Manufacturers use a lot of water. And what comes out of an industrial plant isn’t nearly as clean as what goes in. Cleaning up that wastewater costs North American businesses, including pharmaceutical and chemical companies, at least $30 billion every year.
Even so, lax regulations often allow for a portion of that wastewater to be simply discharged into sewers for treatment at municipal wastewater-treatment plants that are unable to properly eliminate these chemicals themselves. A growing body of research has begun to connect these discharges with an increase in antimicrobial-resistant bacteria appearing in our aquatic ecosystems.
That's where British Columbia-based Axine Technologies comes in, deploying its innovative electrochemical oxidation technology to destroy the toxic pollutants in industrial wastewater. The clean technology's modular "plug n' play" format represents a major breakthrough, making it easy to integrate into existing plants.
The fact that it also treats wastewater on-site, as opposed to trucking it offsite for treatment, means significant cost savings for plant owners. And doing it chemical-free with fewer by-products means less environmental harm. Current industry best practices involve transporting the liquids to a special facility to be incinerated using fossil fuels, which only increases environmental damage and cost.
Axine had to go through many steps before it could enter this multi-billion-dollar global market.
It began in the classic innovator’s basement workshop. But turning early research into a real product took a combination of seasoned management, experienced investors and a supremely talented technology team. It also took support from government, including through the Industrial Research Assistance Program, Sustainable Development Technology Canada, Western Economic Diversification Canada and the BC Innovation Council.
Now the accolades are rolling in. In 2019 Axine was once again named to the Global Cleantech 100, being recognized as one of the "companies that are best positioned to solve tomorrow's clean technology challenges". That same month, the company signed a multi-year wastewater service agreement with a leading pharmaceutical manufacturer in the Northeastern United States.
Using Canadian technology to ensure that our waterways remain clean is not only the right thing to do environmentally – it also makes good economic sense.