OxyMem co-founders receive NovaUCD 2015 Innovation Award

Oxymem UCD Innovation Award 2015
Pictured: Dr Eoin Syron and Professor Eoin Casey co-founders, OxyMem

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14 December 2015 | 0

University College Dublin (UCD) today honoured the co-founders of OxyMem by presenting them with the NovaUCD 2015 Innovation Award.

The Award was presented to Prof Eoin Casey and Dr Eoin Syron, both researchers in the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, by UCD President, Prof Andrew J Deeks during an event held at NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs.

The award was presented to them in recognition of the success and impact which OxyMem, a UCD spin-out, has achieved to date in the international, multi-billion euro wastewater treatment industry.

OxyMem’s membrane aerated biofilm reactor (MABR) technology is disrupting the global wastewater treatment sector, estimated to be worth €30 billion, by servicing a market demand for energy efficient wastewater treatment without increasing the cost of capital equipment.

For the last 100 years or so biological aerobic processes, primarily based on activated sludge treatment, have been the cornerstone of all municipal, and the majority of industrial wastewater treatment processes, around the world. This involves the treatment of wastewater by bacteria in the presence of oxygen. With these process, typically less than 30% of the oxygen supplied is transferred to the wastewater resulting in an enormous energy waste. Even with the most recent developments in fine bubble aeration technologies the maximum oxygen transfer efficiency is limited to about 35-40%.

Instead, the innovative MABR technology uses gas-permeable membranes, which allows oxygen to be transferred directly to the wastewater treating bacteria. This technology dramatically reduces the operating costs for wastewater aeration and result in a four-fold saving on energy costs when compared to forced aeration, the current industry standard.

The technology also delivers superior nitrogen removal, reduced chemical usage, reduced sludge production, on a significantly smaller plant footprint, and can be fully automated. This results in substantially lower energy, chemical and staffing costs for wastewater operators.

OxyMem currently operates a 25,000sq ft facility and offices in Athlone, Co Westmeath, to manufacture the OxyMem MABR. The company employs over 40 people and has already raised €2.5 million from investors and Enterprise Ireland and secured clients in Ireland, UK, Spain, Sweden and in North America, Middle East and Far East.

Wayne Byrne, managing director, OxyMem, said: “Since we established OxyMem it has continued to grow from strength to strength and we continue to look towards enhanced co-operation with UCD for 2016 and beyond. Looking to the future, the company, which recently opened an office in the US to service growing demand in the North American market, is planning to increase manufacturing three-fold and to create at least 15 new jobs during 2016. We expect to have some very exciting announcements in Q1 2016 so please continue to watch this space.”

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