Discover the Top 10 Water Treatment Trends in 2024

How is technology tackling water scarcity and ensuring sustainable water use? Read this data-driven industry research on the 10 emerging water treatment trends based on 1400+ startups & scaleups. These trends include water quality monitoring, desalination, IIoT, & more.

The growing global population leads to increasing demand for water treatment solutions, further fueled by urbanization and industrial expansion. Moreover, the amount of freshwater remains constant and shrinking as the population increases, which makes effective water management and treatment all the more vital. For these reasons, startups are developing technologies such as membrane filtration, ultraviolet disinfection, advanced oxidation processes, and smart monitoring systems. These innovative water treatment methods improve the efficiency and effectiveness of water treatment processes and also benefit municipal water supply, manufacturing, agriculture, and more. Read more to explore the top 10 water treatment trends in 2024 and how they provide access to clean water and promote public health.

Innovation Map outlines the Top 10 Water Treatment Trends & 20 Promising Startups

For this in-depth research on the Top Water Treatment Trends & Startups, we analyzed a sample of 1429 global startups & scaleups. This data-driven research provides innovation intelligence that helps you improve strategic decision-making by giving you an overview of emerging technologies in the utility industry. In the Water Treatment Innovation Map, you get a comprehensive overview of the innovation trends & startups that impact your company.

 

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These insights are derived by working with our Big Data & Artificial Intelligence-powered StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, covering 3 790 000+ startups & scaleups globally. As the world’s largest resource for data on emerging companies, the SaaS platform enables you to identify relevant technologies and industry trends quickly & exhaustively.

 

Tree Map reveals the Impact of the Top 10 Water Treatment Trends in 2024

Based on the Water Treatment Innovation Map, the Tree Map below illustrates the impact of the Top 10 Water Treatment Industry Trends in 2024. Desalination techniques are improving access to fresh water in water-scarce regions, while modular water treatment systems offer flexibility and scalability. Bio-based water remediation methods are gaining traction for their eco-friendly approach. Nanofiltration enhances the efficiency of water treatment processes. Further, the integration of IIoT with water quality monitoring systems and energy-efficient technologies optimizes operations, making complex systems easier to manage. Lastly, advances in carbon-based purification methods, water disinfection solutions, and membrane technology for water treatment eliminate harmful microorganisms, pollutants, and other harmful substances from water sources.

 

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Top 10 Advanced Water Treatment Technologies (2024)

  1. Water Quality Monitoring
  2. Membrane Technology
  3. Carbon-based Purification
  4. Water Disinfection Solutions
  5. Desalination
  6. Modular Water Treatment Systems
  7. Bio-based Water Remediation
  8. Nanofiltration
  9. Industrial Internet of Things
  10. Energy-Efficient Integrations

Global Startup Heat Map covers 1429 Water Treatment Technology Startups & Scaleups

The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights the global distribution of the 1429 exemplary startups & scaleups that we analyzed for this research. Created through the StartUs Insights Discovery Platform, the Heat Map reveals high startup activity in the US and India, followed by Western Europe. Below, you get to meet 20 out of these 1429 promising startups & scaleups as well as the solutions they develop. These new water treatment technology startups are hand-picked based on criteria such as founding year, location, funding raised, & more. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.

 

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Top 10 Emerging Water Treatment Trends in 2024

1. Water Quality Monitoring

Traditional water quality monitoring methods have limitations in terms of accuracy, real-time monitoring, and cost-efficiency. To tackle these issues, startups are leveraging advanced technologies such as remote sensing, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and machine learning algorithms. These innovations enable continuous and real-time data collection, analysis, and early detection of contaminants, facilitating proactive measures to be taken. Additionally, the integration of AI and predictive modeling enhances allows water utilities to identify potential water quality problems. This enables more efficient and targeted treatment strategies. By leveraging these innovations, they also optimize water treatment processes, ensuring the delivery of safe and reliable water to communities while mitigating potential health risks.

Waterson aids Water Biological Quality Monitoring

Waterson is an Estonian startup that specializes in real-time water quality monitoring and early warning software. The startup’s technology predicts the probability of biological contamination in drinking water. Waterson’s software uses data from off-the-shelf physicochemical sensors, which it records in a database to develop customer-specific time series data sets. The startup’s solution is fully automatic and provides continuous data analytics while reducing potential contamination risks to a minimum. Besides, the solution is compatible with sensors from a wide range of manufacturers. Waterson’s technology is adaptable to different industries, including water utilities, food and beverage manufacturers, and other sectors such as agriculture and cosmetics

D2K Information facilitates Drinking Water Quality Management

D2K Information is an Australian startup that provides comprehensive water quality monitoring solutions. The startup’s QualitEye is a customizable device that monitors water quality at various points in the distribution system. It offers real-time data on parameters such as free chlorine residual, ORP, conductivity, pH, turbidity, temperature, and line pressure. Additionally, the startup’s Information Engine software converts data from field sensors into user-relevant information, improving water quality management decisions. It also offers specialist modules like CCPWatch for water security, AuditWatch for auditing processes, and AlgaeWatch for managing harmful algal blooms.

2. Membrane Technology

Water sources have an inherent risk of the presence of contaminants such as bacteria, viruses, dissolved solids, and organic matter. Moreover, conventional membrane processes often suffer from fouling, low flux rates, and high energy consumption. Therefore, emerging membrane technology for sustainable water treatment is addressing these issues through novel membrane materials and designs. For instance, nanocomposite membranes with enhanced selectivity and fouling resistance allow for higher water recovery rates and reduced fouling. Further, breakthroughs in membrane module configurations, such as spiral-wound and hollow fiber membranes, are improving process efficiency and reducing energy consumption. The integration of membrane bioreactors and forward osmosis systems are also enhancing the removal of contaminants and reducing the need for additional treatment. These innovations make membrane technology for purification more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable.

Inosep creates a Polymer Membrane for Water Purification

Inosep is a South Korean startup that develops polymer membranes for water treatment applications. The startup’s membranes come in different types, including microfiltration, ultrafiltration, nanofiltration, and reverse osmosis (RO), each designed to remove specific contaminants. It uses polymer materials like polyamide, polyethylene, polypropylene, polyvinylidene fluoride, polysulfone, and cellulose acetate for the membranes. The startup’s membranes find use in various areas, including home water purifiers, water and wastewater treatment plants, and seawater desalination.

Earthy manufactures a Biomimetic Membrane for Water Filtration

Earthy is an Indian startup that utilizes a biomimetic membrane for water filtration. The startup’s technology, Aquaporin Inside, incorporates aquaporin proteins found in living cells and are highly efficient at transporting water. The membranes imitate the exterior of a cell, incorporating aquaporin proteins within a stabilizing layer. Due to their unique natural structure, the aquaporin proteins facilitate the passage of water. Consequently, they exceed conventional synthetic water filtration membranes in terms of both speed and selectivity. Earthy’s membranes find use in a variety of applications including industrial effluent treatment, food and beverage concentration, in-home water purification, and space exploration. The startup’s technology not only provides high-quality drinking water but also contributes to reducing energy use and water waste in various industries

3. Carbon-based Purification

Activated carbon, graphene-based materials, and carbon nanotubes are being employed for their adsorption capacities and large surface areas in water purification. These carbon-based materials selectively remove a wide range of contaminants from water, including micropollutants and organic compounds. Moreover, advances in carbon-based purification techniques, such as tailored surface modifications and functionalization, are enhancing their adsorption capabilities and selectivity. The development of hybrid carbon-based materials and composites is leading to enhanced performance, improved regeneration, and extended lifetimes of water filtration systems.

Bygen Activated specializes in Activated Carbon

Bygen Activated is an Australian startup that produces activated carbon using a low-temperature activation (LTA) process. The process is self-sustaining and requires no continuous heating and allows the use of various waste source materials such as nut shells, wood, and sugarcane bagasse. Bygen Activated’s LTA process reduces capital and operating costs and also avoids the use of fossil fuels and minimizes water requirements. The startup’s activated carbon products find applications in air and gas purification, PFAS remediation, food and drink production, water treatment, and gold recovery. Additionally, the startup’s technology sequesters CO2 during the production process, enabling it to claim carbon credits.

Glanris specializes in Biocarbon

Glanris is a US-based startup that offers carbon-based purification solutions for water treatment. The startup’s biocarbon media is made from rice husks and removes both organic and metal contaminants from water and wastewater. The eco-friendly and low-cost solution serves as a drop-in replacement for existing filtration tanks with a wide effective pH range. Besides, Glanris’ technology contributes to carbon sequestration by locking carbon inside rice husks.

4. Water Disinfection Solutions

Current water treatment solutions are effective in removing chemical contaminants like pharmaceuticals, pesticides, and industrial pollutants. Innovations in water disinfection solutions are addressing these issues by introducing advanced techniques for chemical oxidation and degradation. Technologies like advanced oxidation processes (AOPs) and electrochemical disinfection are gaining prominence in the water treatment industry. AOPs utilize powerful oxidants such as ozone, hydrogen peroxide, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation to break down and remove chemical contaminants. Similarly, electrochemical disinfection methods, including electrochemical oxidation and electrochlorination, employ electrical current to generate reactive species that can destroy a wide range of chemical pollutants.

LED UV-C Systems develops UV Disinfection Systems

LED UV-C Systems is a UK-based startup that specializes in ultraviolet disinfection systems. The startup’s product, PearlAqua Micro, is a small form factor UV disinfection system that offers instant germicidal intensity on startup, with up to 10,000 hours of lamp life. The startup’s UV AOP uses LED-produced UV photons and hydrogen peroxide to create hydroxyl radicals, effectively removing contaminants in water. Besides, the LED UV-C systems feature dynamic control and adjust their output based on fluctuating flow velocities. Moreover, unlike conventional UV lamps, the startup’s products do not contain any toxic mercury and, therefore, are ideal for water treatment.

Algaesys advances Water Treatment using Colonised Phototrophic Biomass

Algaesys is a Portuguese startup that uses colonized phototrophic biomass for wastewater treatment. The startup’s system removes nitrogen, phosphorus, carbonaceous pollutants, micro-plastics, heavy metals, and trace persistent organics, while also absorbing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Algaesys’ technology harnesses energy from the sun, reducing electrical power requirements. Additionally, its solution has a short retention time in photo bio-reactors which greatly reduces the system’s footprint. The startup’s solution features less lifecycle cost, making it an affordable and sustainable option for communities with limited resources for water treatment.

5. Desalination

The growing scarcity of freshwater resources and the need for sustainable solutions to meet growing water demands prompts the need for desalination technologies. However, conventional desalination methods like reverse osmosis are energy-intensive and produce brine waste that harms the environment. Novel desalination techniques are addressing these challenges by enabling more efficient and environmentally friendly means to make saline water drinkable. Advancements in membrane materials and designs, such as thin-film composite membranes and biomimetic membranes, are also improving desalination efficiency. They also reduce energy consumption and enhance water recovery rates. Additionally, forward osmosis, membrane distillation, and solar desalination are being explored to further optimize desalination processes and reduce environmental impacts. These innovations enable the production of freshwater from unconventional sources, promoting water sustainability and providing a reliable solution for water-stressed regions.

AVSALT creates an All-Electric Desalination System

Swedish startup AVSALT develops an energy-efficient desalination system to address the global shortage of drinkable water. The startup’s technology leverages porous carbon electrodes and operates at low water pressure with constant flow, performing orthogonal deionization without chemical reactions. The all-electric system is scalable and capable of desalinating brackish water using electricity from a solar panel. Avsalt’s system circumvents the use of high operational pressures, membranes, or moving parts while maximizing efficiency and minimizing energy losses.

Marine Water Production aids Seawater Treatment

Marine Water Production (MWP) is a Norwegian startup that offers a solution to desalination through its floating desalination vessels (FDV). The startup’s technology converts seawater to potable, industrial, and agricultural water using a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) process. MWP’s FDV provides a fast, sustainable, and efficient desalination solution that uses an onboard or shore-based power supply. The startup’s technology handles between 30,000 and 200,000 cubic meters of fresh water per day. MWP’s approach to desalination aims to address the world’s water scarcity challenge in an environmentally friendly and cost-effective manner.

 

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6. Modular Water Treatment Systems

Water treatment plants often require extensive infrastructure and are not easily adaptable. On the other hand, modular water treatment systems offer a portable, scalable, and customizable solution using prefabricated units that are easy to transport, assembled, and integrate. Modular systems also enable rapid deployment in emergency situations or remote areas, ensuring access to clean water in a timely manner. Advances in modular technology include the integration of processes such as membrane filtration, advanced oxidation, and biological treatment to effectively remove contaminants and improve water quality. The modular approach also allows for efficient monitoring, control, and maintenance of water treatment systems.

Conexxion creates a Compact Water Treatment System

Australian startup Conexxion develops a compact water treatment system for efficient water purification. The startup’s system combines high-efficiency biotechnology and a patented membrane bio-reactor (MBR) technology, which is resistant to impact and has a wide. The system is energy-efficient, durable, and fully customizable according to the needs of the terrain. It is installable above-ground or underground, saving space and reducing environmental impact. Moreover, the treatment system is modular, features app-based intelligent control, and reduces maintenance costs through remote monitoring. The startup’s technology is applicable in various areas, including water source protection, new rural water environment management, and more.

4Earth makes a Modular Water Treatment System

4Earth is a US-based startup that develops a modular water treatment system. The startup’s products include Ginseng, Camelus, and Anemone which utilize ceramic ultrafiltration membranes made from alumina oxide or silicon carbide. The systems use suction-driven separation and pressure-driven separation processes with a semipermeable flat-sheet membrane. These systems find use in various applications from industrial wastewater to greywater and groundwater treatment. 4Earth’s systems are housed in 10, 20, or 40-foot modules, making them easy to transport and install. The startup’s technology also includes a user-friendly interface and a dashboard with data analytics and AI to reduce energy consumption and operational costs.

7. Bio-based Water Remediation

Water sources often face the risk of contamination due to the persistence of persistent organic pollutants (POPs) like pesticides, industrial chemicals, and microbial growth. These substances are resistant to degradation and persist in the environment for long periods, posing a threat to human health and ecosystems. To address them, startups are creating bio-based water remediation systems. Bioremediation techniques, such as constructed wetlands and biofilters, utilize plants, microorganisms, and natural processes to remove contaminants. Such bio-based solutions offer several advantages, including lower energy consumption, reduction in chemical usage, and the potential for wastewater reuse. Additionally, advancements in genetic engineering and synthetic biology lead to the development of bioengineered microorganisms that efficiently degrade and remove specific contaminants. By leveraging the natural abilities of living organisms, bio-based water remediation delivers more sustainable, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternatives for water treatment.

Advanced Bacterial Sciences provides Bacterial-based Water Treatment

Advanced Bacterial Sciences (ABS) is a UK-based startup that offers a bacterial-based treatment solution for water pollution and ecological restoration. The startup’s product ALGAEZAP 1 uses slow-release bacteria to reduce sludge and excess nutrients in water bodies, preventing eutrophication and algal blooms. The natural solution eliminates unwanted smells, facilitates cleaning, prolongs equipment life, and is environmentally friendly, with water and CO2 as the only by-products. ABS’ technology is applicable in various areas, including blocked urinals and sewers, oil spills, eutrophic freshwater courses, and algae-choked marinas. The startup’s approach to pollution remediation and wastewater treatment boosts efficiency, cuts maintenance costs, and regenerates natural systems.

Duckweed Biotech advances Phytoremediation

US-based startup Duckweed Biotech utilizes phytoremediation to address global food security, greenhouse gas emissions, and water remediation. The startup’s technology leverages a proprietary hydroponics system to clean water and sequester greenhouse gases. Moreover, the growth and nutrition system uses phytoremediation to clean runoff nutrient-rich water and agriculture surface wastewater. Besides, Duckweed Biotech produces organic, biological, and non-GMO organisms in ecologically safe systems, reducing carbon footprint and improving product quality. The startup’s products also include an organic bio-stimulant fertilizer to increase crop yields and high nutrient-value feed solutions for the food industry.

8. Nanofiltration

Conventional treatment methods often struggle to effectively remove salts, dissolved solids, and micropollutants without compromising the overall quality of the treated water. Innovations in nanofiltration are addressing these issues by combining the benefits of reverse osmosis and ultrafiltration. Nanofiltration membranes possess smaller pore sizes compared to ultrafiltration membranes. It allows for the removal of divalent ions, organic molecules, and larger particles while retaining essential minerals and smaller solutes. This selective separation capability of nanofiltration membranes enables the production of high-quality water with reduced energy consumption and minimal waste generation. By harnessing nanofiltration, water treatment companies ensure clean and safe water.

NematiQ develops a Graphene Nanofiltration Membrane

NematiQ is an Australian startup that makes graphene nanofiltration membrane technology for water purification. The startup’s patented high-speed layer-by-layer process creates graphene membranes that feature high permeability, tuned molecular weight cut-off, and easy passage of water and salts. The membranes reject larger species such as colors, dissolved organic carbon, viruses, bacteria, and micropollutants. NematiQ’s membrane technology also integrates with existing water treatment processes while lowering capital and operating costs.

Peore makes Nano-Powered Water Purifiers

Indian startup Peore utilizes nanofiltration technology for water purification. It uses an intelligent semi-permeable membrane with a pore size of 0.001 microns, slightly larger than the pore size of reverse osmosis. This allows the membrane to differentiate between contaminants and essential minerals, ensuring mineral-rich water. Peore’s nanofiltration membranes are configurable based on the type of water supply to produce natural spring-like drinking water. Besides, the startup’s Tru-UV technology features a high reflectivity chamber in which water passes through quartz glass to maximize UV exposure. This deactivates bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms.

9. Industrial Internet of Things

As water treatment and management systems become larger and more complex, it becomes increasingly difficult to improve asset management and maintenance. Conventional systems often lack real-time monitoring and control capabilities, leading to suboptimal performance and increased costs. Innovations in IIoT are addressing these issues by integrating sensors, devices, and data analytics into water treatment processes. IIoT enables real-time monitoring of critical parameters such as water quality, flow rates, and equipment performance. This allows for proactive maintenance and efficient resource allocation. Additionally, IIoT platforms enable remote monitoring and control, reducing the need for on-site presence and enabling timely interventions. The data from IoT devices support analysis through advanced algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify patterns, optimize treatment processes, and predict equipment failures.

Alternativ Engineering provides In-Line Sensors for Water Quality Monitoring

Alternativ Engineering is a German startup that develops an in-line water sensor for precise water quality monitoring. The startup’s product, NEREID In-Line, is a multi-parameter sensor that measures selected parameters with high sensitivity. The sensor is highly power-efficient, maintenance-free, and features anti-fouling copper plates. It communicates via RS485, WiFi, and cellular networks, and also leverages machine learning to enhance its water monitoring capabilities. The startup’s technology is applicable in various areas, including smart cities, sewage treatment plants, drinking water, and groundwater.

Water TDS enables Real-time Water Monitoring

WaterTDS is a US-based startup that creates a water quality monitoring solution, TDS Bot. The IoT-based system monitors the quality of water in RO water filter systems and tracks a range of water parameters. This includes incoming and filtered water’s total dissolved solids (TDS), temperature, the volume of water filtered, and flow rate. The system also provides predictive maintenance alerts based on the filter’s performance under operating conditions. Water TDS also provides a companion app and a dashboard that lets utility managers monitor, analyze, and visualize trends in data and changes in water quality metrics over time.

10. Energy-Efficient Integrations

Traditional treatment processes rely on energy-intensive equipment, leading to high operational costs and environmental impact. The industry is leveraging energy-efficient integrations to optimize energy usage and incorporate renewable energy sources. Energy recovery systems, membrane bioreactors, and hybrid treatment processes reduce energy consumption and increase overall efficiency. Integration of renewable energy sources, such as solar and wind power, to run water treatment facilities further reduces dependence on fossil fuels and minimizes greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, smart systems and intelligent control algorithms optimize energy usage by adjusting treatment processes based on real-time energy availability and demand.

LAT Water enables On-Site Clean Water Separation

UK-based startup LAT Water offers an on-site clean water separation solution. The startup’s technology uses a humidification and dehumidification column to separate clean water and recover salts and minerals from complex wastewater streams. Moreover, LAT Water’s water treatment technology provides a sustainable long-term solution for on-site clean water separation through the use of recirculated heat for operation. The startup also provides multi-size solutions to accommodate water treatment requirements in a wide range of application areas. Further, the clean water stream from the system is reusable for agriculture and meets all relevant discharge limits.

Aquature offers Green Hydrogen-powered Water Treatment

Aquature is a UK-based startup that develops a green hydrogen-based energy and water treatment solution. The startup’s bio-electric refinery technology converts the chemical energy in wastewater into green hydrogen and chemicals, while removing CO2. This modular wastewater treatment technology enables over 85% energetic conversion efficiency. Aquature’s technology also combines IoT and AI software for remote operation, providing real-time visibility into system performance, energy production, environmental metrics, and more. Further, the solution captures and purifies carbon dioxide from wastewater treatment, offering options to use it in industrial processes, and produce acetic acid or methanol through hydrogen reaction.

Discover all Water Treatment Trends, Technologies & Startups

Advanced sensor-based water quality monitoring systems are enabling the early detection of contaminants, ensuring prompt and effective treatment. The implementation of modular water treatment systems provides flexibility and scalability, allowing tailored solutions for different applications including access to water treatment in remote regions. Moreover, energy-efficient integrations are significantly reducing energy consumption, making water treatment more sustainable and affordable due to the rising cost of electricity. The Water Treatment Trends & Startups outlined in this report only scratch the surface of trends that we identified during our data-driven innovation & startup scouting process. Identifying new opportunities & emerging technologies to implement into your business goes a long way in gaining a competitive advantage.

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