Competition alumni have raised over 200 million dollars in investment financing and generated over 3,100 jobs for British Columbians. Successful alumni Saltworks has raised over $11 million and employs 45. Register now for the 2014 competition.
Ben Sparrow and Joshua Zoshi, co-founders of Saltworks Technologies Inc., are flying high as they contemplate the endless market possibilities for the company’s diverse water-treatment technologies.
Some may even end up at the International Space Station.
Over the last year-and-a-half, Saltworks has delivered several pilot units to NASA’s Ames Research Centre, where they are being tested for possible future application aboard the station.
The 2008 winner of the BCIC-NV competition, Saltworks started out with plans to desalinate seawater for drinking water.
The company has since changed its market focus to industrial water treatment—a larger, less commoditized $82-billion global market, and a greater environmental concern.
Zoshi says Saltworks’ newest technology, the SaltMaker, is particularly suited for treating saline wastewater produced from oil and gas.
“It’s a very robust solution for treating what we call highly impaired wastewater—which has high levels of organics or hydrocarbons—and where conventional membrane-based technologies would be unsuitable,” says Zoshi. “We’ve seen a lot of interest in it from the oil and gas sector.”
The company has just installed a SaltMaker unit at a zinc refinery in Mexico, where it is the largest project delivered by Saltworks’ team to-date.
“It’s a fully commercial unit, not a pilot or R&D unit,” says Zoshi, who notes there are also units in Australia and the U.S.
Among its many new products, the company has also developed ElectroChem, an advanced membrane technology for brine management, mine run-off treatment, and metals recovery.
Since winning the BCIC-NV competition, Saltworks has raised more than $11 million through friends/family, angel investors, and a Series A investment with Cenovus Energy and Teck Resources, the company’s two biggest investors.
Saltworks has grown to 45 employees, with plans to hire several more in 2014, and is also planning an expansion to larger premises as it begins scaling up to establish production capacity.
“New markets are continually emerging,” says Zoshi, “because around the world many countries are increasingly regulating how industries manage water, both on the supply side and the discharge side.”
It puts the Saltworks team in the right place at the right time.