Japanese Fund Invests in Singapore Wastewater Treatment Startup Hydroleap

Japan’s Realtech Holdings has announced its investment in Hydroleap, a Singapore-based startup at the forefront of developing wastewater treatment solutions using advanced electro-chemical technology.

Through its Tokyo-based Real Tech Fund, a venture capital fund established jointly by Euglena, Leave a Nest, and SMBC Nikko Securities, RealTech acted as the lead investor in Hydroleap’s Series A funding round, which amounted to US$4.4 million.

In this round, Realtech participated as a co-investor with SEEDS Capiatl, a sovereign wealth fund that supports Singapore’s deep tech ecosystem. RealTech said it will also extend sales and manufacturing support in Japan to enable widespread deployment of Hydroleap’s innovative solutions to a diverse clientele.

Hydroleap offers an electrochemical treatment technology that can reduce pollutants in industrial wastewater by up to 95% and cut cooling tower effluent by 70%.

The company has successfully developed a unique unit that employs special electrodes to enhance the efficiency of electro-treatment, which was previously reliant on expertise for operation.

Through the integration of sensors and algorithms, automated operation has become a reality, making it possible to treat large volumes of contaminated water solely with electricity.

The solution combines two techniques – electro-oxidation (EO) and electro-coagulation (EC) – ensuring effective and efficient wastewater treatment. It incorporates learning, prediction, and execution of power requirements and operating conditions based on the water’s quality to be treated.

Global Water Scarcity Challenge

This automation eliminates the need for manual intervention, guaranteeing consistent water quality post-treatment and reducing dependence on specialized personnel. Additionally, the modular design allows for easy scalability to meet varying customer capacity requirements.

Currently, Hydroleap’s units are being utilized in the food plant effluent and data center cooling tower industries.

According to UN estimates, by 2030, global freshwater shortages are projected to reach 40% of demand, leading to a severe water crisis as the world’s population continues to grow rapidly. Currently, over 2 billion people are exposed to unsafe drinking water, 4.5 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitation services, and nearly 1,000 children die daily from preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhea.

Multiple factors contribute to water scarcity, including industrial development associated with population growth, climate change, and the depletion of water resources due to urbanization.

Moreover, over 80% of wastewater from human activities is discharged into rivers and seas without any decontamination, exacerbating the issue. In particular, the treatment of industrial wastewater, which accompanies industrial processes, incurs high costs due to chemicals and activated sludge usage, generation of secondary treated materials (sludge), large water consumption, and other improvement factors, posing a significant burden on businesses. The need for environmentally friendly methods is obvious.