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Water Innovate’s N-Tox® Technology Wins Shell Springboard Award

MARCH 2006: Shell has awarded Water Innovate £40,000 to help extend the market potential of its proven and innovative N-Tox® nitrous oxide monitoring technology. Dr Steve Callister, Managing Director at Water Innovate, said “We are delighted to have won this Shell Springboard award - our plans for commercialising N-Tox® have been given a valuable boost that will allow us to accelerate the pace of bringing this technology to the international environmental market.”


Water Innovate was one of just 3 Southern Region finalists out of 265 entries selected to go through to the Shell Springboard National Final in London.

Springboard judges were looking for commercially viable business plans for innovative products and services which would lead to greenhouse gas reductions.
Prof Tom Stephenson, Water Innovate’s Technical Director, explained that N-Tox® detects nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas with almost three hundred times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide. He said, “Nitrous oxide is an important but often overlooked greenhouse gas; over four per cent of its emissions arise from wastewater treatment and these discharges are expected to increase significantly as tougher effluent nitrogen controls come into force.”

Having recognised this issue, Water Innovate has invested significant resources in developing N-Tox® to enable wastewater plant operators to detect nitrous oxide, thereby helping to reduce greenhouse gas release and mitigate global warming effects.

The new technique has the additional advantage that, at the same time, it can be used for evaluating nitrification efficiency in industrial and municipal activated sludge systems. Tom Stephenson commented, “As nitrous oxide is an indicator of nitrification failure, N-Tox® can be used to help the direct control of ammonia levels in treated effluent. Our technology can provide an early warning of wastewater treatment failure.”

He added, “When nitrification starts to fail, we see rapid detection of nitrous oxide, and the rate of production is directly related to this failure. Hence, measurement of nitrous oxide using N-Tox® allows effective monitoring of nitrification performance to help prevent breakthrough of ammonia into effluent.”

Extensive research at Cranfield University, UK, set the foundations to enable Water Innovate to develop this patented technology. The Shell Springboard funding ensures the ongoing development of the product.

The N-Tox® monitor is housed within an IP65 enclosure and comprises an integral sample pump, gas conditioning device, non-dispersive infra red gas analyser, auto-calibration system and data logging unit. The robust instrument transmits 4-20 mA in proportion to nitrous oxide level and has various user-configurable plant failure and greenhouse gas emission alarm settings. As N-Tox® relies on non-invasive gas-phase detection of nitrous oxide, rather than detection in the aqueous phase, probe fouling problems can be avoided.

Because industrial effluents, such as landfill leachate or pharmaceutical wastewater, have high ammonia levels, and many wastewater treatment works are consented by the UK Environment Agency for ammonia at less than 5 mg/l in treated effluent, the requirement for an N-Tox® alarm is critical as the consequences of nitrification failure can be serious.

Water Innovate is bridging the innovation gap by transferring N-Tox® and other revolutionary products from the laboratory to the international environmental technology market. The Company brings together a combination of proven management capability, secured financial backing, expert technical knowledge and experience, and protected intellectual property.

Steve Callister said, “The current focus at Water Innovate is on marketing N-Tox®, ODOURsim®, our dynamic software package that predicts formation and emission of hydrogen sulphide from effluent treatment plants, and ZR-Coag®, an advanced high performance chemical additive for water and wastewater treatment. We are also developing three advanced tertiary treatment process technologies.”

For further information on Water Innovate visit www.waterinnovate.co.uk or call +44 (0) 1234 756014.


The photograph below was taken at the Shell Springboard Southern Region Final.

From left to right we have Tom Stephenson (Technical Director, Water Innovate), James Smith (Chairman, Shell UK), Steve Callister (Managing Director, WI), John Catling (Executive Chairman, WI), and Tim Curtis (Chief Operating Officer, Energy Saving Trust – Southern Region Judge).


For more information regarding this release please contact:
Water Innovate Press Officer
Clarity Technical Authoring +44 (0) 1535 647200 or +44 (0) 7917 165179
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