Lexington-based PowerTech Water, part of the inaugural Pipeline H2O class, formed to commercialize a water treatment technology developed at the University of Kentucky.
“We are looking forward to exploring Pipeline’s strong network and plugging into the ‘city as lab’ model to further test and validate our systems,” says Cameron Lippert, CEO of PTW.
Cameron Lippert, CEO of PTWThe water purification system developed by PTW removes dissolved salts, minerals and metals such as sodium, calcium and lead from water supplies through de-ionization. Its proprietary system runs water through stacks of porous carbon and titanium plates where carbon electrodes remove the ions, cleaning the water as it moves through the system.
“Our system uses low energy, and has no filters to replace,” Lippert says. “The technology requires less maintenance, requires no anti-foulant chemicals, has a long lifetime and therefore will have substantially lower capital and operational costs than competing solutions.”
PTW is in the process of scaling up its module to be able to process one gallon of water per minute. The startup is also continuing to partner with the University of Kentucky.
“We have access to the scientist and engineers that developed the IP to answer any technical questions we may have, and if need be, we have access to lab space and instrumentation,” Lippert says.
The carbon electrode system can be used to clean water for disposal after being used in industrial processes, as well as reclaim water for re-use. In addition, the process is reversible and the system itself is renewable, providing significant cost savings in energy usage and replacing filters.
“We achieve a lower cost of treatment without the use of added chemicals, membranes or consumables, yielding a 60 percent reduction in cost, a 70 percent reduction in energy consumption, a 90 percent reduction in maintenance time and a 40 percent increase in water efficiency,” Lippert says.
Currently, PTW is targeting clients in the food and beverage industry, particularly distilleries and beverage bottlers.
“We are actively producing commercial prototypes that are being tested by potential customers for pilot and demo testing,” Lippert says. “Meanwhile, we are looking for pilot customers and strategic partners that can help reduce the time it takes to get to market.”
In addition to PTW, the Pipeline cohort includes two other water purification systems, Searen and WEL Enterprise.
“We are talking with both parties to see if we can all do a pilot together,” Lippert says. “Searen targets solids and VOCs, not dissolved solids or ions, and WEL is more of an engineering firm that installs technologies.”
Like several other cohort members, PTW is only on site in Hamilton each month during the week of classes and programming. Pipeline cohort members are then given assignments to work on during their time away from the program.
“Luckily the homework for Pipeline aligns well with the needed duties of running a startup,” Lippert says. “So it is a complementary process.”
Read profiles of other Pipeline members Searen, ANDalyze, kW Hydroelectric and WaterStep International.