Purifying wastewater with less energy and cost
Share this story

Canadians are the second largest users of water in the world, behind only Americans. Statistics Canada says Canadian households used 3.2 billion cubic metres of water in 2013 (or about 249 litres per person per day), and the majority of that water is simply flushed down the drain.

Queen’s University researcher Philip Jessop is using advanced technologies and materials to develop a low-energy and cost-effective process to purify agricultural and municipal wastewater. The method uses captured energy from waste heat emissions to power the purification process. Jessop’s work builds on a previous project where he developed a method to purify industrial wastewater.

His intellectual property was licensed from Queen’s by GreenCentre Canada (GCC), a Kingston-based technology and business accelerator focused on green chemistry and materials-science innovations, and formed the company, Forward Water Technologies.

Jessop is collaborating with other industry partners, including Hatch and Kingston Utilities, as well as professors Michael Cunningham (Chemical Engineering) and Pascale Champagne (Civil Engineering), to develop the technology for commercial use. The new technology will be designed to ensure it has the capability to take water that is heavily polluted and make it safe for drinking.

"At present, industrial methods to produce drinking water from sea water or agricultural waste water are very costly – both in energy and in dollars. In our process you can use waste heat – such as the energy lost as heat from a factory or industrial plant – as the primary energy source for our process instead of electricity. For electricity, you will pay top dollar. If you can use waste heat, you may wind up using the same amount of energy, but in terms of dollars spent you’re using a lot less.”
Philip Jessop 
Queen's University chemistry professor 
More Stories
Challenging students to create community-specific solutions
Partnering to increase the safety of first responders
Improving police response to people with mental-health issues