Skip to main content
Smart Water Solutions

Smart Water Solutions

By Hakim El Fadil
Discussions on science, technology and investment happening in the water industry. Hakim is a water tech researcher at KU Leuven with 8 years of industrial water expertise gained at The Dow Chemical Company and DuPont.
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Currently playing episode

#10 - Anna Poberezhna: Blockchain for water industry

Smart Water Solutions

#53 - Greg Newbloom: Membrion
Ceramic membranes are robust, durable and outperform polymeric membranes in harsh liquid environments. However, their price is still high because of the raw materials and the high temperature of manufacturing. Here is an advanced silica-based (silica is the most abundant elements in Earth's crust) sol-gel ceramic membrane that is synthesized without high temperature processing. In this episode, Greg Newbloom, founder & CEO of Membrion, shares how he scales up an academic lab membrane to an industrial membrane to treat difficult wastewater such as produced water in petroleum industry. The Membrion technology comprises ion exchange membranes that are stacked together to remove charged species and recover clean water from wastewater.
September 08, 2022
#52 - Prof. Wiebe M. de Vos
Prof. Wiebe M. de Vos, leader of the research group Membrane Surface Science at Twente University, tries to solve complex water treatment problems through interdisciplinary and creative research. In this episode, he shares his three research pillars with us: 1- Complex fouling mechanisms occurring when treating e.g. produced water from O&G, 2- Coatings, layer by layer and polyelectrolyte membranes, and 3- A fully aqueous membrane synthesis platform. We also talk about the research edges and opportunities in ion exchange membranes.
August 25, 2022
#51 - Ole Kristian Sivertsen: Desert Control
Imagine whenever you go to the supermarket, you can find the water consumption of any food product on its label! The amount of water that was consumed from its planting to its harvesting. Wouldn’t that help you make a sustainable choice? Why food?! because agriculture consumes above 60% of the total water consumption across industries. According to the United Nations, above 12 million hectares are becoming desert every year or as Ole Kristian Sivertsen said, “about one football field of fertile land disappears every two seconds”. One nonchemical way to return desert to fertile land has been developed by Desert Control. Ole Kristian Sivertsen, CEO of Desert Control, explains in this episode how big and challenging the desertification problem and how Desert Control solution can stop and recover dying lands to green land. The solution is called Liquid Natural Clay (LNC) that can be produced onsite and sprayed directly to sand or arid soil to form a structure like sponge, which enables the sand to capture water for a long time and improve its mineral composition contents for agriculture. As a result, LNC saves up to 50% of water and fertilizer consumption.
August 11, 2022
#50 - Bruno Abreu: SCUBIC
Urban population growth, economic development and change of consumption patterns increase water demand. The challenge is how can water utilities continue using old water infrastructure to maintain the increase of water demand at lower cost? Daily urban water consumption is processed by algorithms to predict the exact needed water amount that should be supplied to the right underground reservoir and at the right time. This water supply via pumps consumes electricity which makes 30-40% of the total tap water cost. Electricity price in Europe and abroad changes every hour of the day for 24 hours. Processing all these data to reduce the water supply cost by more than 3% is one of SCUBIC achievements. Bruno Abreu, co-founder of SCUBIC, discusses in this episode how his platform deploys mathematical algorithms that benefit water utilities making intelligent decisions to cut the water supply cost and reduce the overuse of water infrastructure.
July 28, 2022
#49 - Prof. Mathias Wessling
Professor Mathias Wessling from RWTH Aachen University in Germany, winner of the Leibniz 2019 price, is innovating four pillars of membrane technology: 1-hollow fiber NF, 2-layer by layer membranes, 3-AI backward design recipes, and 4-water treatment inverse problems. We (Rhea Verbeke and I) talked about the contributions of his research that have been made it from lab scale to pilot scale to industrial products.  His membrane innovations are either licensed to companies such as Evonik or transformed into new companies such as Con-vergence, furthr-research, Amovion and Biothrust. Currently, his team is developing a novel membrane for dialysis that has thepotential to shift the dialysis market. Enjoy this episode that bridges valuable insights for academics, industrial experts and investors active in water field and beyond!
July 14, 2022
#48 - Victor L. Shikoli: HydroIQ
According to HydroIQ, half of the water supplied by utilities in Africa is lost before reaching the consumer due to leakages. Hence, there is a need for an online platform layer between water suppliers and consumers to visualize the exact consumed amount of water and pay for this amount frictionless. Victor L. Shikoli, co-founder of HydroIQ, shares in this podcast episode how HydroIQ assist homes, utilities, businesses and industries to use, manage, report, bill and pay for water efficiently.
June 30, 2022
#47 - Prof. Mihail Barboiu
Professor Mihail Barboiu belongs to the pioneers of biomimetic membranes. Via supramolecular chemistry, he designs artificial channels, embedded in membranes, through which water or ions can selectively permeate. In this episode, we dive into Prof. Mihail’s journey: his inspiration, the working mechanisms of artificial channels, the upscaling of these membranes, and the impact they can have on society as they can reach  2 LMHbar output. These membranes seem way ahead of the game implying they can cut CAPEX and OPEX of seawater desalination by half! We also touch on other applications such as the selective removal of lithium from sea water and the potential of artificial water channels in medical applications. This episode contains many insights, all the way from nano to macro!
June 16, 2022
#46 - Prof. Andrea Iris Schäfer
"I have a dream: safe water for all children" professor Andrea Iris Schäfer, KIT. In this episode, Rhea and I hosted Prof. Andrea Schaefer who develops reliable drinking water systems at an affordable price for several communities in Africa and abroad. These decentralized systems combine membrane technology with renewable energy. Moreover, she is researching and developing low pressure reactive membranes to remove endocrine disrupters from wastewater. It was inspiring to learn how her academic career started and how it developed over the years. Her vision and the key insights she shared with us in this episode can be valuable for junior researchers who would like to pursue an academic career.
May 26, 2022
#45 - Prof. Jeffrey McCutcheon
“Our ideas are our art as scientists” professor Jeffrey McCutcheon at the University of Connecticut, USA. In this episode, my co-host Rhea Verbeke and I discuss Prof's breakthrough research on additive manufacturing methods for water purification membranes. We talk about the gaps between academia and industry, about the hype cycle of new water technologies and the opportunities that lay in convergence research. He also shares interesting new research directions and talks about what you need to become a good academician.
April 28, 2022
#44 - Steve Creech: Wyland Foundation
''Thousands have lived without love, not one without water'' W.H.Auden was a poet (1907-1973).  The Wyland Foundation, a non-profit organization, brings artists, scientists and teachers together to raise environmental awareness through education programs, public arts projects, and community events. Steve Creech, president of The Wyland Foundation, shares in this episode the tools and the key lessons of the US Mayor’s Challenge to save water across the US.
April 14, 2022
#43 - Jan Post: Wetsus
In water, the business of science and engineering is to transfer skills that straddle both academia and industry towards solving urgent firm water challenges. In these regards, Wetsus is a platform coordinating multidisciplinary experts from both industry and academia to skill young water solutionists and deliver innovations applicable to the society. Jan Post, program director at Wetsus, discusses in this episode how Wetsus impacts water sector and what is going on its innovation pipelines focused on four research themes: 1-drought resilience, 2-healthy environment, 3-recovered resources and 4-sustainable water.
March 31, 2022
#42 - James Dunning: Syrinix
Water and wastewater utilities process their network data to secure safe drinking water and ensure treated wastewater discharge to the ecosystem. Displaying worth processed data on the screen to the operators to take the right action at the right time for the right location is vital. Syrinix is one of the key players in developing hardware and software to process and monitor utilities water networks. James Dunning, CEO of Syrinix, speaks in this episode about the value of proceed data to water utilities and how Syrinix adds value in this matter.
March 17, 2022
#41 - Max Gangestad: GWT algae water solution
The harvesting cost of algal biofilm is one of the bottleneck of commercialising algae-based product. GWT developed a system that uses vertically oriented conveyor belts that grow algae on their surface. Max Gangestad, COO at GWT, elaborates on GWT solution and how algae can be used to make fertilisers, bioplastics, and biofuels.
March 03, 2022
#40 - Amanda Siqueira: VAPAR
According to, the total length of the sewer network in EU is 3 million km. Because of the aging, population growth and pandemic situation, the stress is increasing on this network, which leads to leakage and abrupt. One efficient way to assess the sewer network is to record and watch the cleaned pipes via cameras. VAPAR is a platform using AI to process this CCTV (closed-circuit television) files at a fast pace to detect the leakages and increase network exploitation efficiency. Amanda Siqueira, CEO at VAPAR, explains the golden circle: why, how and what is VAPAR solution to the water market.
February 17, 2022
#39 - Amrit Om Nayak: Indra water
Amrit Om Nayak, Co-Founder & CEO at Indra Water, discusses a novel decentralized Electro-oxidation (EO) system designed to treat two wastewater categories; Blackwater and greywater. This system provides a chemical free alternative to chemical coagulation or Membrane bioreactor (MBR). Among questions in the episode: when and how to use Indra system instead of conventional ones to treat a wide range of COD and harmful chemicals from different industrial wastewater streams.
January 20, 2022
#38 - Baker Bozeyeh: Flowless
Non-revenue water (NRW) is water that is supplied to the system but doesn’t reach the customer. Among the factors behind this phenomena are the lack of knowledge of the network and outdated infrastructures. Baker Bozeyeh, CEO of Flowless, explains in this episode how Flowless can enhance water supply efficiency by deploying emerging technologies for automated faults detection & process optimization.
January 06, 2022
#37 - Zachary Sadow: KMX Technologies
Global demand for lithium is increasing at a faster clip than it was forecasted. The lithium is manufactured from either the extraction of lithium-containing salts from underground brine reservoirs or the mining of lithium-containing rock. Its concentration in the brine is one of the challenging steps in the mineral processing. Zachary Sadow, Chairman & CEO at KMX Technologies, discusses how KMX membrane technology facilitates a separation of pure water and valuable minerals such as lithium from brine and waste-streams at low temperature and pressure.
December 23, 2021
#36 - William Janssen: Desolenator
Desolenator uses both solar-generated heat and electricity to power the desalination process. William Janssen, discusses how Desolenator add techno-economic benefits compared to conventional desalination techs combined with renewable energy.
October 21, 2021
#35 - Chris Thomas: AQUA4D
AQUA4D® is a resonance fields technology that solves salinity while decreasing water use and increasing overall productivity. In this 35# episode, Chris Thomas, marketing leader at AQUA4D®, discusses the sustainable impacts of this cleantech in the water industry and beyond.
September 24, 2021
#34 - Qilin Li: Solar Membrane Distillation
Reverse Osmosis membrane (RO) and thermal (MED, MVC and MSF) desalination are two main types of desalination technologies in the water market. The two solutions cost energy that is not always affordable. One way to reduce the energy cost is to couple renewable energy with these two desalination techs. Another way is to transfer academia breakthrough technologies such as solar membrane distillation to the industry. In this episode Prof Qilin Li at Rice university and the Founder and Chief Scientist at SolMem discusses: 1.  Engineering one reactor that combines a solar thermal collector with a membrane distillation reactor. 2.  Advantages of using a spiral wound membrane configuration in SMD 3.  Challenges to transfer an academia SMD water tech to the water market
July 29, 2021
#33 - Peter Christou: SWIRLTEX: a new spin on membrane filtration
Peter Christou, founder and CEO of Swirltex, elaborates the following points: ·  how buoyancy manipulation of solid contaminants is paired with a swirling flow pattern leads to over 100% flux increase of a tubular membrane. ·  50% of air mixed with water pumped through a tubular membrane where water spiraling around the membrane and air creates a surface tension around suspended solids to diminish concentration polarization and overcome building cake layer. ·  value of coupling Swirltex with RO technology to solve water applications such as produced water in O&G.
July 15, 2021
#32 - Moritz Waldstein: "mitte” offers a purified and mineralized drinking water.
Moritz Waldstein, CEO of "mitte’’, lays out in this episode the key components of how ‘’mitte’’ solution will not only clean water but also enhance its taste and regain its natural mineral composition: ·  Could an ‘’iPhone’’ moment happens in the drinking water industry? An intuitive home drinking water solution that combines state of the art water techs with an IOT system and respects the product life-cycle sustainability. ·  Instead of only removing substances from water, ‘’mitte’’ adds minerals to water to restore its naturalness and tastiness. ·  Sooner or later existing drinking water techs will be canalized and wiped out of the market, while the need for healthy and tasty water will continue to be more fragmented.
July 01, 2021
#31 - Michael Gardner: Raising blended capital for water techs
Michael Gardner, founder and CEO of AQAIX, discusses the following solutions: Water industry can mimic the financial infrastructure available for the IT and electronic start-ups to release their product to the market. AQAIX is one promising platform. Building a strong IT team inside a water tech company will not only enable extracting the values from the data but will also construct a strategic digital infrastructure.
June 17, 2021
#30 - Christoph Kellenberger: Micro- to Nanofiltration flat sheet membranes made from almost any polymer
Christoph Kellenberger is the founder and CEO of Novamem, elucidates the possibility of making a polymeric micro- to nanofiltration membrane from almost any polymer designed for specific water and solvent applications.
June 03, 2021
#29 - Wolfgang Vogl: Online water bacteria analyser
Wolfgang Vogl, CEO-Founder at VWMs GmbH, talks about his rapid microbiology analyser, how does it work, its techno-economical values and the ability of this technology to change the design of wastewater treatment plant configuration.
May 20, 2021
#28 - Piotr Dlugolecki: The digital ecosystem of Berghof’s membranes
Piotr Dlugolecki, head of technology, discusses three points in this episode: 1- the techno-economical values of Berghof’s tubular UF, 2- B-smart ecosystem to run B-UF in a reliable and optimised way, 3- B-care service to develop a solution from an idea or technical challenges till the realization of an industrial water solution.
November 26, 2020
#27 - Maarten Ter Keurst: Investing in water disruptive techs
Maarten Ter Keurst, director of Investments at PureTerra Ventures, shares why, how and when water start-ups can consider investors such as capital ventures. Meanwhile, he elucidates the key mistakes that young water start-up leaders can circumvent.
September 24, 2020
#26 - Hassan Aboelnga: Urban Water Security
Hassan Aboelnga, vice president of the Middle East Water Forum, explains that securing urban water is like solving rubik's cube. The solution is based on a developing and implementing water security indexes which takes into consideration the climate change, urban population growth, the water resources stress and the aging of tap water, rain water and wastewater infrastructures.
August 27, 2020
#25 - William T. Guiney: The breakthrough XCPC solar thermal technology for water treatment
William T. Guiney, founder of Artic Solar, expounds the uniqueness and values of the XCPC (External Concentrating Parabolic Collector) technology as well as its implantation in the solar-thermal desalination (STD).
July 23, 2020
#24 - Jeroen De Lathouwer: Digitalization unlocks the efficiency of wastewater treatment plants
Jeroen De Lathouwer, VP business development, discusses how to increase the capacity of a wastewater treatment plant via only software upgrade!
July 09, 2020
#23 - Elango Thevar: AI and machine learning to detect and predict water infrastructure leakage
Elango Thevar, CEO of NEER digital platform, elucidates how this platform uses Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, to identify leaks and predict water, sewer and stormwater collection systems failures.
June 25, 2020
#22 - Howie Honeyman: The solutions of Forward Water Technologies
Howie Honeyman, CEO of Forward Water Technologies, reveals how custom made Forward Osmosis solutions enable accessing values in the wastewater treatment sector.
June 11, 2020
#21 - Markus Multhauf: Pharmaceutical waters by means of advanced purification techs
Submit your feedback! Markus Multhauf shares a technical overview on how advanced purification techs produce pharmaceutical waters.
May 28, 2020
#20 - Rachel Major & Ari Ochoa: NuLeaf solution to treat and recycle wastewater
Feedback! Rachel Major and Ari Ochoa talk in this episode about the innovative NuLeaf-tech solutions as compact ecosystems for smarter off-grid water.
May 14, 2020
#19 - Gaëtane Suzenet: EU value chain for water tech start-up
Gaëtane Suzenet, Managing Partner, enlighten us on how policy makers and investors in EU are fortifying the water innovation and building an ecosystem to the market uptake.
April 30, 2020
#18 - Peter Holme Jensen: Aquaporin solutions
Dr. Peter Holme Jensen, CEO of Aquaporin, elucidates how Aquaporin brings advanced sustainable values into the water market vs the conventional polymeric membrane.
April 16, 2020
#17 - Grégoire Landel: Prepaid potable water
Grégoire Landel, CEO & Founder of CityTaps, emphasizes the transparency and the values of prepaid with smart metrics potable solution towards the potable water consumers as well as the providers.
February 20, 2020
#16 - Grant Gibbs: Hippo Roller
Grant Gibbs, director of Hippo Roller, shares the south African genuine solution that saves time and effort for rural area communities and return the time to African kids to play and study.
February 13, 2020
#15 - Wim Audenaert: Starting a business in the water industry
Dr. Wim Audenaert shared his entrepreneurial experience in the water industry and how he leveraged his academic knowledge.
February 06, 2020
#14 - Patrick Kiely: Decentralised intelligent wastewater treatment system
Dr. Patrick Kiely team has developed an innovative bio-electrode sensor and engineered an intelligent decentralized wastewater system which they powered with renewable energy.
January 29, 2020
#13 - George Habib: Finding the right process parameters for your membrane applications
Dr. George Habib explains how to select the right membrane and the right process parameters to solve a wide range of water and process applications.
January 23, 2020
#12 - Kai Uwe: Second-hand membranes can also process Zero Liquid Discharge
Submit your feedback here! In this episode, Kai-Uwe Hoehn sheds light on the technologies used to achieve zero liquid discharge in the water industry including the option of using second-hand RO membrane.
January 16, 2020
#11 - Trever Andrew: Tap water could kill you!
Submit your feedback! Trever Andrew explains how his software innovation tool  could be used as another safety layer to warn us from getting sick in case tape water is contaminated.
October 09, 2019
#10 - Anna Poberezhna: Blockchain for water industry
Your feedback matters! Anna Poberezhna sheds light on how can blockchain technology save the water. Moreover, how it could disrupt the water industry.
September 26, 2019
#9 - Peter Aerts: How will the first fully back washable flat sheet membrane shift the MBR industry?
Your feedback matters! Dr Peter Aerts shared his vision on how the world first back washable membrane could shift the wastewater treatment industry.
September 19, 2019
#8 - Steven Pease: Sugars in Coca Cola & other daily foods are prepared by IXR technology
Your feedback matters! Steve Pease explains how and why Ion Exchange Resin is the key solutions to separate and purify the sugar and starch industries. He elucidates how idea are shaped from the customer needs to launching a new product. The current trend of healthy sugar is an emerging market for IXR.
September 12, 2019
#7 - Bob Goltz: Multi-tech solutions to treat produced water
Your feedback matters! Dr. Bob Goltz shed light on how contemporary produced water management practices have shifted their focus from discharge and re-injection to reducing, reusing, and recycling.
September 04, 2019
#6 - Andi Gorenflo: Marketing navigates the water industry into new solutions
Your feedback matters! Dr. Andi Gorenflo shared how marketing navigates water business like Dow Water & DuPont water biz into untapped markets as well as guide the R&D team to develop innovation based on the market needs. Moreover, you will learn about his new developed water tech portfolio that add values to untapped water applications.
August 29, 2019
#5 - Jan Hoinkis: The challenges of decentralizing water treatment unit supplied with renewable energy
Your feedback matters! In this episode we will learn how renewable energy combined with membrane technology solves groundwater fluoric and arsenic contamination. In addition, Prof. Jan Hoinkis shed light on how wastewater treatment can be tailored for each type of corps irrigation.
August 21, 2019
#4 - Fredrick Royan: Tech giants like IBM, Cisco and Microsoft are inaugurating a new era of smart water grid
Your feedback matters! The clock is ticking for the day zero water in metropolis like Cape Town, Bangalore and Dubai.  Water desalination is not enough. The current water management is not yet operating in an efficient way. How could smart water grid solve or delay the day zero water? IT infrastructures combined with advanced sensory are looked-for to play a vital role here. 
August 14, 2019
#3 - Jorgen Wagner: Milk contains 87% water processed by means of Membranes
Your feedback matters! In this episode, we shed light on the following key points: •  brief history development of Reverse Osmosis membrane •  what water engineers should know while designing RO & NF for dairy applications  •  how to operate RO & NF in efficient way for dairy applications *NF: Nanofiltration membrane * RO: Reverse Osmosis membrane To get more water solutions content, please subscribe!
August 10, 2019
#2 - Jochen Henkel: Efficient ways to design brackish water Reverse Osmosis plant
Your feedback matters! A controlled pretreatment connected with a well-designed Reverse Osmosis plant will enable you to run RO membrane plant for more than a decade. Dr Jochen Henkel has more than 7 years’ experience in designing Ultrafiltration, Reverse Osmosis and Nanofiltration membranes units for brackish water treatment. He has shared valuable technical insights from his experiences within this episode.  To get more water solutions content, please subscribe!
August 10, 2019
#1 - Markus Kyburz: How to operate efficiently RO & NF membranes in process applications
Your feedback matters! In this episode, we discussed: •  what water engineers should know while using RO & NF in process applications  •  how to operate RO & NF in efficient way in process applications •  key technical hints that will save you money while designing RO/NF plant for process apps To get more water solutions content, please subscribe!
August 10, 2019