Hydro Volta is a Belgian start-up that proposes a sustainable method of producing drinking water from seawater, addressing the global water shortage in an economical and ecological way. Through the EU BlueInvest Readiness Assistance programme, the start-up developed a better understanding of the financial concepts essential for its growth. In addition, Hydro Volta gained visibility from the BlueInvest events and pitching sessions, meeting prospective investors and networking with potential customers.
Insufficient water resources to meet the demand
High quality, safe and sufficient drinking water is essential for public health and well-being. However, in a world plagued by growing climate concerns and impending water scarcity, water resources become insufficient to meet the joint demand of humans and nature. About 97% of the earth’s water is salt water, plentiful in the seas and oceans. Making the available saltwater fit for human consumption is therefore absolutely necessary. With the promise of water security for the future, the process of desalination has gained momentum around the world. Desalination is the process of purifying saline water to convert it into fit-for-use freshwater — the modern world’s solution to the global water crisis.
Hydro Volta’s sustainable method to produce potable water from seawater
Tapping into the potential of this market, the Belgium-based Hydro Volta’s patented desalination technology provides a sustainable method to produce drinking water from seawater. The technology combines electrodialysis, ultrasound technology (SonixED) and other membrane technologies (low pressure osmosis) to produce potable water from seawater. Hydro Volta’s process consumes less energy, uses fewer chemicals and has a smaller carbon footprint than the average desalination technology.
Hydro Volta’s business model entails putting their desalination technology within a ready-to-use and plug-and-play unit, including a unique online water quality monitoring control system. This technology for desalination and decontamination can particularly help in remote areas or in places where water salinity varies as the user only needs to calibrate the device as required.
Hydro Volta's innovative desalination technology is not only suitable for producing drinking water but also for industrial water recycling. With the increasing demand for water in various industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and energy production, industrial water recycling has become an important solution to water scarcity. Hydro Volta's technology can purify wastewater from these industries and convert it into usable water, reducing the need for fresh water and minimising the impact of industrial activities on the environment.
Backed by a successful funding subsidy from the European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator in the year 2020, Hydro Volta has come a long way. Established by founders who bring more than 20 years of experience in water treatment, the company has piloted two projects with government water supply companies in Belgium — Watergroep, Aquaduin, and FARYS — and is awaiting a third pilot project with BASF, a chemicals company in Germany to reduce water waste in rivers and seasides.
BlueInvest - coaching companies and supporting their networking
With ambitious fundraising plans aimed at improving their commercialisation activities and enhancing their product line globally, Hydro Volta participated in the BlueInvest Readiness Assistance programme. The BlueInvest coach assigned to them helped Hydro Volta to visualise their business from a different perspective, receiving support even during their EIC Accelerator journey. As a start-up focusing primarily on technology, the BlueInvest coach helped reorient Hydro Volta’s focus to gain a better understanding of financial concepts key to its growth. Additionally, Hydro Volta benefited from the BlueInvest events and pitching sessions. Meeting prospective investors and networking with potential customers gave them significant visibility.
Having funded their own growth all this while, Hydro Volta now wants to scale up their operations, and therefore fundraising is of paramount importance at the moment. Funding from EIC and support from the Belgian government have paved the way for success at Hydro Volta, and there’s no stopping them going forward. According to co-founder and CEO George Brik, it is difficult to convince customers with new technology in water treatment since the market in this field is stable. Nevertheless, Hydro Volta is planning to go big. According to Brik,
We now have a team of 12 experts. The aim is to have 20 people on board by the end of this year, and 100 people in the next five years. Revenue in five years is planned at €70 million. All this should help our acceleration.
BlueInvest Readiness Assistance is an exclusive coaching programme for high potential EU start-ups and SMEs proposing innovative and sustainable products and solutions for the blue economy. Businesses and projects selected for Investment Readiness Assistance will receive coaching packages tailored specifically to their readiness levels and business objectives. The programme is impact-driven, with a clear focus on providing business support to help start-ups and SMEs build capacities for growth and attract investment.
Interested? Apply now by registering to the BlueInvest Community and completing the dedicated Readiness Assistance application form. The current application deadline is the 7 April 2023. For any questions, you can reach out to lu_blueinvestpwc [dot] com (lu_blueinvest[at]pwc[dot]com).
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- Publication date
- 27 March 2023
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries