Aug 08, 2013

Porifera Signs Forward Osmosis Agreement With Woongjin Chemical

The partnership is Porifera's first major investment

Porifera Inc. a Silicon Valley startup focused on developing advanced membranes for water treatment, announced that it has closed Series A financing and a development, manufacturing and commercialization agreement with Woongjin Chemical Co. of South Korea. The investment gives Porifera the ability to market, manufacture and sell its forward osmosis (FO) products at high volume, while also gaining access to Woongjin’s global sales and marketing channels.

“We are very impressed with Porifera’s FO membrane performance,” said Chankoo Park, Woongjin CEO. “It is clearly one of the highest performing FO membranes available today. The Woongjin‐Porifera partnership will jointly allow us to become the leading suppliers of FO membranes to customers worldwide.”

Porifera’s FO membrane has two to three times higher flux and lower salt passage than today’s commercially available cellulose acetate FO membranes. They are effective in treating challenging waters that foul most membranes.

Woongjin and Porifera anticipate these membranes will open up large markets, particularly in Asia, for cost effective treatment of highly fouling industrial waste waters. There is also a significant North American market opportunity for treatment of high fouling waters resulting from hydraulic fracturing.

Porifera demonstrated the effectiveness of its membranes through continuous long‐term testing under the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) program. Porifera’s membranes were able to treat “challenge” water created by DARPA—containing silt, dust, organic matter and other particulates designed for the express purpose of fouling the membranes. Despite DARPA’s efforts to compromise the membranes, Porifera’s system ran continuously with virtually no flux decline over the duration of the tests.

“The Woongjin investment is a huge vote of confidence for bringing this disruptive technology into the commercial mainstream,” said Olgica Bakajin, CEO of Porifera.”It is the first major commercial investment into FO by one of the top tier membrane manufacturers. We are very excited about our partnership with Woongjin and anticipate significant growth over the coming years.”