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           Home >  Business  > Farming  :

Lincoln Ventures closing in on lucrative pollution testing market

Shelley Grell -- 17/05/2007

Lincoln Ventures, a technology company owned by Lincoln University, plans to offer a revolutionary new device that will allow industrial and wastewater treatment plants to rapidly test toxicity levels in discharges and provide a new level of environmental protection.

At the Water Industry Operations Group conference in Queenstown early in May Dr Neil Pasco, Manager of the Biosensor Research Programme at Lincoln Ventures, announced plans to launch a new rapid testing instrument to the international wastewater industry.

Safeguarding communities from accidental or deliberate release of contaminants such as industrial waste or hazardous chemicals into water is an increasing concern worldwide, as the presence of toxins in wastewater poses a danger to both the plant and to the wider environment.

Wastewater treatment plants rely on measurements of toxicity and biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) to assess the efficiency of treatment and the impact of discharge into receiving waters. But the current measurement technologies are unacceptably slow. For example, the standard BOD test takes 5-days, and there has been a race to develop a much faster process. Lincoln Ventures' new toxicity testing device will provide results in just five minutes allowing operators to make changes promptly. This will be a major breakthrough for the wastewater industry.


Technician Nicholas Glithero uses electrochemical equipment to analyse SCITOX products, giving output of sample toxicity
Photo source Lincoln Ventures
Click here to view a larger version

At the conference Dr Pasco explained that the patented technology, which has been under development for a several years, is being combined with new advances in electrochemical biosensors and analytical capability to bring to market the small reasonably priced device. He confirmed that field testing of the instrument will start shortly in wastewater plants in New Zealand, Australia, the US and Germany. It will be widely available in 2008.

Graeme Robertson, CEO of Lincoln Ventures, says, "This is an excellent example of sound research which will benefit not only New Zealand, but the wastewater industry worldwide. Sales over the next five years are projected to exceed NZ$15m."

He says, "This will be the first instrument in what will eventually be a range of toxicity testing solutions being produced by Lincoln Ventures under the SciTOX brand. The market for BOD and toxicity measurement solutions is considerable, with current testing costing an estimated $6 billion per annum worldwide."

Lincoln Ventures' new products are the result of research funded by the Foundation for Research Science and Technology (FRST).

About Lincoln Ventures
Lincoln Ventures Ltd, established in 1994, is a subsidiary of Lincoln University that provides government funded research and professional advice to a range of clients. We employ about 40 research scientists, technicians and support staff to carry out research on a range of real-world applications from groundwater modelling, moisture measurement, biosensors, image analysis applications, to information tools for horticulture production systems or the measurement of consumer behaviour. Our research subjects include: Measurement and instrumentation; Image processing; Spatial IT; Frost protection; Groundwater quality; Irrigation; Spray & Fertiliser application; Sustainable land and water use; Biotechnology; and Waste treatment.

About FRST
The Foundation for Research, Science and Technology (FRST) was established by the Research, Science and Technology Act 1990 to invest in science and technology research for the benefit of New Zealand. FRST is a Crown Agent governed by a Board appointed by the Minister of Research, Science and Technology. The organisation invests approximately $450 million of public money per annum through a number of funds and schemes to help support science and technology undertaken by Crown Research Institutes, universities, private researchers and industry-led consortia. It also supports private sector business research and development, and New Zealand's top achieving students and researchers.

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