ioteq.jpgAustralian company Ioteq has revealed a new technology that it says will sanitize water with one of the most environmentally responsible systems around.

The technology, called Isan, and revealed at last week’s AlwaysOn Venture Summit in Monterey, Calif., uses iodine instead of chlorine to clean water. Since iodine is less corrosive than the commonly used chlorine filtration process, it’s more environmentally friendly.
Further, Isan recycles iodine for use in subsequent filtrations.

Isan can be used for things like post-harvest fruit and vegetable sanitation, food processing, and waste water recycling. Ioteq has already proven the system’s viability in 150 installations in Australia and New Zealand — mostly for water recycling in agricultural environments. Water recycling was previously unfeasible because chlorine filtration requires the dumping of waste water. Ioteq says it is targeting both government and private industries with its technology.

The Isan system collects all the iodine byproducts after disinfection and loses only about two percent of the iodine between filtrations. The company says the system has several other advantages over chlorine systems. Isan works in a large variety of PHs, while chlorine is limited to a small spectrum. Iodine also has a higher kill rate on bacteria and fungi compared to chlorine. Isan also converts all captured by-products back into the original iodine, providing a closed-loop process.

However, iodine is not the only alternative to chlorine. Other water-cleaning companies use ozone and peroxyacid, and each carry their pros and cons. See our coverage of Livermore, Calif.’s Novazone, which uses ozone, for example, and which claims ozone is preferred to other disinfectants.

Ioteq has been self funded with $6 million and is seeking $5 million in VC funding from Silicon Valley firms. The company says it’s ready to bring its product to the U.S.–with California as its first market–as soon as it receives U.S. government regulatory approval and VC funding.

California’s agricultural producers use anywhere from 250 to 500 thousand gallons of water per day without the ability to recycle that water. Given California’s great water dependence, Ioteq CEO Jared Franks expects California to be lucrative.

Franks says Ioteq also has plans to enter third-world markets to provide clean water to devastated regions. He notes the technology would not only help improve water supply but would provide the ability to add iodine into the supply in areas where iodine deficiencies lead to birth defects, mental retardation, and other health problems.