Lincoln Ventures, a technology company owned by Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand, plans to offer a revolutionary new device that will allow industrial and wastewater treatment plants to rapidly test toxicity levels in discharges and provide a new level of environmental protection.
At the Water Industry Operations Group conference in Queenstown, Dr. Neil Pasco, manager of the Biosensor Research Program at Lincoln Ventures, announced plans to launch a new rapid testing instrument to the international wastewater industry.
Safeguarding communities from accidental or deliberate release of contaminants into water, such as industrial waste or hazardous chemicals, is an increasing concern worldwide, as the presence of toxins in wastewater poses a danger to both the plant and to the wider environment.
Wastewater treatment plants rely on measurements of toxicity and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) to assess the efficiency of treatment and the impact of discharge into receiving waters. However, the current measurement technologies are unacceptably slow. For example, the standard BOD test takes 5-days, and there has been a race to develop a much faster process. Lincoln Ventures’ new toxicity testing device will provide results in just five minutes allowing operators to make changes promptly.
At the conference Dr. Pasco explained that the patented technology, which has been under development for several years, is being combined with new advances in electrochemical biosensors and analytical capability to bring to market the small reasonably priced device. He confirmed that field testing of the instrument will start shortly in wastewater plants in New Zealand, Australia, the U.S. and Germany. It will be widely available in 2008.
Graeme Robertson, CEO of Lincoln Ventures, said, “This is an excellent example of sound research which will benefit not only New Zealand, but the wastewater industry worldwide. Sales over the next five years are projected to exceed NZ$15m (US$11m).”
“This will be the first instrument in what will eventually be a range of toxicity testing solutions being produced by Lincoln Ventures under the SciTOX brand,” said Robertson. “The market for BOD and toxicity measurement solutions is considerable, with current testing costing an estimated $6 billion per annum worldwide.”
Lincoln Ventures’ new products are the result of research funded by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST).”