From Scotland to the global stage…new water purification technology could be a gamechanger

From Scotland to the global stage…new water purification technology could be a gamechanger

Water. There are 333 million cubic litres of it on earth…yet so much of the most valuable commodity on the planet is contaminated. Pollutants such as sand, soil and metal make it unsuitable for human consumption and, in many cases, harmful to the environment.

But new concept technology pioneered by a Scottish company – with the support and mentoring of HFI Consulting International founding partner Hugh Fraser – could prove to be a gamechanger in water purification.

GM Innovations has spent the past six years successfully developing Rotaflow® - a range of hydrated centrifugal separators that remove water contaminants produced by industry, such as oil and gas exploration, mining and wastewater treatment, to an extremely high level.

The Glasgow-based firm has obtained intellectual property rights and patents to its revolutionary technology and is now ready to start the next phase of the roll-out to market by identifying a licensed partner to manufacture Rotaflow® as a full-scale industrial device.

Thanks to the Scottish Government’s GlobalScot initiative - a worldwide network of entrepreneurial and inspirational business leaders dedicated to supporting ambitious companies that want to make their mark on the world – GM Innovations is pushing on open doors.

Hugh is one of several GlobalScots supporting managing director John Elliot and his team by making introductions and connections to experts with the know-how and manufacturing capabilities.

John said: “Hugh was very quickly able to build up an understanding of our position and where we wanted to go. He came to our testing facility and after seeing Rotaflow® in action, became very excited about the technology and the possible outcomes.

“He has been incredibly supportive and helpful in his role as a GlobalScot: he knows the Aberdeen oil and gas market inside out and has excellent connections. He’s been able to make introductions and provide direction, for example, he is very interested in how one of our innovations might be used to provide safe, potable drinking water in other regions he is familiar with, such as the Middle East and North Africa.”

Rotaflow® is a contaminant separator based on a hydrated centrifugal force process and can be applied to reduce or remove particles including oil, sand and sludge from water. The competitive advantage of the technology is that it provides an in-line continuous process with a small footprint.

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Independent testing of Rotaflow® has seen contaminate reduction to 40ppm residual Brent crude equivalent oil contaminant in water after processing a 50:50 oil and water mixture, and 6ppm residual sand in water with a fine sand/grit and water process separation. It is anticipated that results from an upscaled commercial device would show even greater levels of reduction.

Within the oil and gas sector, the technology could be harnessed for the treatment of produced water, to remove oil from water after spillages and to remove fluids used in the fracking process.

The latter has exceptional potential as producers are creating vast volumes of effluent due to a mix of water, sand and chemicals being blasted underground to release oil and gas. In one area of the USA alone - the Permian Basin of New Mexico and Texas - it is estimated that fracking is generating more than 1,000 Olympic-sized swimming pools of contaminated water every day.

The device could also be applied to other sectors, with commercial potential for mining, distilling, food processing – and even to conform with impending new directives in Scotland and the rest of the UK to ensure that drinking water conforms to the highest quality.

John added: “With IP now secured and proof of concept achieved, the next stage will be critical and that is to identify licensed engineering manufacturing partners with experience and understanding of this technology. This could be an excellent opportunity for a suitable manufacturing partner to maximise on the considerable market potential.

“It is very encouraging to have a professional with the considerable depth of business experience that Hugh has amassed to take an interest and have belief in GM Innovations’ technology and commercial potential. His enthusiastic input and direction as a successful GlobalScot is very much appreciated and valued.”

Hugh was accredited to the GlobalScot network in 2017 and is one of over 600 business leaders supporting Scottish companies to develop their export potential and make their mark on the global stage.