By Norman De Bono, The London Free Press
Local investors are rallying behind a London company looking to clean liquid waste using cutting-edge technology.
Renix, a small business in Western University’s research park, is being called a “game changer” that can slash industrial cleanup costs by 50 per cent.
“We can reduce costs, we use less chemicals, less water and less energy. We’re doing it in a more efficient manner,” said Alan Birrell, Renix vice-president.
Renix has manufactured an ion exchanger that is smaller and more efficient than others in the market, he said.
It is essentially a machine that can purify liquids, such as removing waste and contaminants from water, and impurities in food products. The technology has broad applications for manufacturing, food processing and environmental cleanups.
“It has a much smaller footprint and can be used in everything from mining to the food and beverage industries,” Birrell said.
Perhaps the most promising application is removing phosphorous from waste water to use in fertilizer, he said.
“There is a significant market for ion exchangers across North America and globally.”
The investment allows Renix to take the next step in bringing its technology to market because it will now be tested by industries.
“It will now be evaluated on a commercial scale,” Birrell said.
The technology is being tested by an industrial plant he declined to identify.
Renix received funding recently from the Southwestern Ontario Angel Group (SWOAG), local private investors. The group, which has 37 members, gave startup money to the business about four years ago.
“It is a game changer, what they like about this technology is it’s scale-able to different sizes and has application across different industries,” said John Pollock, managing director of the group.
Lynn Davis, London philanthropist and investor, is one of the angel investors supporting Renix. She said she likes the way its innovation can help local industry grow while supporting the environment.
“It is the potential the technology has not only in the food sector, but environmental as well. We are talking about cleaning up oil spills and removing algae from Lake Erie. There are a wealth of possibilities with this.”
The Southwestern Ontario Angel Group has invested $3.7 million in seven businesses this year.
“We are regional, we want our investments to have local impact,” Pollock said.
Renix also has received support from Bioindustrial Innovation Canada and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance.