University College Dublin Spin-out Wins Global Chemical Engineering Award

Pictured at University College Dublin is Professor Niall English, UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering and a co-founder of AquaB.

University College Dublin Spin-out Wins Global Chemical Engineering Award

AquaB (AquaB Nanobubble Innovations Ltd), a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company, has won the Water Award category at the 2020 Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE) Global Awards.

These Awards which celebrate chemical, process and biochemical engineering excellence, are widely considered as the world’s most prestigious chemical engineering awards.

AquaB was the only Irish company to receive a 2020 IChemE Global Award.

AquaB was established earlier this year to commercialise a new energy-efficient method to generate and release substantial volumes of metastable, nano-scale gas bubbles in water. This method is based on research carried out by Professor Niall English and Dr Mohammad Reza Ghaani at UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, who are the co-founders of AquaB.

Nanobubbles are tiny gas bubbles on the nanometre (nm) scale. They are thermodynamically metastable for many months, or even longer, and have enhanced gas-transfer properties and substantial industrial potential. AquaB’s new method of generating nanobubbles has the potential to deliver a step-change in the operational efficiencies of a number of industrial sectors including, among others, wastewater treatment, gas storage, biopharma, brewing, disinfection, agriculture and food.

Professor Niall English, UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, co-founder, AquaB, and a Fellow of the IChemE said, “I am delighted that AquaB, which was only established earlier this year, has already been recognised for its global impact potential by winning a prestigious IChemE Global Award.”

“This is a reflection of strong international interest in our core nanobubble-generation technology, and big advances in nanobubble aeration for the activated-sludge process, water disinfection, as well as advances in dissolved air flotation.”

He added, “It is also a significant endorsement for us as a young Irish start-up, especially given the international competition, from well-established research organisations and companies, in our Award category.”

He concluded, “AquaB plans to develop and supply nanobubble generators, as well as licence the nanobubble technology per se worldwide, as an export-driven, high-tech and ambitious company under dynamic leadership. We thank Enterprise Ireland for its support to date.”

AquaB, established with the support of NovaUCD, the Centre for New Ventures and Entrepreneurs at UCD, is currently a participant in the 2020 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme run by NovaUCD.

More than 120 entries, from around the world, were shortlisted for the 2020 IChemE Global Awards across 20 Award categories. The other finalists in the Water Award Category, won by AquaB, were research institutions and companies from Australia, China, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Singapore and USA.

Stephen Richardson, President, IChemE, said, “Chemical engineering’s contribution to society is visible in every home, school, hospital, factory and high street worldwide. To each of our winners, your remarkable work has been recognised by your peers at the IChemE Global Awards to commend you for the real impact you’re making in tackling some of the huge environmental, social and economic challenges we are facing.”

“Congratulations to all of our winners and thank you all for your inspiring enthusiasm, commitment and professionalism.”

From the 20 category award winners Plastic Energy, a UK sustainable plastic recycling firm, was named as the winner of the IChemE 2020 Outstanding Achievement in Chemical and Process Engineering Award.

Click here for further information about the 2020 IChemE Global Awards and the other 2020 Award winners.


24 November 2020

For further information contact Micéal Whelan, Communications and Media Relations Manager, UCD Research and Innovation, NovaUCD, e:, or t: + 353 1 716 3712.

Editors Notes

Further information about the Institution of Chemical Engineers available via

At NovaUCD, the hub for new ventures and entrepreneurs at University College Dublin, we nurture and support new high-tech companies, such as AquaB, as part of UCD's mission. At NovaUCD we provide purpose-built, state-of-the-art incubation facilities alongside a comprehensive business support programme for client companies. NovaUCD has been funded through a unique public-private partnership that includes AIB Bank, Arthur Cox, Deloitte, Enterprise Ireland, Ericsson, Goodbody Stockbrokers, UCD and Xilinx.