The secret Investor Blind Date at the Water Tech Invest conference session organised by Isle Utilities and Cleantech Investor on 14 February 2013 was revealed at the event to be Rob Wylie of WHEB Partners.
The winner of the Water Tech 'Investor Blind Date' with Rob (aka Bashful Bob from Archway) was Duncan Collins of Zeropex, who 'competed against Mast Carbon's Steve Tennison and BiAqua's Wilbert Van de Ven.
Duncan Collins is Managing Director of Zeropex UK Ltd and has spent the last 15 years working in the water industry, developing the route-to-market and subsequent sales of capital equipment to the municipal sector. He was a founder of Quay Technologies and MicroDynamics, which was one of the first successful water-technology, VC-funded, cleantech start-ups. This success has been repeated at Zeropex, with the company already delivering multiple hydro projects to the water industry.
Zeropex has developed the Difgen, a patented micro-hydro generator that fits into the water distribution network and converts excess pressure into electricity. The Difgen acts like a pressure-reducing valve, but controls pressure and flow through a rotary lobe turbine linked to a generator; this in turn is controlled through a variable frequency drive. Electricity is generated and converted to suitable frequency and voltage, whilst the utility has better control of pressure to reduce leakage.
The electricity is either renewable energy, when under a natural flow, or recovered energy, when a pumped flow. A typical water utility can reduce its energy bill by up to 20% following installation of a network of Difgens.