attracted by its unique nature and applications in the marine sector.

The investment will create opportunities in the maritime market for BioGill as it combines the company's leading edge water treatment technology with BW's expertise and capabilities. "The investment by BW Ventures puts BioGill on a strong footing for full commercialization of our patented technology and rapid global expansion," said Mr West.

Sverre Prytz, managing director, BW Ventures, said "The BioGill technology has significant market potential for maritime application. With BW Ventures' involvement, we are opening doors to more effective water management solutions onboard vessels and offshore platforms."

The BioGill system treats grey water, sewage and wastewater from shipping, aquaculture, food and beverage processing and other industrial streams.

Mr West said the technology was developed at the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation (ANSTO) and harnesses the decomposing abilities of micro- organisms.

Over the past two years BioGill's focus has been on turning the technology into a product. This has now been achieved. It is market ready and the first projects are in Sydney and Fiji.

The bioreactor differs from other systems as it is above ground and so does not need oxygen. The vertical membranes or BioGills encourage self sustaining bacteria growth and the system needs zero maintenance, he said.

A BioGill water treatment system at an eco-tourist park in Sydney.

The Nano-Ceramic Membranes provide oxygen-rich conditions for bacteria and fungi to grow and multiply, resulting in accelerated treatment.

The simple and efficient design also requires considerably less energy than conventional biological wastewater treatment systems.

Trials and commercial installations have yielded positive results with up to 96 per cent reductions in biological oxygen demand - an indication of the organic quality of water.

Retrofitting into existing wastewater treatment systems is a low-cost way to greatly improve treatment capacity. The versatile design is said to offer additional benefits in offshore environments.

Mr West said that if all goes well, BioGill will look at an initial public offering in two to three years.

BW Ventures invests early and growth stage "industrial venture capital" in businesses and technologies with maritime potential. It focuses primarily on the power, oil and gas, and clean-tech sectors.

The investment in BioGill is through Green Marine Capital (GMC), which invests in unique technologies with an environmental value proposition, significant market potential, scaleable business model, strong management team and a clear application in the marine environment.

Incorporated in Bermuda, BW Ventures has regional offices in Singapore and Oslo with affiliated offices in India, Philippines, Brazil, and Houston.

BW Ventures is part of BW Group, a global maritime group involved in offshore gas and power production and transportation.

BioGill is also working with Q-Cells Australia to develop a wastewater treatment technology powered by the sun. This would make the BioGill systems available to remote users in developing nations, mining sites and resort developments.





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