Bilexys, a finalist in UQ Business School's $100,000 Enterprise business plan competition, has invented a highly efficient wastewater treatment technology. The technology is a new version of a bio-electrochemical system (BES). BESs use bacteria as catalysts to remove dissolved organics from wastewater.
Bilexys' team member, Dr Paul Barrett, said the technology had been in development at UQ's Advanced Wastewater Management Centre for three years and had grown from a 50ml laboratory experiment into a 1000 litre fully functioning pilot plant.
The pilot plant has been operational for over a year and treating wastewater at Fosters' Yatala Brewery.
He said there were many industries with wastewater characteristics that were highly suitable for the application of Bilexys technology including the biodiesel, organic chemicals, petrochemicals, brewing and beverages, distilling, sugar and pulp and paper industries.
The system is modular meaning it can be retrofitted to existing wastewater treatment plants and modules can be added as needed.
Dr Barrett said the Bilexys' technology had a number of operational and cost advantages over present technologies used for treating wastewater.
"If you look at wastewater treatment today, it is a very energy intensive," Dr Barrett said.
"For a country like Australia, about 5 percent of energy use for the whole country is for wastewater treatment.
"Bilexys is able to treat the wastewater as fuel and captures the energy from this fuel to make it a much more efficient and cost-effective process. So, instead of wastewater treatment costing a lot of energy and money to run, Bilexys makes the process significantly more energy efficient and brings revenue back into the business.
"It really represents a paradigm shift in wastewater treatment and we are hoping to revolutionise wastewater treatment.
Dr Barrett said by winning Enterprize the team would be able to take the technology from the pilot stage through to commercialization.
He said the team would use the money to find a CEO with experience in the wastewater industry as well as a manufacturing engineer who could take their technology from a prototype to something that could be manufactured on a commercial scale.
Bilexys, along with six other outstanding finalists will compete for the $100,000 prize at the UQ Business School Enterprize Pitch Day on Thursday 16 October.
Places are limited. For reservation enquiries to Enterprize Pitch Day, email the Event Manager, Jarna King, email@example.com.