SofTap Water, Inc., a water technology start-up based in Cincinnati, Ohio, United States (U.S.), graduate of The Water Council’s BREW Corporate Accelerator programme in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S., and winner of the BREW Corporate: Powered by A. O. Smith challenge in 2016 announced that they have achieved a breakthrough in water softening treatment using a proprietary Surface Accelerated Crystallisation (SACr) technology. SACr physically removes temporary hardness without using chemicals or high pressure, which are major limitations of current softening technologies.
SofTap’s water softening technology is well-suited for household, commercial, and industrial applications, including the prevention of limescale build-up in households and scaling in industrial water treatment systems, as well as improving current reverse osmosis treatment systems. The technology is simpler and more cost-effective than other softening systems on the market today that use zeolites, which must be regenerated using brine, or membrane nanofiltration that requires significant water usage and high pressure.
“The key to the technology is being able to control both the crystal growth rate and their removal from our polymer beads, thereby eliminating hardness ions and producing a water softening benefit that does not require replacement chemicals or regeneration of active sites,” Dr Rakesh Govind, co-founder of SofTap Water and chief technology officer (CTO), stated. “This technology is more cost effective and lasts longer than common water softening products such as ion exchange or reverse osmosis.”
SACr is an invention that mimics biomineralisation, the mechanism commonly recognised for structured growth in the environment, including seashells. Water softening is achieved with SACr by using proprietary polymer beads to produce insoluble carbonate crystals from calcium and magnesium bicarbonates. The beads accelerate the growth of carbonate crystals, which can be filtered to completely eliminate temporary hardness in water.
In addition, SACr is a major advancement over current anti-scaling technologies including template assisted crystallisation by allowing for the actual physical reduction of calcium and magnesium ion concentrations.
SofTap has been working to advance the technology, including developments for homes and large platform treatment systems. The company is looking for additional commercialisation partners in residential, commercial, and industrial applications where removal of temporary and permanent hardness is desired.
“We’re excited to see how SofTap’s product has significantly advanced through our BREW Corporate Accelerator program,” Elizabeth Thelen, director of entrepreneurship and talent for The Water Council and leader of the BREW Accelerator, said. “The connection to funding, mentoring, business training, and product engineering labs in the Wisconsin water tech cluster helped them advance their SACr technology and we look forward to seeing SofTap take it to the next level.”