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New Queen's technology creates valuable potable water

A new technology developed at Queen’s University provides a greener and more efficient way to desalinate water. The discovery is part of a broad platform of “switchable” green chemical technologies invented by Philip Jessop, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry.

The PARTEQ-managed discovery has generated a new spinoff company, Forward Water Technologies Inc. led by Dr. Jessop.

“In many parts of the world, desalinated seawater is often the only option due to a scarcity of fresh water,” says Dr. Jessop. “However, existing desalination processes, distillation and reverse osmosis, are expensive and energy-intensive. This new system purifies water using a natural force known as osmotic pressure.”

Green compounds developed by Dr. Jessop enable chemical mixtures to “switch” their basic properties. Switchable salt creates a brine solution that is capable of drawing pure water across a membrane without the use of heat or energy. The switchable salt is then ‘switched off’, enabling it to be recovered from the system and reused.

Forward Water Technologies Inc. was set up by GreenCentre Canada, a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research founded by PARTEQ in 2009.

“This is yet another example of a very promising technology getting off to a strong start because of the expertise, resources and networks offered by GreenCentre,” says John Molloy, President and CEO of PARTEQ. “Their assistance means that this Queen’s research discovery will be well positioned to make a very strong positive impact on our global water resources.”

Forward Water Technologies is in discussion with early stage investors and is currently engaged with a strategic partner in the water treatment business to further develop the technology.