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A scalable, low cost solution for healthy mineralization of drinking water

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - WMT (A scalable, low cost solution for healthy mineralization of drinking water)

Reporting period: 2019-08-01 to 2019-11-30

Water is essential to life, regulating metabolism of living organisms. Ensuring access to an adequate supply of safe drinking-water has a primary objective of protecting human health. Water usage is increasing at twice the rate of population growth, and by 2050 over half the world’s people will face a life of water scarcity. In response to this threat, the use of recovered/recycled waters, harvested rainwater and particularly desalinated waters has become increasingly critical to survival. These sources require purification, the vital process of removing toxins, pathogens, suspended solids and gases to render such water sources fit for human consumption. However, in the process of purifying and disinfecting water, essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium are also removed, resulting in demineralized “empty” water. The World Health Organization (WHO)/Europe has investigated the health effects of drinking demineralized water since 1980. Its studies conclude that not only does demineralized water have unsatisfactory taste properties, but it also has profound, direct adverse impact on animal and human health.
Water is not considered a major source of minerals, but it should be: the bioavailability of magnesium dissolved in water is 12 times higher than in solid tablets/capsule, and water mineralized with calcium assists in reaching the recommended dairy serving. Mineral-rich water can contribute to calcium and magnesium intake, better hydration, balance and overall nutrition.
At Watefy, we have invented a novel technology that enables the cost-effective, energy efficient addition of calcium and magnesium bicarbonates to water at any scale, solving the issues outlined above. The importance of the supply calcium and magnesium in the bicarbonate form could not be overestimated: bicarbonates improve the minerals absorption by body, and balance body acidity. We undertook a full feasibility study of our water mineralization technology (WMT) to review the technical and business strategies for its successful commercialization.
The project highlighted the Watefy’s technology’s substantial potential owing to its adaptability in creating different products and satisfying market demand across multiple verticals. Impactful growth strongly depends on our ability to apply the technology to create a range of complementary products that fit a logical technology growth curve. During the assessment, we developed a product optimization plan that prepares our technology for 3 main verticals: re-mineralization of desalinated water, man-made mineral bottled water and point of use home appliances. To penetrate these markets, we will build partnerships with suitable companies with expertise and networks to ease market entry.
As our revolutionary technology can be used in several different use cases, the commercial feasibility highlighted a large market opportunity. The analysis confirmed the need for a global approach to commercialization but highlighted Israel and Europe as particularly strong prospects. The diversity of these markets results in a diversity in potential customers. We developed an understanding of these customers, their needs and an understanding of their willingness to pay. The competition analysis showed our product excels in each of the use cases, due to its uniqueness in highest quality achieved at extremely low cost, the equipment modularity enabling application at any scale and the novelty in harnessing supercavitation -related effects that enables both calcium and magnesium mineralization at any scale cost-effectively for the first time ever.
During the feasibility study we developed a sound product development plan. The outcome of our planned optimization innovation project will be deep understanding of all chemical and physical processes and the realization of the equipment configurations for scaled systems. Optimization will take place in our lab through a range of the design validation tests at progressively higher flow rates (0.01-0.5cu.m/h and upscaled to 2-4cu.m/h). These pilot lab tests will serve to optimize the physical and chemical processes characteristics like kinetics, energy and materials consumption in each process (carbonation, mineralization, degassing) and subsequently achieve the optimal performance of the entire installation working continuously at scale. This will be followed by a demonstration pilot project at a desalination plant and will significantly close he knowledge gap to create modules for flow rates suitable for water bottle plants. The optimization process also closes the knowledge gap to miniaturize the technology to develop product applications such as point of use home appliances.
The exploitation of our core technology to create novel mineralization technologies across a range of different market segments has wide potential impact. There is no current technology that can effectively mineralize water with both calcium and magnesium, two vital essential minerals.
Gastric ulcers are associated with drinking water with low mineral content. The consequence of long-term calcium deficiency is a decrease in bone mineral content, resulting in weaker bones and ultimately an increased risk of fracture. Magnesium deficiency has been implicated in hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes, some types of cancer, mental illness and children development. WHO recommends a minimum of 20mg/l and an optimum of about 40-80mg/l of calcium and 20-30 mg/l for magnesium in drinking water for a maximum beneficial health effect. The WHO also states that calcium and magnesium water may provide up to 20% of the required total daily intake. It is estimated that about 20 million or more lives can be saved every year by mineralization or other enrichment of drinking water, particularly through addition of magnesium compounds.
The commercialization of our technology will help towards ensuring the availability of man-made mineralized water for the first time. This highly novel technology will bring jobs and transform Watefy from a R&D start-up to a successful SME.
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