While it is based in Guelph, Ontario, Current Water Technologies Inc. (CWTI) has enjoyed most of its success in foreign markets. The company’s suite of technological solutions have already received attention in many parts of the world; the United States, Saudi Arabia, Japan, and France are current export destinations.
Led by CEO Dr. Gene Shelp, CWTI is an established global leader with two particularly disruptive, state-of-the-art electrochemical water treatment solutions. The first is electro-static deionization (ESD), which is an innovative, cost-effective technology that effectively lowers the concentration of total dissolved solids in water. The second is an ammonia removal technology (AmmEL) system, which removes dissolved ammonia from industrial and municipal water sources and converts it into environmentally-friendly gaseous nitrogen.
Both of these technologies represent proven and highly effective alternatives to biological, ion exchange, and membrane systems. “In particular, ammonia is an important issue that affects industrial and municipal sectors globally,” Shelp says. “Our AmmEL technology, which is an important tool for the comprehensive management and control of ammonia, is attracting the attention of many export markets.”
With recent success in the United States, CWTI’s current focus is on significant opportunities in North America. “The company has identified numerous industrial opportunities that will result in millions of dollars in sales once secured. Application of these innovative solutions to municipal water represents an additional significant economic opportunity,” he says.
“Despite our Canadian roots, CWTI has not yet experienced the same commercial success in Canada,” Dr. Shelp says. “This issue is not unique to our company. The conservative nature of the domestic market remains a common barrier to most if not all water sector companies developing disruptive, innovative technologies.”
Working with WaterTAP to succeed in Canada
In early 2017, Rosemary Niechcial, Managing Director of Waypoint Infrastructure Inc., heard about CWTI through her network. “As a chemical engineer and water treatment consultant, I am continually on the lookout for disruptive technology that could be successful in municipal and industrial markets,” she says.
In summer 2017, Niechcial learned about WaterTAP. “If there was an opportunity to make an impact in the Canadian market, I was told that working with WaterTAP would be a significant resource for expertise and financial support,” she says.
After writing a successful proposal with Shelp, Niechcial was hired through WaterTAP’s Growth Catalyst (formerly Direct Assistance) program to be a consultant for the company. She was hired to research and write a background assessment report of the potential for the industrial and municipal markets in Canada to benefit from disruptive technologies such as those manufactured by CWTI.
Despite the challenges unique to certain provinces and regions, Niechcial determined that CWTI could nonetheless expect successful implementation across Canada.
She identified the various barriers and challenges and recommended a strategy for CWTI to enter the Ontario market first and then use it as a springboard for further expansion.
“The second phase is to actively pursue that strategy, and after experiencing success in Ontario to tackle the rest of the country,” says Niechcial.
“Historically, Canadian water sector innovators have been forced to expend considerable resources succeeding outside of the country before achieving success on home soil,” Shelp says.
“Rosemary’s research initiative, as well as a follow-up Growth Catalyst project, will help to change this cultural tide,” he adds. “This report will help our company to navigate these barriers and successfully rollout our electrochemical technologies in Canada simultaneously with wins elsewhere in the world. WaterTAP has been a critical resource throughout this process.”
Josh Chong is a communications strategist at WaterTAP.