Clean, safe drinking water is scarce in the developing world. Over a billion people lack access and 2.6 billion lack adequate sanitation. In the developed world, water is often used inefficiently or wasted and water treatment is expensive and highly energy intensive. The result is a global water crisis adversely affecting almost half of the world’s population – and the environment.
As a former farmer and cattle rancher, Greg Ryan has worked with the limitations of water for most of his life. While tinkering with a self-constructed hydro-electric plant, Ryan came up with an idea for disinfecting water while simultaneously creating renewable energy. Ryan brought the idea to his son and together they founded Pasteurization Technology Group. The company’s patented technology uses the natural by-product of wastewater treatment – heat – to power a turbine that generates energy for the plant’s electrical needs. In turn, the hot exhaust air from the turbine, which is typically lost, is used to disinfect or pasteurize the wastewater stream. In a final step, the heat from the disinfected water pre-heats untreated water, cutting down on the energy required for pasteurization. In one day these efficiencies enable PTG to cut costs, reduce energy use, and sanitize up to 200 million gallons of water without using chlorine or other toxic chemicals.
Plants in California and Florida are already using PTG’s technology, and in developing countries like India and China, where accessible clean water is a barrier to growth, the market is significant. There is opportunity for the technology in applications such as irrigation and recharging aquifers, which are being overdrawn across the globe. With a price point starting at just $500,000, the company is also getting inquiries from breweries, snack-food companies, and aquariums. PTG is getting a lot of industry recognition and EIC Ventures just invested $1 million into the company last winter. PTG is planning for growth and using the money to expand sales and engineering talent.