Water quality is making the headlines again recently, with a boil notice issued for 65,000 households across areas of south Dublin and north Wicklow last month.

Meanwhile, a local company’s innovative technology can take water from any source and make it safe for human consumption.

H2Ozone, based in north Wicklow, has two products which remove impurities from rainwater, well water and other sources. RainSafe renders water to drinkable standard and AgriSafe is a solution for the livestock, hydroponics and food processing industries.

Executive chairman Paul O’Grady says H2Ozone’s products are unique in the market.

While there are systems that have a UV standalone system or filtration, he says H2Ozone can guarantee to remove all pathogens and bacteria from the water and without using chemicals.

Set up in 2011, H2Ozone was reborn with new investment in 2016. The company’s big break came in October 2017 when US water technology firm Xylem signed a deal to take 1,500 units in 2018.

This is break-even for it as a company, Mr O’Grady said. The partnership is a mutually beneficial arrangement as Xylem supplies H2Ozone with the pump and controller for their systems.

A contract with global electronics manufacturer Flextronics will allow H2Ozone to easily scale up its output and was a crucial factor in securing the Xylem deal, Mr O’Grady says.

The RainSafe system is a solution for residential, corporate, and the medical and hospitality sectors.

Mr O’Grady said: “The overall strapline is that it can take water from any source and treat it chemically free to better than bottled water. How it does that is there’s a series of pre-filtrations, there is a patented UV process, and there’s a patented ozone process to ensure the water stays pathogens and bacteria free.”

While the RainSafe system includes an outbound filter which destructs the ozone on the way out, Mr O’Grady says the AgriSafe product doesn’t have the destruct process because they’ve discovered through testing that ozonated water fed in the right doses to livestock can eliminate the need for antibiotics.

This equates to a significant financial gain for farmers. Farmers in the livestock, poultry, pig and dairy industries can pay back their investment in the AgriSafe system in 12 to 18 months, he says.

“We sold about 150 units to farms in 2017. To give you an idea of scale we would be extremely disappointed if we don’t go up by a multiple of 10 times in 2018, and we’re on target already for that.”

The recent boil notice was followed by another warning to households in parts of Meath not to drink or wash with tap water because of excessive levels of chlorine present in the water.

Mr O’Grady says that in either of those circumstances, the RainSafe system would have solved the problem.

The H2Ozone system has gone through extensive testing, including 25,000 independent tests with bodies including Trinity College, University of Exeter and Bristol University. Its products have certification from the European body Kiwa and France’s ACS. Mr O’Grady says the most significant tests were with the University of San Diego where the ability of H2Ozone’s products to eliminate cryptosporidium was proven.

“We put through two million of them in a scientific environment through our system and fed it to lab rats afterwards, and there was no problem. And they verified that the water was better than bottled water.”

A total of €12m has been invested in H2Ozone so far. Funding from Enterprise Ireland and a European grant in 2016 for a specific project carried out with the University of Exeter have been “significant” for the company, Mr O’Grady says.

The future of global water supply is a pressing concern, and H2Ozone has been involved in various NGO projects, delivering standalone solar-powered units to provide clean, safe water to schools in Nepal and areas in Syria.

Source: Irish Examiner