News Archive 2014

UCD spin-out Oxymem wins Innovation of the Year award

Friday, 11 April, 2014 

OxyMem Ltd, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company, was last night declared winner of the overall ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award at the 2014 Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards.

At an awards ceremony held in Dublin, OxyMem Ltd, was also declared the winner of the Energy and the Environment category award. At the event a second UCD spin-out company, APC Ltd, was in addition declared winner of the Bioscience category award.

OxyMem Ltd, which has developed a breakthrough technology for wastewater aeration, was co-founded in 2013 by Professor Eoin Casey and Dr Eoin Syron as spin-out from UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering.

Until now wastewater aeration has been a very energy intensive process which has relied on ‘forced’ or ‘bubble aeration’ to deliver oxygen to the bacteria that breakdown the wastewater. Pumping and treating wastewater typically accounts for up to 2.5% of all electrical power produced in a developed country and the aeration process comprises, on average, of 60% of this energy.

OxyMem’s patented technology does not rely on a bubble to deliver oxygen to the bacteria. Instead it uses a gas permeable membrane to deliver oxygen directly to the micro-organisms resulting in up to 99% oxygen transfer efficiency, as no oxygen is lost to atmosphere. The company’s ‘bubbleless’ aeration system is typically four times more energy efficient than best in class solutions available today

OxyMem currently employs 12 people and is in the process of closing a €2 million funding round and plans to increase staff numbers to 35 by the end of the year.

Speaking at the Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, said, "The Government wants to support innovation & research to drive job creation and assist in attracting foreign investment. That's why the Government's Action Plan for Jobs has specific targets in this regard. These awards show that Irish companies can be leaders in their field and innovators like the award winners will play a part in the country's economic recovery. I would like to congratulate the team at OxyMem on their win and commend The Irish Times and InterTradeIreland for their commitment to supporting Irish businesses."

Wayne Byrne CEO, Oxymem Ltd said, “Looking to the future, we have major plans to revolutionise the wastewater treatment market globally. We have a turnover of €50 million within five years in our sights and receiving the overall ‘Innovation of the Year Award’ strengthens our position as pioneers in the wastewater industry and in the attainment of an energy and carbon neutral wastewater treatment plant."

Professor Orla Feely, UCD Vice-President for Research, Innovation and Impact said, “I would like to congratulate Professor Eoin Casey and Dr Eoin Syron, the co-founder of OxyMem Ltd, on winning the prestigious overall ‘Innovation of the Year’ Award at the 2014 Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards. OxyMem’s breakthrough technology for wastewater aeration has resulted from several years of research by Professor Casey and Dr Syron in UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering and underlines UCD’s expertise in this research area. In addition I would like to congratulate Professor Brian Glennon and Dr Mark Barrett, also from UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, and the co-founders of APC Ltd, on winning the Bioscience category award.”

She added, “One of UCD’s key innovation themes is to grow and support new high-tech and innovative companies, such as OxyMem Ltd and APC Ltd, which are commercialising UCD research outputs and which have a global impact. By winning these awards OxyMem and APC are demonstrating the quality of spin-out companies emerging from UCD and the hard work and dedication of our research community in commercialising their research outputs with the support of our technology transfer and enterprise development team at NovaUCD.”

She concluded, “I would also like to acknowledge the success of Dr Barbara Murphy, UCD School of Agriculture and Food Science, founder of Equilume Ltd, on being shortlisted for these awards.”

In addition to the Award, OxyMem Ltd won a high profile communications package worth in excess of €150,000 from the Irish Times, a scholarship for an Executive Education Programme in the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School commencing in 2015, and a state-of-the-art laptop with a one-year subscription to The Irish Times ePaper.

APC Ltd, which won the Bioscience category award, provides streamlined chemical engineering solutions and technologies to pharmaceutical and biotech companies to reduce the time, cost and associated risk in development and global supply of new and existing medicines. APC Ltd works globally with 8 of the top 10 pharmaceutical and 5 of the top 10 biotechnology companies in R&D, commercialisation and manufacturing support.

APC Ltd was co-founded by Professor Brian Glennon and Dr Mark Barrett in 2011 as a spin-out from UCD’s School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, based on over 15 years of research into chemical and bio-process design, optimisation, scale-up and transfer.

The company currently employs a total of 32 people, 90% of whom are PhD-qualified, at University College Dublin, and is actively seeking to employ an additional 15-20 staff over the next two years.

Now in its fifth year The Irish Times InterTradeIreland Innovation Awards showcase excellence in innovation, across a range of groundbreaking products and services from all sectors and company sizes across the island, North and South. In recent years the overall winners have created innovations as diverse as drug delivery systems and state-of-the art network switching, to anti-allergy pillows and new technologies for cleaning and disinfection.