What We Do

Water PIanet Innovations works with companies at all stages along the “innovation spectrum” from ideation of new technologies through incubation of developmental products; raising seed, angel and venture capital; acceleration of business development for new products; and partnering with private equity to enable global expansion and growth via mergers & acquisitions.

Our Successes

IntelliFlux

The industry’s gold standard in automated, artificial intelligence-based membrane control systems for water treatment plants

In late 2014, Water Planet co-founder Subir Bhattacharjee walked into co-founder Eric Hoek’s office to discuss an important observation after having spent a week in the field commissioning a membrane filtration system that was treating produced water from a cyclic steam stimulation oil & gas field. Even though the system was running stably, the fact that it took 6 engineers working around the clock for a week to achieve this end meant the equipment would be very difficult to sell repeatedly.

So, Hoek and Bhattacharjee went about the process of transforming the technology into a solution anything unlike the industry had seen before, based on one of the first applications utilizing artificial intelligence. Through machine learning, every decision Subir and the engineering team made in the field was translated into algorithms, and eventually into a new form of fully automated water treatment system controls software.

By late 2016, Subir and team had developed IntelliFlux Controls into a standalone product that could be used to retrofit any membrane filtration system enabling it to produce more water with less energy, downtime and cost.

In early 2018, IntelliFlux was spun out from Water Planet as a standalone automation and control software with a $3M series A financing lead by Bluestem Capital and The Wolfen Group. In 2018, IntelliFlux Controls was accepted into the ImagineH2O Accelerator program and the technology is being utilized in installations around the world.

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PolyCera

The next generation in membrane filtration and separation technology, setting new standards in performance and total cost of ownership

In 2004, UCLA Engineering Professor Eric Hoek attended a seminar presented at the California NanoSystems Institute by noted UCLA Chemistry and Materials Science Professor Richard B. Kaner, who described a novel class of Nobel Prize-winning nano-materials known as electrically conducting nanofibers. These materials were known to have wide chemical and thermal stability and to be water dispersible (i.e., hydrophilic) as well as having been cast into thin films for gas sensing and artificial muscle applications.

Hoek turned to the person sitting next to him, Dr. Asim Ghosh – renowned membrane technology expert from Bhabba Atomic Research Institute in India – and said, “Can you imagine if we could put that material into a membrane?” And Dr. Ghosh literally went slack-jawed and gasped in joy at the thought.

The next year, Kaner and Hoek started a collaboration and in 2012, they formed PolyCera Technologies LLC. In 2013, Water Planet acquired PolyCera, and, within 3 years, achieved its first commercial installation. As of mid-2018, PolyCera Membranes had over 80 installations on 3 continents.

In early 2018, Kairos Ventures led a $9M Series A financing round along with Bluestem Capital and The Wolfen Group into PolyCera, Inc. giving rise to a new, standalone membrane, manufacturing and sales business.

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MembranePRO Services

Industrial water treatment as-a-service plus world class engineering and operational support

MembranePRO Services began as the water treatment contract R&D, engineering and O&M services division of Water Planet. From 2011 to 2015, it completed over 50 projects including development of proprietary water treatment process inventions for several large multi-national corporations, product validation testing for several water & process technology startups, troubleshooting O&M support at dozens of municipal and industrial water treatment plants, as well as the designing, building and delivering a dozen custom-engineered water treatment solutions for the automotive, oil & gas, refining and pharmaceutical sectors.

By 2016, our engineers and scientists developed a proprietary IMS-5000 integrated mechanical and membrane system  controlled by our proprietary IntelliFlux control software, another in-house innovation.

By the end of 2016, we had sold a number of IMS-5000 systems; however, it became clear that the business would need to transform itself into a water treatment-as-a-service business to best serve our customers’ needs.

In late 2017, Water Planet formally exited the systems business and later that year sold off MembranePRO Services and the IMS-5000 systems business to a group of private investors. MembranePRO Services continues to operate California’s first offsite, regional merchant oil & gas produced water recycling facility in Wasco, California  and is developing a number of other California produced water recycling projects.

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NanoH2O

Low-energy, fouling-resistant RO membranes

In 2003, Water Planet founder & principal Eric Hoek conceptualized using super-hydrophilic porous nanoparticles with internal 3-dimensional interconnected pore networks to enhance the permeability and fouling resistance of thin film composite RO membranes.

Despite having proposals rejected by the U.S. National Science Foundation, Environmental Protection Agency, Bureau of Reclamation and Office of Naval Research – in 2004, Hoek secured initial funding from the UCLA Samueli Engineering School and California NanoSystems Institute and later, in 2005, funding by NanoH2O co-founders and angel investors Jim McDermott, Jeff Green and Bob Burke to initiate commercialization of Hoek’s thin film nanocomposite (TFN) membrane technology.

In 2006, Green, Burke and Hoek raised Series A capital from Vinod Khosla, founder of Khosla Ventures, to accelerate commercial efforts.

By 2013, $65M in equity capital had been raised to build out state-of-the-art TFN membrane manufacturing operations in El Segundo, California and to break ground on a second, much larger manufacturing operation in China. In early 2014, LG Chem acquired NanoH2O for $203M, and re-branded as LG Water Solutions.

In 2018, LG Water Solutions was honored with ‘Distinction’ in the “Water Technology Company of the Year at GWI’s 2018 Global Water Awards .

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