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Start-up to bring affordable desalination and clean water to global markets

The challenge:

Dr. Philip Jessop

Dr. Philip Jessop

(Photo: Greg Black, Queen’s University)

Dr. Philip Jessop is a green chemistry superstar who creates new processes with the potential to eliminate pollution, desalinate water and save manufacturers money. But there is a long, challenging road between success in the lab and success in the marketplace. As a result, too many promising technologies make for stellar scientific papers that never translate into marketable solutions.

How one CECR is responding:

Dr. Jessop’s latest breakthrough was a process that can increase or decrease the salinity of a salt solution. GreenCentre Canada saw the potential to build on this process to create an affordable, energy-efficient and sustainable desalination process. Its hands-on approach to commercialization included: testing and validating the technology; assessing its cost benefits to quantitatively demonstrate a business opportunity; protecting the intellectual property; and connecting with potential investors. That sweat equity paid off in 2012 with the launch of Forward Water Technologies, and the signing of a multinational water technology company as its first investor.

“Having all these competencies under one roof is unique to GreenCentre. We have cross-functioning teams that work in tandem so that we can constantly refine the financial model, improve our communications collateral around it, and polish the business plan so we can take it to markets and capitalize the company. We put meat on the bones of a good discovery. That’s our secret sauce.”
Dr. Rui Resendes, Executive Director, GreenCentre Canada

What our partners are saying:

“There are many practical issues that have to be overcome before turning a lab-bench discovery into an accepted industrial process. That’s where GreenCentre Canada comes in. They have proven experience in developing these technologies into real business opportunities. They did it with Forward Water Technologies and they did it with Switchable Solutions Inc., which was also based on my research.”
Dr. Philip Jessop, Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry, Queen’s University, and Technical Director, GreenCentre Canada

“Our company’s rapid development is a testament to the value of GreenCentre’s business model. The centre helped move Switchable Solutions from the pure research stage to the applied development stage. In 2012, Switchable Solutions partnered with leading firms in the energy sector to accelerate development of its ground-breaking solvent technology, which aims to provide a less expensive, energy-efficient and environmentally friendly alternative for extracting bitumen from oil sands. We have completed equity, debt and grant financings enabling several applications within the energy sector to be developed.  Our commercial, technical and financial achievements were recently recognized by Corporate Knights Inc., who named Switchable Solutions one of Canada’s top 10 promising clean tech start-ups.”
Mark Badger, President and CEO, Switchable Solutions