NanobOx, a University College Dublin (UCD) spin-out company supported by NovaUCD, was presented with the ‘One to Watch Award’ at Enterprise Ireland’s Big Ideas 2022 showcase event. 

NanobOx was one of 12 investor-ready startups to pitch their new technology solutions to investors at the annual showcase of start-up innovation emerging from higher education institutes. The Big Ideas pitch teams were competing for the ‘One to Watch Award’, which was decided by a judging panel.

Highly energy-efficient technology to oxygenate water using nanobubbles

NanobOx, which is developing a highly energy-efficient technology to oxygenate water using nanobubbles, was pitched by Dr John Favier. Dr Favier, a serial entrepreneur and company CEO, founded NanobOx along with Dr Mohammad Ghaani. The technology was invented by Dr Ghaani and Professor Niall English at the UCD School of Chemical and Bioprocessing Engineering.

Dr Favier, CEO, and co-founder, NanobOx said: "We are delighted to win the Big Ideas 2022 One to Watch Award. We are excited to bring to market the ground-breaking, ultra-low energy cost nanobubble generation technology developed at UCD that we believe will accelerate the use of nanobubbles in Aquaculture and Agriculture and other bio-systems.”

Many commercial bioprocesses require oxygen levels in process waters to be consistently maintained. This can be a significant operating cost for a process that can be critical to productivity. In aquaculture, or the farming of fish stocks, for example, the energy cost of oxygenation can be the second highest expense after feed. It can represent 60pc to 70pc of operating costs in biological wastewater treatment.

Generating nanobubbles is particularly energy intensive, but with novel, patented technology NanobOx has managed to reduce the energy required to do so. Its nanobubble generators can be solar or battery-powered, and with no moving parts they are easy to clean and maintain. The company claims its technology is highly scalable and can oxygenate water at high flowrates.

Tom Flanagan, director for enterprise and commercialisation, NovaUCD said: “I am delighted that NanobOx, a UCD spin-out company, was named winner of the ‘One to Watch’ Award at Enterprise Ireland’s 2022 Big Ideas event, from a very impressive field of participating start-ups. I would like to congratulate John Favier on his outstanding pitch and we look forward to continue working with the company as it grows and scales to meet its global ambitions.” 

Dr John Favier, co-founder and CEO, NanobOx; Marina Donohoe, incoming divisional manager research and innovation, Enterprise Ireland, Dr Mohammad Ghaani, co-founder of NanobOx and Tom Flanagan, director of enterprise and commercialisation, NovaUCD.

Three other emerging UCD startups, giyst, Infraprint and Lia Therapeutics pitched at this year’s Big Ideas event.

Giyst, emerging from CeADAR Ireland’s Centre for Applied AI at UCD is using AI (Artificial Intelligence) and machine learning to create video summaries to tackle the issues of information overload and shortening attention spans for business, education and other markets. The aim is to repurpose content to drive better engagement and discovery. Avril Power, UCD School of Computer Science pitched giyst at the event.

Infraprint’s technology enables the 3D printing of engineering plastics stronger than any system on the market, empowering companies to manufacture high strength, lightweight, customised parts in a cost and time efficient way. This digital technology is leading the way to a sustainable, reliable and energy efficient production process for small batch components, from Aerospace to pharmaceuticals and beyond. Dr Andrew Dickson, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering pitched Infraprint at the event.

Wearable medical device to treat dry and sore eyes

Lia Therapeutics has developed NightleafTM, a drug-free, wearable medical device to treat dry and sore eyes, following needs-led research conducted during the BioInnovate Fellowship Programme at University of Galway and Enterprise Ireland commercialisation funding at UCD. Sinead Buckley, UCD School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering pitched Lia Therapeutics at the event.

Flanagan added: “I would also like to commend giyst, Lia Therapeutics and Infraprint, emerging UCD start-ups, on their excellent pitches. That four of the twelve start-ups pitching at this year’s Big Ideas are from UCD is an indication of the quality of the start-ups which are emerging from the University with the support of the NovaUCD team.”

The selected pitch teams each had just three minutes to promote their innovations and business propositions to an invited in person and online audience made up of the Irish research and investment communities and the wider startup ecosystem.

At the event a ‘Viewers’ Choice Award’ was presented to Robert Wylie of Fada Medical, which is on a mission to improve insulin delivery for people living with type 1 diabetes. To do this, Fada Medical has developed a novel diffusion technology that can extend the wear-time of infusion-set cannulas, supporting consistent long-term insulin pump use.