Harnessing energy from Cavitation to expedite chemical & biological processes: Hyca Technologies [Interview with Founder]

Cavitation, usually considered an undesirable phenomenon is being seen by Hyca Technologies as an opportunity. HyCa has developed a technology that allows it to harness energy dissipated by collapsing cavitation…

Cavitation, usually considered an undesirable phenomenon is being seen by Hyca Technologies as an opportunity. HyCa has developed a technology that allows it to harness energy dissipated by collapsing cavitation bubbles to accelerate chemical reactions, breakdown complex molecules, ensure uniform mixing.

HyCa’s core innovation is the HyCator design algorithm that allows it’s reactors to create targeted cavitation bubbles required for the specific needs of the process.   This technology has applications across industries ranging from chemicals, bio-chemical, water purification, petrochemicals and several other industries.

Seed funded by Godrej Industries, company is in the process of setting up their manufacturing plant at Patalganga (near Mumbai).

Interview with Mr. Anjan Mukherjee, Co-Founder of Hyca Technologies

Q: What made you start working on cavitation?

I am a marine engineer and start or my research was motivated by environmental challenges of ballast water in marine industry. Once I started reading about hydrodynamic cavitation, I came in contact with Dr. Pandit (Co-founder of Hyca) who is world renowned expert in cavitation.

Commercialization of technology in marine industry is subject to policy changes, which are yet to come in place. This made us look at other avenues of applying this technology which today appear to be a multi-fold opportunity as compared to our initial target market.

Q: What is your innovation and what can be the potential applications?

Cavitation is an existing process. Our innovation lie in developing algorithm / mechanism to artificially control the process and utilize the energy released. To give you an idea – when a bubble collapses, temperature at point of collapse if 10,000 degree Celsius which is twice the surface temperature of Sun. This energy can significantly expedite several biological and chemical processes.

Applications can be found in different industries ranging from petrochemical, chemicals, biogas, ballast water treatment, effluent treatment, cooling towers etc. Each of these industries, can offer $1B+ market for our technology.

Q: Which applications are currently available for commercial use?

Technology’s application in cooling tower is commercially available right now. It is being used by corporate like TATA, Hindustan Unilever, and Godrej.

Technology helps in cutting down

– Chemical requirement by 40-60%

– Drained out water by 50%

– Down time for maintenance / cleaning

Customers can realize the payback in 1.5 -2 years in the form of savings made (chemicals, water etc.)

Q: How do you plan to monetize your innovation – licensing, selling complete solution etc?

A: We are in the process of setting up a plant for commercial production. We will focus on developing and commercializing applications till a point, techno-commercial viability is established as per industry standards. After reaching that point, we will look at licensing the technology to industry leaders.

Our core competence is technology, and there ample companies across globe who are very good in scaling up and commercializing technologies.

Q: You are traversing the road less travelled amongst Indian entrepreneur community – innovation with pure science instead of developing Web/Mobile based product. What have been the key challenges?

Structurally Indian system does not support such innovations. India is a difficult place to do business – regulatory approvals and bureaucracy makes the time to market very long; whether it is acquiring land, getting taxation approvals or environmental approvals. Also, there are no incubators designed for non-IT startups, where one can start pilot production.

Though, during the process we also learnt that Indian regulatory and academic system has hidden gems. It took us some time to reach the right set of people, who have contributed significantly towards where we are today.

Lack of investors focusing this space in India is limited, which is another key challenge. Investor community is predominantly focused on IT startups due to low gestation periods. So, it becomes difficult to find investors who understand our business and are interested in the venture.

PI’s View

It’s exhilarating that entrepreneurs in India are coming up with innovations based on Fundamental Science and Indian academia is acting as a catalyst. Though, it also highlights systematic bottlenecks for such endeavors and poses a question for Indian policy makers, innovation eco-system and investor community.

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