Brisbane-based Bilexys Pty Ltd, originating from The University of Queensland (UQ), has won the Pre-Revenue Track award in the US$200,000 Imagine H20 2011 Prize – the world’s premier competition for water start-up companies.
Bilexys was formed by UQ’s main commercialisation company, UniQuest, to commercialise an innovative wastewater technology developed at the Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC) within the University.
Accepting the award on behalf of Bilexys, UniQuest Commercialisation Manager and Bilexys Business Development Manager Paul Barrett said the start-up venture was honoured to win the prize and be acknowledged by key drivers in global water innovation.
“This award is excellent recognition of the commercialisation journey Bilexys has been on over the last few years, where we have translated an invention in the lab to a prototype installed on a customer’s site,” Dr Barrett said.
“And also, through partnering with potential customers, we have developed a sound understanding of the business model required to deliver strong commercial returns to future customers and our company.”
The Bilexys technology converts wastewater into high-value chemical products, including sodium hydroxide and hydrogen peroxide. The Bilexys technology can be installed the as an add-on to existing wastewater treatment sites, producing chemicals at the point of use – eliminating the need for shipping and handling of chemicals. The chemicals produced are potentially less expensive and have a lower CO2 footprint relative to traditional chemical manufacturing techniques, providing significant economic and environmental benefits.
The Pre-Revenue Track prize, which includes cash and in-kind services, will help Bilexys to springboard into its next phase of product development and accelerate the transfer of the technology into the hands of customers.
Congratulating Bilexys on this achievement, UniQuest Managing Director David Henderson said the award recognised how university inventions can flourish as commercial opportunities, and how collaborations with industry can leverage further private investment and deliver returns on public funding for scientific discoveries.
“Bilexys is a great example of a university technology that has been developed to an investable opportunity, thanks to the support, passion and resourcefulness of the AWMC researchers, a UniQuest commercial proof of concept grant, and a Queensland Sustainable Energy Innovation Fund grant,” Mr Henderson explained.
“It is also credit to the team, as their approach to market engagement has attracted customers willing to run pilot plants on their sites. The support of industry leaders like Visy Paper, Carlton United Brewery, MeadWestvaco, InBev and Sierra Nevada has also boosted Bilexys’s prospects of making a real economic and environmental impact on the way chemicals can be manufactured.”
UniQuest licensed the technology to Bilexys Pty Ltd, with several subsequent patent applications strengthening the intellectual property value for prospective investors and industry partners seeking a competitive advantage.
About Bilexys Pty Ltd
Bilexys Pty Ltd is a UniQuest start-up developing wastewater treatment equipment invented at The University of Queensland-based Advanced Water Management Centre (AWMC). Bilexys provides a revolutionary approach — the conversion of wastewater to caustic soda and/or hydrogen peroxide for re-use on site. The technology uses naturally occurring bacteria to harvest the energy stored in the organic material and applies this energy to the creation of valuable products. The Bilexys technology has been taken successfully from the one litre laboratory scale to a fully operational 1000 litre pilot plant.
UniQuest Pty Limited
Established by The University of Queensland in 1984, UniQuest is widely recognised as one of Australia’s largest and most successful university commercialisation groups, benchmarking in the top tier of technology transfer worldwide. From an intellectual property portfolio of 1,500+ patents it has created over 70 companies, and since 2000 UniQuest and its start-ups have raised more than $450 million to take university technologies to market. Annual sales of products using UQ technology and licensed by UniQuest are running at $3 billion. UniQuest now commercialises innovations developed at The University of Queensland and its commercialisation partner institutions: the University of Wollongong, University of Technology Sydney, James Cook University, University of Tasmania, Mater Medical Research Institute, and Queensland Health. UniQuest also provides access to an expansive and exclusive network of independent academics to tailor a consulting or project R&D solution to meet the diverse needs of industry and government, facilitating some 500 consulting, expert opinion, testing, and contract research services each year. UniQuest is also a leading Australasian provider of international development assistance recognised for excellence in technical leadership, management and research. Working with agencies such as AusAID, NZAID, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, UniQuest has developed and implemented more than 400 projects in 60+ countries throughout the Pacific, South-East Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Africa.
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