Aquaporin turns to pou and public listing
Water treatment
Membranes
Europe
Thursday, 24 June 2021

Danish membrane firm pivots into point of use and public listing for growth

Danish membrane specialist Aquaporin is betting on a new entry into the in-house, point of use filtration market and going public for renewed growth.

Raising awareness on water challenges and innovations

Danish membrane specialist Aquaporin is betting on a new entry into the in-house, point of use (PoU) filtration market and going public for renewed growth.

The company has raised €33.6 million in an initial public offering (IPO) on the Nasdaq Copenhagen. In addition, the offering contains a secondary component of €33.6 million, with the order book for the full amount now completed.

Co-founded in 2005 by Peter Holme Jensen, the company develops biomimetic membranes based on the proteins used in the kidneys and plants to separate salt from water.

It secured its first contract with US space agency NASA. Then in 2017, the company commissioned its large-scale production of aquaporin proteins at its HQ in Denmark.

What are aquaporins?

The company’s technology uses the aquaporin protein forming small channels in the cell membranes of organisms, which allow water molecules to pass. Aquaporins enable plants to absorb water from the soil and allow the human kidneys to filter water daily.

The Danish firm formulates the proteins into a thin rejection layer of membranes for industrial uses, which it said can be harnessed to help improve drinking water filtration and optimise manufacturing processes in the food and beverage industry.

Offering a mix of reverse osmosis (RO) and forward osmosis (FO) membranes, the company focuses on three core markets: drinking water, industrial, and food & beverage.

Betting on ZERO

Towards the end of last year, it launched its ZERO system, an under-the-sink home water purifier, to enter the PoU market.

The compact RO filtration system fits under the sink, requires no electricity and uses the company’s Aquaporin Inside membrane and can provide three litres of water per minute. Work is ongoing to partner with kitchen appliance manufacturers to create built-in purifiers.

“Being a player in the point-of-use segment allows Aquaporin to build an installed base for membrane replacement.”

Matt Boczkowski, deputy-CEO, said the move into the PoU market aligns with "Aquaporin's vision to deliver high-quality drinking water that is filtered by nature through the Aquaporin Inside technology".

He told Aquatech Online: “Being a player in the point-of-use segment allows Aquaporin to build an installed base for membrane replacement and demonstrate the performance of our technology to end consumers. This strategy also allows us to convert purifier manufacturers to customers of Aquaporin’s flat-sheet membranes, thereby enabling co-branding possibilities for Aquaporin Inside®.”

Target markets

Aquaporin is reportedly in the process of piloting a seawater RO membrane that it believes can reduce energy costs by 10-15 per cent.

The company is also targeting the industrial brackish water reverse osmosis market (BWRO). It said it could achieve a 20 per cent water flux increase compared to state-of-the-art membranes, providing a potential energy saving.

Food and beverage treatment is another target segment. Predicted to be worth an estimated US$4.3 billion by 2022, the market is seeing “demand for new technologies in increasing due to their more gentle treatment of the products and more efficient use of resources”, the company said.

In 2020 the company secured Food Contact Material compliance from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 


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