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Report: Investment Increasing In Water Technologies

Water pouring into a glass (Greg Riegler/Flickr)A new report by the London Environmental Investment Forum says venture capital (VC) investors are showing more interest in technologies related to water used in extractive industries, such as oil, gas, and mining. The report, “Water Innovation in Extractive Industries,” can be downloaded from the organization’s Web site.

London Environmental Investment Forum is owned and managed by Carbon International, a consulting firm in communications and fund-raising serving the environmental and clean-tech industries. Tom Whitehouse, the Forum’s chair and CEO of Carbon International, says in the report’s introduction that investor interest in water technologies is a result of issues related to water that extractive industries need to address.

Public water authorities, responsible for delivering safe drinking water to local or regional populations, have neither the resources nor the innovative mindset to address these needs, notes Whitehouse, which previously turned off private-sector investors. “This is changing as investors switch on to the water needs of the oil, gas and mining sectors,” says Whitehouse,  “where water problems stand in the way of profits and water regulators are more of a spur to innovation than an inhibitor.”

The Forum’s report says that in the past five years, 18 companies have raised more than $400 million in equity and debt for water-related technologies, with most of that activity taking place in North America. The report identifies a few VC funds taking early positions in this sector, notably Energy Ventures, XPV Capital, Meidelinger Partners, and Enertech Capital. The document also highlights venture divisions of energy companies investing in water processes: Teck Resources, Cenovus Energy, BASF Venture Capital, and Total Energy Ventures.

Among the water management and processing functions cited in the report that these new technologies address are reservoir monitoring, contaminates removal, wastewater treatment, desalination, filtration, and reduced water usage.

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Photo: Greg Riegler/Flickr

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