Water contaminated with persistent and toxic pollutants is one of the world’s most pressing health and environmental concerns. All over the world precious bodies of water are contaminated with micropollutants such as pesticides, pharmaceuticals, and PFAS chemicals. When untreated, these chemicals cause hormonal imbalances, cancer, and birth defects in humans and pose a serious threat to the survival of our ecosystems.
In addressing this global crisis, Oxyle AG, an advanced wastewater treatment and monitoring solution provider, is announcing a CHF 2.8 million pre-seed funding round to bring to market their mission of improving the health of our precious bodies of water and protecting ecosystems against micropollutants. The funding round was led by Wingman Ventures with participation from SOSV, Better Ventures, and another.vc. Including this round, with pre-seed non-dilutive funds and grants raised last year, Oxyle has raised over CHF 7 million in total.
Founded in 2020, Oxyle has developed a sustainable and scalable technology that destroys a wide range of micropollutants including the forever chemicals such as PFAS, pharmaceuticals, hormones, pesticides etc. from contaminated wastewater. Oxyle’s novel treatment process is driven by their nanoporous catalysts that oxidise and eliminate micropollutants, down to detection limits of 1 ng/L, even for the highly persistent compounds that are resistant to existing treatments. This treatment process is coupled with Oxyle’s proprietary analytics technology that allows for real-time monitoring of micropollutants, a truly unique and much-needed offering that helps customers comply with their strict discharge regulations. The aim is to install remotely operated modular, decentralised reactors of varying sizes to meet customer needs from chemical industries, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and environmental remediation projects.
The core technology behind this game changing innovation was developed over 5 years by Oxyle’s CEO and co-founder, Dr. Fajer Mushtaq, during her doctoral research at ETH Zurich that commenced in 2014. Together with Dr. Silvan Staufert, the concept of a novel catalyst for micropollutant degradation was built into a scalable technology platform that is able to address the problem where it matters: at the source, before they enter waterways. Oxyle has successfully completed several paid pilots with industrial and municipal customers, advanced its technology to TRL8 through on-site demonstrations, and grown to a team of 17 people. Oxyle’s team of water experts possess strong expertise in developing and implementing advanced water treatment and monitoring solutions for its customers.
Dr. Fajer Mushtaq, CEO and Co-founder of Oxyle AG commented: “We are living in an era where we face several existential crises on a daily basis and lack of clean, pollutant-free water is one of them. At Oxyle, we are bringing market-disruptive solutions that remove and detect micropollutants in an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable manner for our industrial and municipal customers. We are exploiting new market drivers such as stricter regulations and growing public pressure to expand our operations in attractive market segments and help a diverse portfolio of global customers. We are excited to work in close partnership with our investors, customers, regulators and partners as we prepare for the market entry of our latest product, our batch treatment system.”
Dr. Silvan Staufert CTO and Co-founder of Oxyle AG commented: “Flexibility is at the heart of our technology since its conceptualization. Key performance metrics such as ease of use, energy efficiency and treatment decentralisation were always in the focus. With our scalable technology platform we provide both efficient treatment and monitoring solutions and are ideally positioned to tackle this problem wherever it comes up. Building on the success of our ongoing customer pilots where we have shown removal of PFAS to below detection limit. We are building on this momentum to provide products that protect our health and the environment from these toxic forever chemicals.
At present, 80% of the world’s wastewater is discharged in rivers, lakes and groundwater bodies without receiving any treatment. Rapid industrialization and growing demand for better consumer goods means ever increasing discharge of toxic pollutants into effluents and a strain on our freshwater resources. In the last few years, incredible advances have been made in the field of water analysis allowing regulators to detect very low concentrations of pollutants in water. Moreover, regulators now have a much better understanding of how toxic and problematic even very low concentrations of micropollutants are for humans and our ecosystems. Just this year, EPA’s health advisory level for PFOA (chemical used in the production of waterproof clothes, teflon, cosmetics etc.) was drastically lowered from 400 ppt (ng/L) in 2009 to 0.004 ppq (pg/L), a 100,000x stricter level due to the danger these chemicals pose to humans when consumed.
These market drivers and the lack of effective solutions, have created the perfect opportunity for Oxyle to bring our innovative treatment and monitoring solution to market and fill the much needed void. The proceeds from the funds raised in our round will be used to strengthen our team with upscaling capacities, expand our customer portfolio into attractive market segments, build partnerships to enter new locations, and most importantly, to bring our first product to market next year.
Alex Stöckl, founding partner at Wingman Ventures, commented: “Solving our global water crisis has never been more urgent. Our freshwater resources are depleting at alarming rates and toxic micropollutants in water lead to severe damages in our health and environment. New regulations will demand companies to act. But additionally, we need to use sustainable technology to protect our precious water resources for us, and our future generations. We are proud to support Oxyle on their journey to address our global water problem in order to give everyone access to clean water.”
Pae Wu, general partner at SOSV, commented: “The pervasive and hidden problem of forever chemicals and other diverse pollutants in our drinking water demands urgent action. Oxyle’s technology directly attacks the hardest challenges to deploying a real solution at scale – by volume, by cost, and at the parts per trillion (and below) levels that are necessary to make a meaningful impact on our health. We are thrilled to make this investment in Dr. Mushtaq and her team to get this much-needed technology into the market to solve this major challenge to our right to clean drinking water.”
Currently, discharge regulations are based upon the Best Available Treatment (BAT) standards. Oxyle’s technology has demonstrated removal of even the most persistent compounds like PFAS to below detection limits of 1 ng/L, a BAT standard that is 10-100x lower than our competitors. We truly believe that the best approach to solving the global water contamination crisis is to implement stricter pollutant discharge regulations that are realistic to achieve by solution providers. Our long-term vision is to work closely with customers and regulators to set new discharge regulations and support a wide range of customers in developed and developing nations against the negative impact of micropollutants.
Empowering our end-users with an efficient technology supported by real-time treatment monitoring performance, while allowing them to reuse treated water and lowering CO2 emissions in customers’ value chains are core components of Oxyle’s long-term mission.