BioLargo, Inc. (OTC: BLGO) held its third annual “AOS technical symposium” last month, hosting a group of scientists, collaborators, water industry experts, and government representatives, according to a recent post on the company blog. Prior AOS symposiums have updated stakeholders on the company’s progress with their innovative technologies for high performance, low cost, water treatment. Held at the University of Alberta and a nearby conference center, this year was different because it included commercial validation trial results with actual wastewater provided by prospective clients.
Once again BioLargo scientists showcased extraordinary performance data from its Advanced Oxidation System (AOS). The event highlighted data compiled with a leading water engineering firm as well as proof-of-claim studies conducted by internal team members and independent researchers from North America and Europe. More than 30 scientists and collaborators were a part of these studies, all of which were funded in part by the company’s public funding portfolio, which includes 35 Canadian and US government grants. BioLargo management also commented that many of these studies are planned to be included in scientific journal publications in the future.
The Enormous Need For Clean and Safe Water
To understand the significance of these validated results, it is important to recognize that as much as existing water treatment technologies have great value and have saved millions of lives, they are still in many ways insufficient because often they fall short of their objective to provide clean and safe water. For example, after examining data from more than 36,000 water samples collected nationwide by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from 2013 to 2015, Harvard researchers found unsafe levels of toxic chemicals in the drinking water of 33 states. In 2016, a USA Today Investigation reported that after analyzing samples from 2012 through 2015, unsafe levels of lead were found in drinking water samples in all 50 States.
Global Water Intelligence estimates the annual global water market to be $862 billion. Goldman Sachs calls water “the petroleum for the next century” adding, “investors who know how to play the infrastructure boom will reap huge rewards.” With global water consumption doubling every 20 years, they predict that by 2025 about one third of the global population will not have access to adequate drinking water.
On August 1, 2016, the EPA increased fines for clean water violations. Regulators hope that the increased fines will help make compliance a priority. As violations trigger steeper penalties and fines, and in some cases, criminal prosecution, the motivation to adopt high performance clean water technologies such as the AOS is likely to increase.
BioLargo’s AOS Outperformed Current Best in Class Water Treatment Systems
The most attention-getting results at the symposium came with the AOS performance data for treating problematic industrial water samples that was done in collaboration with an independent and leading water engineering firm. The team tested wastewater from a poultry processing facility, a dairy farm, and a major west coast wastewater treatment facility. These industry-provided waste waters were then treated with a bench-scale AOS system conducted by the independent engineering firm. The results were highly promising with the AOS system consistently outperforming disinfection rates of the current best-in-class water treatment systems, including UV and ozone.
Result were also shared at the symposium that show the AOS can eliminate some difficult-to-treat micro pollutants, including pharmaceutical residues that are a growing concern the world over. According to the Scientific American, “Although millions of people flush unused medications down the toilet and discharge them in bodily waste, sewage treatment plants and septic systems are not required to deal with such contaminants and this may be contaminating the drinking water of 40 million Americans.”
Promising proof-of-claim results were also presented for the concurrent removal of BOD (Biological Oxygen Demand) with high-level disinfection, a remarkable and rare value proposition for advanced oxidation water treatment technologies.
Flexible Designs for the AOS Advanced Water Treatment System
BioLargo also presented images of two future designs highlighting a fluidized bed (low-pressure, low-footprint), as well as an array configuration of AOS columns to manage large volumes of water based on the current column design used in testing.
One of the highlights of the symposium was the demonstration of what the company called the “Mini-AOS” – a small solar power water purification unit. The World Health Organization claims more than 2.1 billion people lack safe drinking water at home. If put into production this invention has the potential to save countless lives and make clean drinking water available at affordable prices. The AOS-Mini was presented to the attendees to demonstrate the incredibly low power required to run the AOS as well as the flexible design choices available for the system.
Large Array AOS Scalable to 500 GPM (left) and Fluidized Bed, Low-Pressure Low-Footprint AOS System for Large Volumes (below)
We asked BioLargo’s President & CEO, Dennis P. Calvert to help elaborate on the significance of the results and what they mean for the company. He stated, “Our AOS features extremely high oxidation potential as well as extremely high reduction in a single continuous pass. The electro chemical reaction of the AOS produces extremely high rates of disinfection, which have been called ‘unprecedented’, while requiring very low levels of energy. This translates to a water treatment system with low operating expenses for eliminating hard-to-manage contaminants. Its high reduction functionality also means that it can potentially also be used to recover and remove valuable waste stream components for re-use. Our work in this area is continuing. We project that the capital cost of building AOS units for clients will compete favorably when compared with similar technologies like carbon towers, ozone or UV. So, the AOS will get the job done, while saving our customers money. Extracting valuable waste stream components could add a whole new valuable revenue stream for the AOS. While there is engineering work to do, the results prove that the AOS works. It can do what other technologies cannot, and it can save clients real money. This combination of features makes the AOS a winner!”
With critical commercial validation studies completed, BioLargo reports they are now ready to begin working with engineers, strategic partners and customers to build commercial pilot prototypes. According to Calvert, “Stay tuned for more information as the company pushes ahead in these areas”.
The company’s Chief Science Officer, Kenneth R. Code pointed out, “With continued validation from academics and in close collaboration with water engineers in North America, our science is continually proving effective and that it can offer a low-cost alternative to incumbent technologies. Data continue to point to the AOS as one of the best in class water treatment solution. We are poised to advance our system with engineering for commercial on-site trials.”