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Nanobubble startup secures funding ahead of aquaculture launch

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NanobOX, an Irish startup, has secured funding to help it develop a nanobubble system that could reduce energy costs and increase fish growth in aquaculture.

Farmed shrimp swimming in water aerated with nanoBox nanobubble technology

© NanoBox

NanobOx has secured first-round funding of €900,000 ($976,635) from a consortium of venture capital investors led by the The Yield Lab, along with DeepIE Ventures and Growing Capital. This funding will support product development and field trials in aquaculture, with the aim of going to market in 2024.

A spin-out from University College Dublin (UCD), NanobOx has developed a novel, patented nanobubble aeration technology that generates high concentrations of oxygen enriched nanobubbles from air with low power requirements. Nanobubbles are the smallest possible size of bubble, having the highest rate of oxygen transfer.

Dr John Favier, CEO and co-founder of NanobOx, stated in a press release: “Our technology uses a low-voltage electric field to generate nanobubbles directly in water, using less power than a lightbulb.”

Dr Mohammad Reza Ghaani, who developed the technology while at UCD, added that: “Nanobubble generation is therefore unaffected by the solids loading and is resistant to fouling.”

Enhanced efficiency

Maintaining dissolved oxygen concentration in water is critical to almost all controlled biological processes. NanobOX claims the current technologies employed in the $50 (€46) billion-plus water aeration market are highly inefficient.

“We uniquely generate nanobubbles from air that are enriched with oxygen, providing an oxygen-transfer efficiency of 90 percent, compared to less than 20 percent using conventional aeration,” explained Dr Favier.

“The nanobubbles are long lasting and act as an oxygen buffer as dissolved oxygen is consumed by fish or microbes.”

NanobOx is initially targeting salmon, trout, and mollusc farming, land-based and marine, with plans to develop solutions for shrimp and other species.

“Our first-generation products are being designed under exclusive licence from UCD for use in aquaculture,” stated Dr Favier. ”We aim to radically cut the cost of oxygenation, as well as enhancing animal health and boosting growth rate.”

Cleansing properties

NanobOx technology also has application as a chemical-free cleaning and sanitising system, using air or ozone. Enriched oxygen air nanobubbles are highly oxidative when they break and provide a chemical-free means of suppressing phytoplankton, sanitising pipelines and reducing the microbial loading on seafood to increase its shelf-life. The much greater numbers and longer lifetime of ozone nanobubbles means they have a much higher intensity of disinfection and will travel further in water handling lines than the larger-sized bubbles used in conventional ozonation.

Field trials of the novel nanobubble aeration technology are under way in Ireland with Goatsbridge Trout Farm who operate a flow through, semi-RAS and with Connemara Abalone in their land-based abalone farm.