Rice hulls are the biggest agwaste product in the world – they’re also the hope for the future of sustainable water management.
Today, most rice hulls are burnt worldwide – 218 billion pounds a year – but cleantech startup Glanris has developed a process to turn rice hulls into water filtration media – a cleantech solution that has the potential to transform both the rice and the water management industry.
Repurposing rice hulls as water filtration media provides multiple wins for the environment; it sequesters billions of pounds of carbon that would usually be released into the atmosphere through the burning of rice hulls, replaces the use of harmful microplastics in traditional water filters, and reduces the amount of energy used for filtering water. “We’re a hybrid; our methods do several things in one filter, so you only have to use one tank, compared to traditional filtration methods which use four tanks to get inferior results,” explains Glanris CEO Bryan Eagle.
The rice hull filtration media fits right in with existing water management infrastructure while offering tremendous cost-efficiencies: “we’re up to 20% more effective at filtration, in 1/3 of the time, and at 1/10th of the cost. So, better, faster, cheaper.
“And if instead of using just one tank of our media, we run the water through two filtration tanks – traditional filters use four tanks right now – we could purify to near drinking water standards at about 1/5 the cost,” says Eagle.
Glanris has found its initial market stake with U.S. industrial clients looking to green their credentials with sustainable solutions; every large company and manufacturer uses water somewhere in their process, and it has to be treated before they can discharge it.
“This is something where they can start to promote the fact that they’re not pumping water out of the ground every day, they pump it out once and they reuse it many, many times and they’re cleaning it with a green sustainable filter,” says Eagle. “So their Chief Sustainability Officer is very happy, as is their plant manager because it’s an easier, simpler process, their CFO is happy because they’re saving money.”
As Glanris gears up for international expansion, municipalities that are under pressure to meet goals for transitioning to carbon-neutral are lining up to upgrade their water filtration…