Real Tech Fund invests in SEPPURE, developing highly chemically-resistant nanofiltration membranes
Singapore, SG / Tokyo, JP: We are pleased to announce that Real Tech Global Fund* operated by Real Tech Holdings Co., Ltd. invested in SEPPURE Pte Ltd (hereinafter referred to as “SEPPURE”).
Real Tech will contribute to the growth of SEPPURE by sourcing customers and supporting the engineering and manufacturing of large scale systems through collaboration with Japanese companies, research institutes, and small factories.
Challenges in Conventional Chemical Separation Processes
In various industries such as edible oil, petrochemicals, semiconductor, and pharmaceuticals, there are many processes for separating and refining components in solution. For example, in the vegetable oil industry, organic solvents (acetone, hexane, etc.) are used to extract oil from the seeds (raw materials). However, because of the toxicity of organic solvents used, they must be separated and recovered (solvent recovery) in subsequent processes. Currently, distillation and other methods involving thermal energy are widely used. Therefore, separation with thermal energy is said to consume approximately 15% of the energy consumed worldwide*2, making it an environmentally unfriendly method. Furthermore,the rising costs of fuel prices and the risk of explosion accidents are challenges that the operating companies face. Therefore, solutions that reduce the environmental impact while increasing profits and value for the operating companies are urgently needed.
Filtration membranes are an effective solution and have long been a field of basic research. However, while they are currently being used in water purification and desalination, they have not been implemented into chemical separation applications such as solvent recovery thus far. The main reason is that the membranes swell and dissolve once in contact with the organic solvents, making it impossible to demonstrate their performance.
SEPPURE develops nanofiltration membranes with excellent heat and solvent resistant separation performance
SEPPURE is a spin-out startup based on technology developed by founder and CEO Mohammad Farahani during his PhD at the National University of Singapore (NUS). The membrane developed by SEPPURE is a polymer membrane that preferentially removes solutes with molecular weights ranging from 150 to 2000 g/mol. Using a proprietary recipe, the polymers are cross-linked and processed from a material with excellent heat resistance (100-150°C), enabling stable performance in a wide range of pH, polar, and nonpolar liquids. Furthermore, by utilizing SEPPURE’s manufacturing know-how to form hollow fiber membranes, SEPPURE hasachieved 10 – 20 times higher permeability and 4 – 5 times larger unit area than other separation membranes on the market. By utilizing SEPPURE’s nanofiltration membranes to replace conventional separation and refining processes with heat, it is expected that it can reduce operating costs by more than 30% and CO2 emissions by more than 60%. In vegetable oil applications, small scale PoC (proof of concept) of the solvent recovery process has already been completed, and in January 2022, an MOU*3 was signed with GIIAVA, a lecithin manufacturer based in Singapore and India, for the introduction of an industrial-scale system. In parallel with the large-scale system for vegetable oil applications, we will seek to introduce the system to other industries such as chemicals, petrochemicals, and semiconductors, where there is a pressing issue of environmental burden, high fuel costs, and component loss revolving around thermal separation techniques. Only a small sample is required for the PoC/trial, thus it would be great if companies exploring environmentally friendly separation and refining are considering working with SEPPURE.
Purpose of Investment and Use of Funds
SEPPURE participated in the TECH PLANTER DEMO DAY in Singapore 2021 hosted by our group company, Leave a Nest. They received theReal Tech Holdings Award, which has contributed to building their relationships with the Real Tech ecosystem. SEPPURE takes an importance on the Japanese market and is looking forward to working with demonstration/PoC partners not only in the edible oil industry, but also in the chemical, semiconductor, petrochemical, and other industries. We are the only Japanese VC to participate in this fundraising round. We will support SEPPURE’s entry into the Japanese market through collaboration with our partners and ecosystem. We will also provide manufacturing support to SEPPURE to overcome the challenge of implementing a large-scale system with our network of partner companies and local factories.
※1：Official name: “Real Tech Global Fund Investment Partnership 1”
SEPPURE is a Singapore-based CleanTech startup enabling sustainable and heat-free chemical separation. SEPPURE’s patented chemical-resistant nanofiltration technology replaces existing energy-intensive chemical separation processes across multiple industries, including the vegetable oil, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, petrochemical, and oil industries. SEPPURE’s innovative solution of separating chemical mixtures without heat through chemical-resistant nanofiltration membranes reduces energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by 90% and operating costs by 50%.
About Real Tech Fund:
Real Tech Fund is a venture capital fund established jointly by Euglena, Leave a Nest, and SMBC Nikko Securities, companies which have the experience of leading technology-based startups to success. We promote the social implementation of real tech and endeavor to resolve various problems pertaining to earth and humanity by providing support to startups (Realtech startups) with innovative technology that contributes to the solution of the problems. We support Realtech startups from before their establishment to the social implementation of their technologies, offering them the expertise and know-how that each founding company has acquired over the years.
Contact for Realtech Global Fund: Murayama Louis Christian, Growth Manager, email@example.com
About Real Tech Holdings:
Real Tech Holdings is a joint venture between euglena Co.,Ltd ( https://www.euglena.jp/ ) and Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. ( https://lne.st/ ). It supports change makers who give their heart and soul to solve societal and environmental challenges. Real Tech Holding’s manages Real Tech Fund, Japan’s leading deep-tech focused venture capital fund.
Contact for Realtech Global Fund: Shinya Narita, PR Booster firstname.lastname@example.org