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Saltworks Technologies goes from local startup to multinational company

Posted on February 21, 2019

In the 10 years since winning the New Ventures Competition presented by Innovate BC (one of North America’s largest startup business competitions), Saltworks Technologies has established itself as the leader in integrated water technology—designing, building, and operating full-scale water treatment systems worldwide. Their innovative solutions selectively remove chlorides, enabling water to be recycled and reused.

Starting out with the goal of desalinating seawater to turn it into drinking water, Saltworks has evolved their focus to industrial water treatment, which is a larger, less commoditized $82-billion global market and a greater environmental concern. There is no widely accepted solution in this market due to the very high cost of chemical softening, but Saltworks avoids this cost through the use of innovative technology that treats a variety of types of wastewater including those impaired with organic, hydrocarbons or metals.

The successful commercialization of their technology and widespread positive reception has led to immense growth. In October 2018, the privately-held Canadian corporation expanded to China, opening their headquarters at the International Water Hub in Nanjing, which is set to become the innovation centre for industrial water treatment in the world.

And it doesn’t stop there. Further expansion is in store for the future. Saltworks has now developed battery-grade lithium in a pilot test that executives report is producing lithium carbonate of greater than 99.56% purity. Lithium carbonate is a key raw material for making anodes and electrolytes in lithium-ion battery manufacturing, and as the global mining industry has been unable to keep up with the demand, this development is vital to keep up with the rapid adoption of battery-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles for reducing vehicle emissions. It also could allow for the adoption of large lithium-ion storage batteries for balancing the power supply with power demand for renewable power generation systems, including: solar, wind and tidal power. The process is smart, simple and ultimately, delivers excellent results quickly and Saltworks is now advancing the design of a larger mobile pilot plant for Standard Lithium out of their facility in Richmond, B.C.

Do you see your company following in these footsteps? The New Ventures Competition presented by Innovate BC provides mentorship, business seminars, networking events, recognition and over $275,000 in capital and in-kind business services are awarded to the most promising startups in British Columbia. Applications for the 2019 competition will be open starting March 4th.

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