Three middle school classmates gathered at a reunion dinner. The topic of conversation was sterilization technology using a high voltage electric field. All of them are engineers. The side effect that was noticed was a splitting of the water molecules hydrogen bonds, or a break down of the water molecule clusters.
Someone said, “I’d like to give test this water on a plant.” One person experimented with real tomatoes. The result was a great success. The size, weight, and sugar content were superior to those of ordinary tomatoes. The conversation between friends immediately became a business item. Aqutonix, a water treatment device that dramatically increases productivity by splitting water molecules and increasing water absorption, was born that way.
“It is a technology that breaks water molecules passing through a filter by using a high voltage electric field to increase the absorption power by using a high voltage electric field,” said Edward Hong, a representative of BLH Aqua Technology. “Currently, farmhouse shipment volume with Aqutonix is increased by 25%,” he said. All farmhouses are equipped with an irrigation system that already uses water. The device is only 120 cm high and weighs 20 kg.
The market is big. Domestic agricultural water treatment market is only 1 trillion won. The US and Chinese markets are also targeted. The US is 29 trillion won, and China is 45 trillion won. Hong said, “We plan to provide Aqutonix to the farming association where US farmers belong.” In the United States, there are about 1,500 farms with more than 1,000 farmhouses each.
The potential of Aqutonix does not stop here. It can be applied to any place where water is used, such as flowerpots, livestock, semiconductor factories, mines, and seawater desalination. Last year, BLH Aqua Technology’s sales amounted to W200mn. Sales are expected to reach W1.6bn this year and W7bn next year. This is because we decided to supply 100 Aqutonix to a large-scale coal mine water treatment facility in China. Unlike agricultural Aqutonix, coal mines cost 35,000 dollars per unit. Aqutonix for seawater desalination is currently being tested. Hong said, “It is possible to filter out salinity by using high water absorption capacity, which means that water production is increased by 20% or more on average, and productivity is improved by an annual average of 7.5 billion won.” The Aqutonix method explains that the production cost of seawater desalination facilities can be lowered by more than 5%.
Hong said, “We only have the technology to refine water molecules using high-voltage electric fields in Korea. We have only one cosmetic company that uses additives rather than water treatment technology overseas.” BLH Aqua Technology’s unique technology is already recognized at home and abroad. In addition to winning the ‘2015 Korea Creative Economy Grand Prize’ hosted by the Small and Medium Business Administration, it also won the Grand Prize at the ‘2016 K Global Silicon Valley Demo Day’ hosted by the Korea Institute of Future Creation Science.
The road to here was not smooth. Mr. Hong, who has been involved in various venture businesses since 1999, said, “The first start-up was a location-based order processing business,
We made prototypes more than 10 times. At present, the price of Aqutonix is 7 million Yuan. It is a somewhat burdensome amount to be supplied to domestic farmers. BLH Aqua Technology plans to increase its monthly production by lowering the price by 200 units in the year and 2000 units in the next year due to capacity expansion in the near future. The sources will also be diversified and will land in the US, China, Japan, and more.