Cambridge Angels, Manchester Angels and NorthInvest are among the private sector investors.
Molymem has developed an energy-efficient and highly versatile membrane coating based around a material called modified molybdenum disulphide (MoS2). The technology comes from research led by Professor Rob Dryfe and Dr Mark Bissett, at The University of Manchester, working in partnership with innovation experts at the University’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC). This team has used a two-dimensional version of MoS2, part of which is a natural crystal that has physical properties which are complementary to those of graphene, the world’s first 2D material, originally isolated at The University of Manchester.
The company’s initial focus is on clean water, water reuse and species selectivity but the technology has potential across numerous other industry sectors including air, gas cleaning and future clean energy. Chosen routes to market will be via licence and royalty deals with membrane suppliers, original equipment manufacturers and system integrators.
Ray Gibbs, chairman and director of Molymem, said this new funding would enable the company to scale up and deliver on its mission. “New 2D materials for membranes are needed to improve sustainability, accessibility and tackle one of the world’s greatest problems – delivering clean fresh water for all,” said Gibbs. “The application of 2D advanced materials into water filtration technologies will, we are confident, help provide solutions to this critical global challenge.”
Working with businesses and utility companies, Molymem has coated a variety of membrane systems and tested the rejection of various salts and other organic molecules, such as nitrates. Molymem says that the performance is equal to or better than existing commercial solutions - but at much lower cost so making its system a “greener and cheaper” option.”
Dr Mark Bissett, chief scientific officer of Molymem, and Reader in Nanomaterials, Department of Materials at the University of Manchester, commented: “It’s incredibly exciting to see our technology, which was developed here in the labs at the University of Manchester as a fundamental research project, be successfully spun out into a company and receiving this funding. Going forward I look forward to seeing our technology have real commercial impact and see our products improving sustainability in multiple industries.”
“This unique technology is an added value to existing membrane systems reducing particulate “clogging” of the current filter, enabling improved life, reduces use of chemicals and increases flux (water flow),” explained Richard Lydon, a senior advisor to Molymem. “The Molymem platform is robust in any environment and can be tailored (through specific functionalisation of the coating) to reject target particulates such as nitrates, phosphates, PFAS/PFOS, dissolved organics, heavy metals and other pollutants, offering unique selling points to meet the needs of the water industry.”