Membrion, a spinout of University of Washington, closed its oversubscribed Series A round with a total of $6 million. The round, led by Bellingham Angel Investors, included participation from existing investors as well as new funding from WRF Capital and SeaChange Fund.
The membrane technology has been developed by borrowing material from packaging food or consumer products: Every package of a product that is to be protected from moisture is equipped with a sachet of silica gel beads that adsorb moisture due to very small pores in the beads. Membrion has a patent pending process to make membranes through silica gel. Unlike other nano-porous ceramic membranes, these membranes are not rigid but flexible. The silica gel membranes combine the low price and flexibility of polymer membranes with the stability and lifetime of ceramics.
The membranes are purpose-built for electrodialysis-reversal (EDR) equipment that desalinates brackish water, which is often found in estuaries and underground aquifers, and tradionally has been tto difficult and expensive to purify. Membrion states that by using their membranes desalination costs can be reduced by up to 30 %. This unlocks the potential of brackish water as a source for fresh water.