nanobOx develops groundbreaking water treatment technology that will cut aquaculture costs

nanobOx, Founder and CEO, Dr John Favier with Co-Founder Dr Mohammad Ghaani,

A groundbreaking new energy-efficient technology that adds oxygen to water using nanobubbles is set to be a game changer for fish farmers and those working in the aquaculture sector.

nanobOx, founded by Dr John Favier and Dr Mohammad Ghaani, has patented pioneering water treatment technology that will increase productivity and reduce energy when aerating water by generating nano-sized bubbles from ambient air. This maintains oxygen levels in water for much longer and at much less energy cost than conventional methods of aeration.

As John explains: “In land-based aquaculture, the energy cost of oxygenation is often the second highest operating expense after feed. Water aeration consumes about 2% of global electricity production, and equipment for aerating and oxygenating water is a multi-billion-dollar market.”

“What we have developed is a low energy water aeration technology with the potential to significantly cut energy bills. The nanobubble generators we have developed can be solar or battery-powered and have no moving parts, so they are easy to clean and maintain. In addition, the technology is highly scalable and can oxygenate water at high flowrates.”

“Maintaining the level of dissolved oxygen in water is a costly and critical component, not just for aquaculture, but also for agriculture, wastewater treatment, and environmental remediation, so there is a potential huge market for this new technology.” said John.

nanobOx was part of the 2022 BIM Aquatech Innovations Studio Programme, run by Hatch Blue. Even though John is experienced in starting companies, he said the Innovation Studio Lab was a huge help in developing the business and gave him a great education in aquaculture.

“We learned a lot about the challenges and market drivers for aquaculture producers in different market segments. The Aquatech Innovations Studio also operates like an accelerator: they helped us identify and qualify our value proposition; they showed us how our technology can increase profitability and sustainability; and they gave us the opportunity to pitch our ideas and develop our business strategy for aquaculture.”

The networking and connections we made at the Innovations Studio are still benefitting nanobOx. “I am still in touch with many of the companies we connected with, and with the experts from BIM and Hatch Blue, who put us through our paces during the two-week programme.”

“It really helped us to think about our business beyond Ireland. The Irish market has good potential for growth but is still quite small, and our aquaculture business will be export driven. We are looking at big markets in Europe, North America and Asia.”

nanobOx, which is a spin out from UCD, is currently in the process of closing its first investment round, having attracted interest from leading agritech and deep-tech venture capital investors. “The investment will fund field trials of our technology”, says John. “Following completion of the trials, we will be seeking further investment to fund our go-to-market and further product development.”

“We will begin our trials with Goatsbridge Trout Farm in Co. Kilkenny and Connemara Abalone in Galway in the coming months.  There are also plans for further trials in Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and Norway.”

While nanobOx technology will be developed and manufactured in Ireland, it expects to generate most of its revenue through exports, so its business development, marketing and sales operation will be international. John says that they will be going to market by next spring/summer.