With more than 1,000 installations, Peterborough-based Aclarus Ozone has helped ozone become the fastest-growing water disinfection technology in the global water treatment sector. We spoke to Co-Founder and VP Marketing Adam Doran to learn more about bringing an undermarketed clean technology to the world’s attention.
Describe your core technology(ies). What makes your solution different than anything else on the market? How is your company contributing to a cleaner, greener future?
Adam Doran: We solve complex water problems with advanced ozone technology. Our solution offers complete water treatment in one system. It’s free of chemicals, energy-efficient, and cost-effective. Essentially, we’ve taken an effective technology with limited market reach and made it a practical, reliable choice for a wider-ranging market. Our solutions are uniquely designed for small to medium sized commercial and industrial applications and municipalities with populations of 100,000 or less.
Ozone offers a comprehensive chemical-free water treatment solution that delivers superior disinfection and treats aesthetics such as taste, colour and odour. It is effective at treating the worst water disinfection challenges such as viruses, bacteria, pathogens, metals, and contaminants of emerging concern such as pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals, and microplastics. After contact, ozone leaves no residuals in the effluent and preserves all healthy minerals.
Ozone is made on site, which eliminates GHGs (and costs) associated with purchasing, transporting, and storing dangerous and expensive chemicals. Our system also helps other treatment processes, such as reverse osmosis and UV perform more effectively, which often results in the elimination or significant reduction of chemicals, such as chlorine.
Aclarus offers a wide range of treatment applications including drinking water, wastewater, groundwater, stormwater, rainwater, process water and CIP sanitation.
Other than coffee, what gets you out of bed in the morning? How does this work connect with your core beliefs and values?
Doran: My cousin [Mike Doran, President and Co-Founder] and I wanted to do something meaningful with our careers. We both want to leave the planet better than we found it, and we have a shared interest in making more broadly available a disruptive technology that helps make a positive impact on climate change. There’s something special about working with family, too. Our grandfather saw the start of Aclarus. It’s gratifying to work with family, and we’re finally at a stage with the company where we can give back in other ways, such as helping Indigenous communities in Canada gain access to clean, safe drinking water.
Tell us about a recent win (or wins) or your company.
Doran: Last year, Aclarus won a Water’s Next award. As well, Yahoo Finance recognized our company on a list of 20 innovative entrepreneurs changing Canada’s business landscape.
We completed a pilot at the Wellington municipal wastewater treatment plant where we retrofitted old chlorine chambers and installed two containerized ozone systems. Since we didn’t have to change the infrastructure, the region saved millions of dollars and the project came in well below the anticipated budget. Most importantly, the resulting water is treated in an environmentally responsible way that exceeds Canadian Drinking Water standards.
We’re also working with a major brewer using our clean-in-place system, saving them 10-15 minutes of cleaning time, hot water, and a significant reduction in chemicals. We have installations in more than 35 buildings in the GTA for ground/stormwater discharge and rainwater reuse; we have projects with 15 First Nations communities, several developers, and partnerships projects with some of Ontario’s leading water treatment solutions providers, including Newterra and H2Flow.
Ozone has finally achieved universal recognition as a superior water treatment versus chlorine. In the years since we started Aclarus, we’ve seen it go from a very fringe technology to something that’s in demand and opening up to new and emerging markets, including mining, cooling towers, and water reuse. Climate change has rapidly expanded the ozone market given its superior disinfection capabilities and an ever growing need to adopt solutions that offer water conservation and reuse.
What’s next for your company?
Doran: Over the last few years we’ve grown by more than 30%, so our top priority is to continue to grow sustainably. We’re hiring at a good rate, we’ve expanded our facilities, and we’ve doubled our manufacturing space. We’re continuing to expand our market share in Canada and have expansion plans in the United States. We also have a global strategy to develop export opportunities, reach broader markets, and grow partnerships.
Finally, what’s on your team’s wish list for Ontario’s cleantech sector?
Doran: We need to continue supporting innovation. It’s not just about green and clean technologies; we need support in order to stay competitive. We need more access to pilot projects and talented people. We need to keep offering programs to hire youth. And while it’s great to see manufacturing coming back, we need to bolster it with new technology to make it more efficient.
We’d also love to see more support for Ontario’s water technology sector. We’re in the top three regions in the world in this area. There is a huge missed opportunity to brand, promote, and protect what our sector is doing in this province.
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