Oxyle’s tech uses water movement to remove pollutants • TechCrunch

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UNESCO Water pollution is one of the major challenges facing societies2 million tons of sewage enter the world’s waters every day. Axle It wants to help solve the crisis with new wastewater treatment that removes micro-pollutants. The Zurich-based startup today announced $3 million in pre-seed funding, which it will use to bring its technology to market. The round was led by Wingman Ventures with participation from SOSV, Better Ventures and another.vc.

The new capital brings Axile’s total funding to date to $7.4 million since its founding in 2020. The startup’s clients include companies in the pesticide, chemical, textile pigments, electronics and pharmaceutical sectors that are constrained by strict emission limits.

Oxylin wastewater treatment was developed five years ago by co-founder and CEO Dr. Fajer Mushtaq during his doctoral studies at ETH Zurich. While receiving his Masters, Dr. Mushtaq worked with synthetic chemicals to develop new nanomaterials for biomedical applications. As a result wastewater containing toxic chemicals required special handling and disposal methods. Because there was no effective way to dispose of the chemicals, sewage had to be incinerated.

“To me, this way of dealing with water is not only expensive, unsafe and highly unsustainable, but it is also a complete waste of one of our most precious resources,” Dr Mushtaq said. “The more I researched this topic, the more I learned about the enormous scale at which incineration was practiced by small and large international companies.”

He decided to focus his doctoral research on developing novel catalysts for the removal of micropollutants. Dr. Mushtaq then collaborated with co-founder and CTO Dr. Sylvan Stauffart to integrate Oxylin’s water treatment solution into a scalable technology platform. Since then, Axile has completed pilots with industrial and municipal customers and grown its team to 17 people.

Oxylin's team

Oxylin’s team

Oxyline wastewater treatment removes micropollutants including PFAS (chemicals found in cleaning solutions, water-resistant fabrics and products such as nonstick cookware), pharmaceuticals, hormones and pesticides. This is Dr. It includes a nanoporous catalyst (a high surface area energy harvesting material) developed by Mushtaq. When the nanoporous catalyst is activated by water movements such as bubbles or vibrations, it creates a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction produces oxidative radicals, which break down organic pollutants into carbon, fluorides, and other harmless minerals.

Axil uses modular reactors to implement its technology. For companies that need to comply with emission regulations, Axil also offers an analytical platform for real-time monitoring of micropollutants emitted by its reactors.

The startup regularly conducts on-site paid pilots with customers to get feedback on its technology. It has worked on projects with agrochemical companies whose manufacturing processes produce large amounts of pesticides, herbicides and insecticides. That wastewater is usually sent for incineration, but Dr. Mushtaq said he was able to remove more than 95% of the compounds using Oxylin’s technology. The startup has also done environmental remediation projects with industrial clients to bring pollutants, including PFAS, in groundwater below detection limits.

Other wastewater solutions include activated carbon technology (to absorb pollutants) and membrane filtration (to filter pollutants), which are widely used around the world to treat wastewater. But Dr Mushtaq said the pollutants are still present in the used activated carbon or in concentrated water left over from the filtration process. These technologies also result in higher operating costs because of the need to replace activated carbon or membranes.

The advantage of oxyl is that it degrades micropollutants without generating secondary waste. Its nanoporous catalyst is long-lasting and fully recyclable, Dr Mushtaq added. But Axil sees filtration technologies as partners rather than competitors because the highly concentrated wastewater they leave behind can be treated using Axil’s methods.

The startup is expanding its technology platform to include additional use cases, including flow-through systems (or artificial waterways), ultra-compact systems used in laboratories, large-scale use cases such as municipal wastewater, and low-cost solutions for developing economies. . Axil works with companies and R&D organizations to improve the speed and cost effectiveness of its pollutant analysis system.

In a statement, Alex Stockl, partner at Wingman Ventures, said, “Our fresh water resources are depleting at an alarming rate, and toxic micro-organisms in the water can lead to serious damage to our health and the environment. The new regulations require companies to act. But in addition, we must protect our precious water resources for ourselves and our future generations. Use sustainable technology to conserve We are proud to support Axil to solve our global water problem to provide clean water for all.


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