In a word, water treatment technologies are crucial when it comes to eliminating contaminants and bacteria from clean, potable water supplies. As such, wastewater treatments are to remove as many contaminants as possible before the rest of the water is sent back into the environment.
With the global population expected to grow by 75 million each year, reaching 9.9 billion by 2050, pressure on water sources will also increase — which is where solutions like water treatment technologies come in and will be integral moving forward.
By 2027, it is estimated that the water and wastewater treatment market will be worth a staggering US$242.6 billion fueled in part by markets such as North America and Europe adopting technologies in wastewater treatment and the overall necessity of wastewater treatment around the world.
Founded in 2015, Forward Water Technologies’ osmosis technology doesn’t use applied pressure or energy and doesn’t use forced filtration. Instead, the forward osmosis process rejects all impurities and can separate clean water from the waste stream.
Putting it simply, the company’s technology enables manufacturing operations to clean wastewater that would normally require costly disposal. In line with this, Forward Water Technologies’ solution also allows for the reclamation of up to 90% of the waste as clean water and returning it to the environment.
A wastewater solution that’s one step ahead
Based out of Ontario, Forward Water Technologies has been developing its patented industrial water treatment system that enables manufacturing operations to reduce liquid waste volumes by up to as much as 92% and extracts clean water that would be costly to dispose of.
Thanks to the company’s technology, that water is able to be reintroduced back into manufacturing operations while also reducing carbon footprints.
In an interview with Stockhouse Editorial, Howie Honeyman, CEO of Forward Water Technologies, explained that part of the company’s vision is to make water part of the manufacturing process through its energy-efficient way of recycling water.
He also said that what makes Forward Water Technologies’ solution different from other wastewater solutions on the market is that it has been able to find a way to “suck” water across a membrane by using a special proprietary salt material.
“In doing that [our technology] can pull the water out of the waste so that it’s available for re-use,” he explained.
Below is a full virtual tour of Forward Water Technologies’ laboratory facilities, where you can get a behind the scenes look at what makes the company’s process so unique.
Honeyman added the next step is then taking the special salt out by way of a low energy process that leaves behind the clean water, recovers the chemicals from the special salt process and gets reused over and over again.
“What we offer is a really low energy way of recovering the vast amount of water from a waste stream that would typically just be thrown away or boiled to death,” he said.
In summary, the company’s forward osmosis technology moves water across a membrane by using an osmosis gradient that is created by using a proprietary chemical package. After the clean water has been removed from the waste stream, the chemical package can easily be translated to gasses. The gas that bubbles out of clean water is then captured and reused in a closed loop.
What boils down to it is that Forward Water Technologies’ proprietary solution has a leg up over its peers due to its low energy process that has spontaneous water separation with no material consumption.
Growing adoption of water treatment technologies
Implementing new water treatment technologies is certainly growing in importance and is said to be able to lower the reliance on deep well disposals. In the same vein, forward osmosis water technologies are already being implemented into markets such as fracking water treatment, zero liquid discharge and desalination for re-use.
When asked about why water waste technologies are so important, Honeyman explained that because the human race generates so much hazardous wastewater each year, clean water is becoming a scarcity on a global scale.
As it currently stands, wastewater is sent to permanent disposal wells, which is the equivalent of removing the volume of 300 hours of Niagara Falls every year — forever.
In line with this, it is estimated that the global deficit for fresh water will reach 2.7 trillion
Cubic meters by 2030, which could affect up to 60% of the world’s population.
To help prevent this, Forward Water Technologies is targeting two specific broad areas, with one of them being heavily compromised industrial wastewater — which includes pharmaceuticals and textiles — because they are markets that produce some of the most contaminated water.
The other market Honeyman said the company is targeting is brine management, which he explained are solutions that have a lot of dissolved minerals and are often used in manufacturing processes, including recovering oil and gas products out of the ground and harvesting lithium.
“On the brine management side of things, [Forward Water Technologies] is looking at aiding and improving all of the established technologies and also finding ways to enable and establish the emerging sustainability, such as lithium recovery and make those clean from the start instead of repairing them later,” he said.
What’s next for Forward Water Technologies
Because the company was able to de-risk the forward osmosis technology before going public, Forward Water Technologies has been able to raise funds and resources when it went public in October of 2021.
Now, the company’s focus is taking the products and delivering to the industries it is targeting and install, operate and reap the benefits from its success.
In line with this, Forward Water Technologies received in February approval from Canada’s CanExport SMES program $26,000 in funding, which the company will match for a total of $52,000, which will enable the company to extend its business development into the US, UK and Europe where it can explore new markets.
Honeyman explained the CanExport grant will allow the company to tackle the sales and marketing activity and support it by getting the company’s product out in front of the industry so that it will be able to realize that Forward Water Technologies’ solution is “a viable treatment option.”
“We’re using those funds to drive commercial activity in the United States and into Europe,” he said. “We’re seeing a lot of adoption in those markets.”
Moving into the rest of the year, Honeyman said that Forward Water Technologies will be seeking “an unapologetic commercial contract.” He said that in order to do that, what the company has been able to do is partner with groups where it already has established commercial customers in the wastewater treatment arena.
“We’re going to grow our reach, which is what we need to do, by using partners who already have established relationships to get that first commercial contract,” Honeyman said.
The management team
C. Howie Honeyman, Ph.D., CEO and president
Howie Honeyman brings over 20 years of experience to Forward Water Technologies, which includes commercializing new technologies at Xerox, Cabot Corp, E. Ink and Natrix Separations. He has also acted as former CTO of GreenCentre Canada. His other work includes the commercial success of the E-paper at E-Ink and at an MIT start-up where he led the team that developed the first commercial platform of e-paper that is used in e-readers today.
Honeyman has been leading Forward Water Technologies since 2015 with the goal of becoming a premier wastewater treatment solution. Honeyman also has over 50 US patents to his name and holds a PhD in chemistry from the University of Toronto.
Wayne Maddever, Ph.D., P.Eng., COO
Wayne Maddever has held a variety of senior executive management positions since 1985 in areas such as technically based business start-ups and turnaround acquisition situations where his skills have helped with the commercialization of new technologies.
Maddever also has experience in both private and public companies at domestic and international levels across a wide range of industries including bio and advanced materials. Like Honeyman, Maddever holds a number of patents in a range of fields.
In addition to his role with Forward Water, Maddever serves as a portfolio manager at Bioindustrial Innovation Canada, a major shareholder of Forward Water. Maddever received his Ph.D. in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Toronto.
Philip Jessop, Ph.D., executive research director
Phillip Jessop is a professor and Canada Research Chair of Green Chemistry at the Department of Chemistry, Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Jessop also serves as the technical director of GreenCentre Canada and executive research director at Forward Water Technologies.
Jessop has also served as a contract researcher in Japan working for R. Noyori and has worked as a professor at the University of California-Davis. He has studied green solvents and the chemistry of carbon dioxide at Queen’s University.
He also serves as chair of the editorial board for the journal Green Chemistry, has chaired three international conferences and helped create GreenCentre Canada. Forward Water Technologies is a spin-off company based upon Jessop’s switchable solvents.
The investment opportunity
Putting it simply, Forward Water Technologies is working towards solving a “severely underserved” technology requirement, which Honeyman explained is energy-efficient ways of reducing wastewater volumes.
“The number one incumbent technology that we’re competing against is transportation and disposal,” he said, explaining that typically waste is put in a truck and then driven away to a disposal hole. “There has been no real tangible innovation in that disposal process for decades, and I think that’s what makes us different.”
As of the time of this writing, Forward Water Technologies has a market capitalization of C$17.95 million, a share price of $0.17, 105.60 million shares outstanding and a total of 105.60 million shares.
The company has also recently seen an increase in trading volume, likely attributed to that what Forward Water Technologies is doing is something that the public has genuine interest in.
“The public realizes that there is reason to stay focused on these water scarcity issues and ways to solve them,” he explained, adding that it is reasonable to believe the public is connecting the dots between sustainability and a viable economic business plan and bringing them together.
FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article produced by Stockhouse Publishing.