Lommel – Mol, August 28, 2017: A consortium of local Belgium Investors consisting of QBIC II, LRM, and the Innovation Fund have joined The Dow Chemical Company to invest in Blue Foot Membranes NV (BFM). BFM was spun out of VITO following decades of research into innovative membrane technology, which will be used for the production of Membrane Bioreactors (MBRs) for the treatment of Industrial and Municipal waste water.
Three Flemish investors, QBIC II, LRM and the Innovation Fund, together with Dow Water & Process Solutions, a business unit of The Dow Chemical Company and a global player in the water treatment industry, have joined forces in a significant initial investment of € 2.5 Million to launch Blue Foot Membranes NV (BFM). BFM will manufacture and supply membranes for more efficient treatment of Industrial and Municipal waste water based on the novel and patented Integrated Permeate Channel™ (IPC™) technology.
The IPC™ technology, comprises an integrated permeate channel consisting of an open 3D spacer fabric with an upper and lower fabric surface. The membrane layers are coated directly on the upper and lower fabric surfaces to form a membrane envelop whereby the membrane layers are well anchored in the fabric surface, allowing for efficient cleaning and rigourous backwashing of the membrane. The 3D spacer serves as mechanical anchoring for the membrane and avoids delamination during backwasing and it serves as a permeate extraction channel.
These unique membranes are the world’s first fully back-washable flat sheet membrane, and they can be installed in existing as well and new membrane bioreactors. IPC™ membranes increase the output capacity per square meter by 100% and lower the aeration cost by at least 50% compared to MBRs equipped with conventional filtration membranes.
Patrick Vanschoubroek, Managing Director Blue Foot Membranes®: “The team of Blue Foot Membranes® is ready to demonstrate the benefits of these unique IPC™ membranes. We are convinced that IPC™ membranes are a game changer for industrial as well as domestic wastewater treatment plants.”
“VITO is pleased that after years of research, the technology can be fully commercially applied, together with expert partners in the commercial application of technologies of industrial relevance. In water treatment, the market extends from Flanders out into the whole world. The fact that water treatment is a theme which gets full support by the Sustainable Development Goals makes us even more proud,” says Walter Eevers, Research Director VITO.
Sofie Baeten, Managing Partner Qbic II: “We are proud to have succeeded in constructing a solid financial and strategical investors consortium to provide this innovative VITO start-up with the necessary financial scope and to realise the potential of unique membrane technology for more efficient water treatment.”
“LRM believes in the potential of VITO’s innovative membrane technology for more efficient water treatment. In addition, this project is in line with the vision of LRM to deploy new, technological applications for a sustainable society”, says Stijn Bijnens, CEO LRM.
François Cornelis, Chairman Innovation Fund: “It is obvious for Innovation Fund to invest in BlueFootMembrane. It is a real innovation, in our scope of chemicals, and Dow, one of the major players, is co-investing. In addition, we have a great confidence in the management team. Companies like BFM can be considered as the seeds of a new technological era in applied chemical industry. This technological spin off excels in both technological leadership and market intelligence setting the trend in the new generation of waste water treatment.”
“Blue Foot Membranes and its innovative IPC™ membrane offers an opportunity to lower the cost of MBR system operation through reduced footprint and energy consumption,” said Tim Lacey, Global Business Director for Dow Water & Process Solutions. “Dow is excited about this opportunity for customers to reduce the cost of wastewater treatment in a sustainable way.”