After two days visiting the Taiwan International Water Week held in the country's capital, Taipei, I have had a chance to speak with numerous local companies dedicated to various aspects of the water sector and discover their latest technologies in water reuse, purification, water treatment and water quality monitoring. Some of these innovative solutions are incredibly impressive and definitely worth looking out for them in the near future.
Known globally as a strong player in the water industry, Taiwan exports annually more than US$2 billion in pumps, valves, pipes, meters and purifiers, and having a look around the first edition of the Taiwan International Water Week, one can understand why.
These are some of the businesses and their innovations:
Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI)
Originally funded by the Taiwanese government, ITRI's water technology team is devoted to develop avant-garde technologies that cover a wide range of applications by working with various research organizations and industrial partners from around the world. With over 6,000 employees and campuses all over Taiwan, as well as twenty years of experience in the field, ITRI is presently working on several major projects dedicated to water reclamation.
- Qwater: This mobile drinking water supply system was conceived for areas hit by extreme weather and natural disasters. The portable machine is easily taken apart and put back together and can be transported anywhere in the world, especially to remote areas. Easy to install, it can provide safe drinking water to between 1,000 - 2,000 people per day in emergency cases. In 2013, the devastating typhoon Hiyan hit the Philippines, killing at least 6,300 people in the country alone. ITRI sent over the Qwater and was able to provide thousands of people living in inaccessible areas with potable drinking water.
- Electrodialysis Reversal (EDR): This solution can effectively remove ions from water and wastewater by applying a direct current and reversing the polarity of electrodes periodically. The electric charge drives the ions penetrating anion or cation exchange membranes. Daniel Tai, Researcher at ITRI, pointed out that one of the major benefits of this technology is that it can treat water that is up to ten times more polluted than other wastewater technologies. EDR is particularly handy in the food and textile industries, as well as domestic sewage.
- BioNET Technology: BioNET reactor contains porous compressible carriers offering a large surface area for the interception of suspended solids and growth of microorganisms. It is excellent for the removal of ammonium and dissolved organics from wastewater and deteriorated source water. ITRI has successfully implemented BioNET in the water treatment plant of Kaohsiung metropolitan area, providing water to one fifth of the city's residents.
Hydron Innovation Inc.
Taiwan-based, Hydron Innovation Inc is an innovative equipment provider dedicated to manufacturing systems for environmental protection. With over ten years’ experience in Hydrogen energy, fuel cells and hydrogen generators. The two main lines the firm currently works on are water treatment and energy storage.
- Hplus, Hydrogen Water Supply Systems: Since 2007, hydrogen has been studied as a preventive and therapeutic medical gas. Recent studies suggest that it may work as an antioxidant, to reduce inflammation and it is also an anti-allergic. According to Hydron, it is also mild enough so as not to disturb metabolic redox reactions; therefore, hydrogen has not shown any adverse effects. Ray Yang, President of the company, designed the Hplus, a series of hydrogen water supply systems built for mass production. With a Proton Exchange Membrane based electrolyser, it produces high purity H2 safely and efficiently. Yang said that Japan is its biggest client, as hydrogen water is now a big thing in the country's health sector.
ELECLEAN is a very new company with only 14 employees. Led by Dr. Chen, the team has designed a series of innovative and high-tech disinfectant products, some of which will be launched at the end of 2019. The company's star product is a disinfectant spray launched in Taiwan only a year ago, but which has been very well received. To give you an idea, when we went to the stand, so many people had shown an interest that they had no business cards left!
- ELECLEAN disinfectant spray uses nano-catalysis electrochemical technology that can manufacture disinfectant within 15 minutes. Water is the only reagent and directly transforms into a Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) that effectively destroys viruses and bacteria by an oxidizing method. It is also very small, so is easy to use and carry. This disinfectant spray is currently on the market for approximately US$120 and is mostly sold to pharmacies. Cindy Sumg, Marketing Director, said they wish to export this technology to other countries in the near future.
Established in 1999, with only 54 employees, and more than 300 worldwide projects, EVER-CLEAR has become the most relevant environmental company in Taiwan. It is specialized in industrial wastewater treatment, especially in advanced wastewater treatment. Over the past few years, the company has developed their own patented technologies which are generating a lot of interest overseas, with most of their technologies being implemented in China, Thailand, Singapore, Nicaragua and Vietnam.
- FBR-Fenton: This solution is an effective technology used in tertiary treatment to meet the increasingly stricter discharge standards for COD (Chemical Oxygen Demand). According to Ping Heng Hsieh, Researcher at EVER-CLEAR, it shows more efficient, economical an powerful advantages in COD reduction than any other oxidation technologies. Applied in the textile and dyeing, chemical, and pulp and paper industries, to name a few, FBR-Fenton is a modified Fenton technology combined with FBR which stands for Fluidized Bed Reactor. Since the first FBR-Fenton was set up in 2002, over one hundred FBR-Fenton reactors have been implemented in different businesses and sectors.