Water treatment firm raises £550,000

A Birmingham company that has developed an eco-friendly water treatment system that can reduce pollution levels has raised £550,000 to help roll it out to the water industry.

Industrial Phycology (I-Phyc) has secured a second round of funding from the MEIF Proof of Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is managed by Mercia and part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, and private investors.

The latest funding brings the total raised by the company to over £1.2m and support its plans to create 25 new jobs over the next five years.

Recent trials at Weston-super-Mare sewage works have proved that I-Phyc’s system consistently ensures that wastewater meets the strict new limit for phosphorous levels – a standard many water companies are unable to achieve economically with current technology.

I-Phyc is already in discussion with water companies for the first units and, with the sales pipeline growing faster than predicted, it is planning to raise further investment in the coming months to help it meet demand.

I-Phyc’s system uses the natural power of algae to reduce pollutants such as phosphorous and nitrogen. Its photo-bioreactor system is more effective than other algae systems as it penetrates deep below the water surface, reducing the size of tank required and making it ideal for smaller treatment plants. The process also produces biomass that can be used to generate biogas, fertilizer or printer ink and it captures carbon, helping operators to reduce their carbon footprint.

Russell Bright, the company’s CEO, said: “Only 14 per cent of UK rivers meet the minimum standard for water quality and although new regulations impose a ten-fold reduction in phosphorus levels, many sewage plants cannot achieve this. I-Phyc’s system offers a natural solution that could help clean up our coasts and rivers. We are delighted that our existing investors are supporting this second fund round which is a great endorsement of their faith in the technology.”

Jo Slota-Newson, investment manager at Mercia, added: “Water companies are eagerly searching for new technologies to help them meet the new standards. Following the success of the recent trials, I-Phyc has seen very strong interest from them. This latest funding round will allow it to expand its team and start supplying its systems to the industry.”