Highly sensitive monitoring of water quality
MINT is leveraging a range of innovative sensor products to control and monitor the efficiency and operations of water treatment plants. Because water treatment plants are subject to strict quality regulations, they generally require ongoing process monitoring along with regular water analysis by the operator. Modern water treatment systems are based on large arrays of micro- and ultrafiltration membranes to filter water. If even just a few of these membranes are not functioning properly, it can degrade water output quality significantly. Hence, there is a pressing industry need to be able to reliably and completely monitor the functioning of these filter membranes.
Nanostart Asia has closed its series-A investment in Membrane Instruments and Technology Pte Ltd (MINT) in February 2011, giving it a 18% stake in the company. The investment was done via Nanostart Singapore Early-Stage Venture Fund I.
MINT’s first sensor on the market is the Membrane Integrity Sensor (“MIS”). With this patented technology developed at Nanyang Technological University (“NTU”), MINT is able to characterize the particulate load and fouling propensity of water. The most basic use of this sensor is as a replacement for current turbidity or SDI measurements in water and wastewater treatment plants, to measure water quality. Those current methods are either very insensitive or are not online; they would only provide information once catastrophic problems occur, which might precipitate a shut down on the plant. An online, sensitive method of quality detection could provide a signal to the operator to conduct remedial actions. While the MIS has already been installed in various water and wastewater reclamation plants, the company has a pipeline of further innovative sensor products which are expected to be launched within the next one to three years.
MINT was founded in 2009 as a spin off from Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore’s leading technical university. The technology for MINT’s MIS system was originally developed at Singapore’s world-renowned Nanyang Technological University and has been licensed exclusively to the company.
The vision for the company and Nanostart Asia Pacific’s investment is to become a comprehensive provider of sensor systems and solutions for water treatment plants.