Water Standard Company Secures $250 M for Eco-friendly Desalination Process
Water Standard Company (WSC) recently announced that it has received commitments of up to $250 million in equity to develop its Seawater Desalination Vessels, whose environmentally focused technology may help ease the world's growing water crisis and bring needed water to disaster-stricken areas.
This pledge of equity, believed to be the largest initial funding of a startup in the water industry, is unprecedented in the desalination sector. It gives WSC the capability to bring proven desalination processes -- which can produce up to 300,000 cubic meters of water per day on the ocean-going Seawater Desalination Vessels -- to a worldwide market.
WSC's technologies contrast with conventional land-based desalination plants, whose potential negative effects on the oceans have drawn concern from environmentalists. These technologies include water intake and discharge systems that minimize impact on marine organisms and were specifically designed to preserve the ocean's ecological balance.
Using on-board power generation that can provide environmental and cost advantages while being independent of a land-based power grid, WSC offers a drought-proof, renewable source of water. Additionally because the mobile vessels are located offshore, they can be rapidly deployed to help manage emergency water shortages -- such as those caused by droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes, or tsunamis.
Amanda Brock, Chief Executive Officer, said the funding "sends a strong message that our vessel-based technology and environmentally focused approach is a powerful alternative in efforts to address a true global challenge."
"We have the technology in both water and wastewater treatment and are building an experienced team of leaders in their field." she said. "Now we have the financial resources necessary to penetrate this market. We are excited about the fact that we were able to secure a commitment of this size which enables us as a new company to focus on growth rather than continuous fundraising. Our financial partners are well connected globally and are very experienced in infrastructure development. Together we look forward to rapidly securing contracts and developing a fleet of vessels to be deployed around the globe."
Important aspects of WSC's technology include a water intake system that minimizes impingement and entrainment of marine organisms and whose outfall systems ensure concentrate discharge will be diluted with ambient seawater, dramatically reducing the salinity and keeping the exit water the same temperature as the sea surface to minimize impact on marine life.
Although relatively new to the market, the Seawater Desalination Vessels are gaining positive responses from technical and environmental experts as well as the financial community.
Judges at the 2007 GWI Global Water Awards honored the vessels for innovation, calling them "an important new direction in the evolution of the desalination industry." Dr. George N. Somero, director of the Hopkins Marine Station at Stanford, said they promise to "help solve a major human problem -- providing pure water to communities in great need of this resource -- without inflicting damage on the marine environment."
With the ability to offer either a variety of short- or long-term contracts, WSC is already in negotiations with various interested parties in many parts of the globe, including the Middle East, China, Australia, and the United States and is actively seeking local partners.