New Bay of Plenty startup 2Plus brings together two experienced businessmen and chemical engineers whose business model is focused around introducing sustainable technologies.
Established late last year, 2Plus has already made sales of their first offering, the De-Ca-Ion (DCI) system, which uses applied electro-chemistry and a patented intelligent controller to remove scaling and water hardness from cooling systems without the need for hazardous chemicals.
Andrew Coker, who has resigned as chief executive of Tauranga economic agency Priority One to develop the new company, and his partner Gavin Cherrie have an extensive background in chemical engineering and have worked together in the past at New Zealand chemical companies.
"If we have a profitable business sector that adds economic value, and also social and ecological value, then it's a winner for everybody," said Mr Cherrie, who is a long-time conservationist and a trustee of the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust.
"Our idea is to bring technologies to New Zealand and create a company that does just that. We're keen to apply green chemistry, which is about applying chemistry in a way that is safe and not harmful to the environment."
The DCI is aimed at institutions and corporates that have large HVAC heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems that require water coolers. Typically, these function by evaporating water, a process that creates CaCO3 (calcium carbonate) and Mg(OH)2 (magnesium hydroxide) deposits, the main causes of scaling within the cooling system.
The scaling reduces efficiency and increases energy expenditure.
The DCI system also removes SiO2 (silicon dioxide, or silica) from the water.
2Plus has the New Zealand agency for the DCI, which was developed in Singapore by an old engineering school friend of Mr Cherrie.
Mr Coker said the traditional approach had been to add chemicals to eliminate the scaling and also apply anti-corrosives to counter the effect of the de-scaling chemicals.
"DCI is a non-chemical solution, which takes the hardness out of the water continuously," he said.
The company has sold a system to Seeka Kiwifruit Industries for its KKP coolstore in Maketu and has been conducting a number of trials with other companies.
Kevin McGrath, managing director of Rotorua's Power Solutions, provided independent monitoring of a 10-week trial at an installation at Lakes District Health Board.
"The outcome was favourable, showing good energy, water and chemicals savings," said Mr McGrath.
Scaling in a chiller's cooling tubes creates an insulating barrier and increases the work the chiller has to do and therefore its energy consumption.
"If it is installed in a brand new system, you won't necessarily have energy savings, but you will maintain a clean system so energy consumption won't deteriorate, and save on water and chemicals."
* The De-Ca-Ion (DCI) system removes existing scale deposits from water cooling systems and prevents further scale formation by driving a non-spontaneous oxidation-reduction (redox) reaction, which precipitates calcium and magnesium at the cathode.