Tim Naughton, co-founder of spinout company Salinity Solutions has been chosen for inclusion in the prestigious TechRound ‘29under29’ listing, which identifies and accolades the top movers and shakers amongst the UK’s young entrepreneurs.
Tim founded the engineering technology startup in 2021 because he wanted to provide a more sustainable, energy-efficient solution for water treatment, in a world where 80% of wastewater is released untreated.
His passion for water treatment is founded in a very real concern: the demand for freshwater is on the increase while the world’s supply is steadily decreasing. Only 0.5% of the earth’s water is in the form of available fresh water – and that’s the kind we need to survive.
Just three years ago Tim was an academic engineer at the University of Birmingham working alongside researcher Professor Philip Davies, Head of Water Technology Research. Tim first met Philip at Aston University while studying for his mechanical engineering degree, and together they co-developed a revolutionary new way of treating water using reverse osmosis – a process where water is cleaned by using press to push it through a semi-permeable membrane.
The pair then moved to the University of Birmingham, and it was from here that Salinity Solutions was created as a spinout company, with Tim as its Chief Technology Officer.
Salinity Solutions’ technology uses 50% less energy than other methods, typically purifies more than 95% of the wastewater and is much more compact - and portable - than existing technologies. Two patents have already been granted and more are in the pipeline. Tim believes this is the biggest step forward in water treatment in 50 years and hopes that adoption of this technology will have an impact in every corner of the globe, across every layer of society – from rural drinking water to large industrial processes.
Since founding, Tim has led successful field trials with eco-technology company Cornish Lithium, and the company has raised over £1.5m from private sources and two rounds of funding on Crowdcube, where it smashed its target for fundraising. The University of Birmingham is an investor and shareholder and the two parties continue to work closely together.
Tim commented: “I feel really honoured to have achieved this award. However, I’d like to recognise the University of Birmingham for helping me develop this technology together with my colleagues at Salinity Solutions for their help in getting it ready for commercialisation. Without their help none of this would have been possible.”