Novel biomaterial boosted by EC grant to remove industrial micropollutants

Feb. 7, 2018
CustoMem has secured a £1.24 million grant to help commercialise a solution to help capture and recycle micropollutants found in industrial wastewater...

LONDON, UK – UK-based company CustoMem has secured a £1.24 million grant to help commercialise a solution to help capture and recycle micropollutants found in industrial wastewater.

The novel bio-adsorbent solution has been designed to selectively capture micropollutants, such as Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs) from wastewater in standard steel tank processing equipment.

The company was founded in 2015 by two Imperial College London graduates, Henrik Hagemann and Gabi Santosa.

Based at the Imperial College Innovation Hub in London, the company’s solution is called CustoMem Granular Media (CGM).

Captured waste is disposed of safely as CGM can be chemically regenerated using a non-hazardous proprietary wash whereby the capture pollutants are removed and safely disposed of or repurposed, the company said.

CGM is being targeted for use at commercial airports, petrochemical plants and is particularly relevant to navy and air force bases where Aqueous Film Forming Foams (AFFFs) for firefighting are indispensable for safety reasons.

However, these AFFFs contain PFCs that are carcinogenic and persistent in the environment. The CGM product can treat these industries’ industrial wastewater and help restore legacy contamination sites, thus preventing leaching into drinking water and agricultural land.

The grant will be used to help scale up to industrial pilot trials of greater than 100 m3/day flow rates. The award to CustoMem is funded through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, part of the European Innovation Council.

Henrik Hagemann, CEO, said: “With under 3 percent of all applicants securing a grant, our success demonstrates confidence in our company, our product and the quality of CustoMem’s team. As part of the award, we will continue to receive mentoring from world renowned experts and critical business acceleration services including linking us to potential customers and investors.”

As part of CustoMem’s plans for accelerated commercialisation, CustoMem receives mentorship from a number of specialists in its field including: Dr Rita Glenne, chief technology officer, Reactive Metal Particles AS; Dr Steve Gluck, former technology Fellow at Dow Water and Process Solutions and current scientific advisor to a number of water and wastewater companies; Dr Steve Colley, former Director of Johnson Matthey Water Technologies; and Dr Tali Harif, Innovation portfolio manager at utility Severn Trent Water and previously head of the water treatment business unit at water and environmental consultants, WRC.

“We are already undertaking initial testing with a number of companies and organisations including two commercial European airports,” said Hagemann. “Following this EC grant we are now ready to upscale and are actively welcoming partners to trial our solution on-site.”


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