TRANSFORMATIONAL EUROPEAN COMMISSION GRANT WON BY NOVEL BIOMATERIAL COMPANY CUSTOMEM

Posted: Friday 16th February 2018

€1.4 million grant to accelerate CustoMem’s product to market.

CustoMem, founded in 2015 by two Imperial College London graduates, Henrik
Hagemann and Gabi Santosa, has received a substantial €1.4m (£1.24m) grant
that will accelerate its pilot phase

The award will enable the company to bring its next generation granular
media, optimised to capture and recycle specific challenging micropollutants
found in industrial waste water, to market.

“This is a game-changing grant for us,” explained CustoMem CEO Henrik
Hagemann. “Our products’ superior performance and cost-effectiveness have
been validated in our laboratory and initial trials with clients. This grant
enables us to scale up to industrial pilot trials of greater than 100 m3/day
flow rates.”

“With under 3 percent of all applicants securing a grant, our success
demonstrates confidence in our company, our product and the quality of
CustoMem’s team. As part of the award, we will continue to receive mentoring
from world renowned experts and critical business acceleration services
including linking us to potential customers and investors.”

The award to CustoMem is funded through the Horizon 2020 SME Instrument,
part of the European Innovation Council, supporting top class innovators and
entrepreneurs. Horizon 2020 offers funding and additional support for
breakthrough ideas with the potential to create new markets or revolutionise
existing ones.

CustoMem, based at the Imperial College Innovation Hub in London, has
combined its leading expertise in biomaterials and synthetic biology to
create CGM (CustoMem Granular Media). This novel bio-adsorbent can
selectively capture micropollutants, like Perfluorinated Compounds (PFCs)
from wastewater in standard steel tank processing equipment that provides
significant cost savings to customers compared with traditional adsorbent
materials like anion-exchange media and granular activated carbon.

Captured waste is disposed of safely as CGM can be chemically regenerated
using a non-hazardous proprietary wash whereby the capture pollutants are
removed and safely disposed of or repurposed. Crucially, CGM’s optimised
performance allows faster flowrates and saves floorspace, utilising up to
four times less plant footprint than activated carbon solutions.

CGM is being targeted for use at commercial airports, petrochemical plants
and is particularly relevant to navy and air force bases where Aqueous Film
Forming Foams (AFFFs) for firefighting are indispensable for safety reasons.
However, these AFFFs contain PFCs that are carcinogenic and persistent in
the environment. The CGM product can treat these industries’ industrial
wastewater and help restore legacy contamination sites, thus preventing
leaching into drinking water and agricultural land.

As part of CustoMem’s plans for accelerated commercialisation, CustoMem
receives mentorship from a number of specialists in its field including Dr
Rita Glenne, chief technology officer, Reactive Metal Particles AS; Dr Steve
Gluck, former technology Fellow at Dow Water and Process Solutions and
current scientific advisor to a number of water and wastewater companies; Dr
Steve Colley, former Director of Johnson Matthey Water Technologies; and Dr
Tali Harif, Innovation portfolio manager at Severn Trent Water and
previously head of the water treatment business unit at water and
environmental consultants WRC.

Dr Gluck has just spent eight months working with CustoMem, he said. “I am
hugely impressed with the strength and the commitment which exists within
this young company. CustoMem is now crystalizing its strategy and media
performance for scale-up deployments.”

“We are already undertaking initial testing with a number of companies and
organisations including two commercial European airports,” said CustoMem’s
Henrik Hagemann. “Following this EC grant we are now ready to upscale and
are actively welcoming partners to trial our solution on-site.”




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December 2018

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