Three Water Tech Startups Seeking Venture Capital Funding

During the Global Cleantech Meetup in Boston on November 13, hosted by the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, three innovative early stage water technology startups pitched to a room full of corporate and venture investors during a break out session.


Maine-based Cerahelix invented the first ceramic filters that filter at high purity and low pressure, according to CEO Susan Mackay. It holds three issued patents on its technology. Their ceramic filters save manufacturers money by reducing energy needed to produce highly purified water and other fluid systems and can reach higher purity levels with smaller pore size for high filtration. In an early demonstration project, it was able to reduce 95 percent of the energy needed to concentrate sugars from water needed to create products made from biomass.

As its first target market, the company is focusing on early adopters in the biofuel industry that are building new bio-refineries because they can easily incorporate its filters. It then intends to move into other industries including food and beverage and oil and gas.

The company intends to manufacture the nano-coating materials and then partner with established corporates p to build filtration units incorporating their filters and then sell the units to end users. Cerahelix has set up testing partnerships with the Colorado School of Mines and NC State.

Since 2011, it has received $2 million in Phase II DOE SBIR and National Science Foundation grants, in addition to raising $255,000 in seed funding. They are seeking an additional $1 million in funding to get into early direct sales of small-scale systems and plan to reach break-even with sale of eight systems, according to Mackay.

Clean Membranes, Inc.

Kingsborough, Mass.-based Clean Membranes is developing a new non-fouling membrane that is self-cleaning and reusable. Its proprietary, innovative, high-performance, smart copolymer self-assembles into a hydrophilic membrane surface. It has four issued patents and licenses its technology from MIT, said CEO Jean-Marc Pandraud. It is mainly concentrating on applications in the oil and gas industry to deal with recycling of waste water in fracking, in addition to other industrial applications.  It currently has partnerships with five oil and gas companies.

It has raised $7 million through a Series A funding that included participation by its founders and Morningside Venture Investments, as well as receiving grants from the U.S. Department of Energy. The company is looking to raise an additional $6 to $7 million of venture capital funding this spring which will enable it to develop applications for new global market segments and support further R&D.

Resolute Marine Energy

Boston-based Resolute Marine Energy’s technology harnesses wave energy for power generation and transports seawater to on-shore desalination facilities. It has developed a highly efficient manufacturing process that uses no electricity and doesn’t need grid interconnection, according to its COO and Co-Founder, Olivier Ceberio.

Resolute has spent five years developing its technology funded by U.S. DOE grants and, last January, they incorporated its technology into an existing desalination plant during a proof of concept test.

The company is seeking $10 million in funding to bridge this next growth phase before raising project finance for its first plant, said Ceberio. They expect to have a pilot plant ready in 18 months and by 2017 deploy five plants and to be generating $56 million in revenue by that time.

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