2020 Q3 CM Venture Capital Newsletter
Tetrels - Graphene-Enhanced Ultrafiltration
With the increase in urbanization, industrialization, and awareness about wastewater reuse, rapid industrialization is propelling the growth of the huge market of wastewater treatment. CM Venture Capital invested in Tetrels focusing on the development of a new generation of water treatment membrane products, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis, and oil-water separation membranes, based on proprietary functionalized nanographene nanomaterial technology.
Tetrels Technology Corporation was founded in Colorado in 2016 and started operation in New Jersey from early 2018. The technology has been developed by founder Dr. Kunzhou Li and his lab at Seoul University for 10 years. With CM Venture Capital's investment, Tetrels headquarter will move to Shanghai while the US office remains.
Fouling is a major obstacle to the widespread use of membrane technology. Tetrels is among the first in the world to integrate graphene into membrane products to mitigate membrane fouling, and eventually, bring savings for filtration systems. Graphene has an extremely large surface area, more than ~2,630m2/g to be exact, makes it a perfect material to carry the hydrophilic functional group to the utmost extent. Graphene has only a single atom thickness. so most of the graphene would spontaneously assemble on the surface of the polymer membrane which is in contact with water. The hydrophilic functional group could capture water molecules to form a moisture layer on the surface of the membrane so that most of the lipophilic contaminants and bacteria are unable or less likely to adhere to the surface of the membrane. Comparing with conventional membranes, Tetrels membrane products improve 3 times of fouling resistance and enhance 20% of water flux.
Tetrels' first product, hollow fiber ultrafiltration membrane, has been successfully developed and produced on a small scale in early 2019, which was followed by the first performance test of its membrane module to evaluate its contamination resistance under extreme sewage conditions. With the outflow being controlled at a constant value, the change in transmembrane pressure (TMP) was measured during the test. A chemical cleaning was performed when the TMP exceeds a critical value and the pollution resistance performance was measured by the total number of operating days each membrane took for the third chemical cleaning.
Another performance test of its UF module in coal chemical wastewater treatment was conducted, where one group of Tetrels UF modules recorded a series of information including inflow water pressure, TMP, and water flow rate.
The company has also successfully initiated the product validation process with several of the world's leading water treatment companies. Funding by CM Venture Capital will support the company to further industrialize and commercialize the membrane products in the China domestic and global markets.
Please click here for the company's presentation.