BLH AquaTech Aqutonix Water Conditioning System
Water used for irrigation tends to clump at the molecular level, making plants expend more energy to uptake water and grow. BLH AquaTech is a company from Korea that is using electric fields to separate water molecules and increase the efficiency of agricultural irrigation, changing the conversation about water efficiency from “how much water do I have” to “how much can my water do?” This technology has been demonstrated on a number of crops and has been shown to drastically improve water uptake, growth rate, yield, and disease resistance in plants. They have been commercial since 2015, and are expanding to the US market. They are currently rolling out their third generation of technology.
How Does It Work
Aqutonix attaches to an irrigation pipe, passing water through a small electric field. The electric field breaks up hydrogen bonds holding water molecules together, separating them into individual molecules.
Plant cells use proteins called aquaporins to move water into their cells. When water is clumped, these aquaporins must separate water molecules themselves, expending energy to do so.
Conditioned water increases the efficiency with which plants uptake water, allowing agricultural users to grow more food with less water. Passing water through the electric field sterilizes the water, removing 70% of bacteria and breaks up other contaminants.
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The BLH Aquatech Aqutonix system has a proven track-record of water savings, germination, growth, and yield increases. By the end of 2016, units had been installed in 80 facilities and the company is rapidly expanding. In the US, they are in the process of contracting distribution to Ag West Marketing, have signed an MOU with True Humboldt, which has access to 200 farmers, and intend to sell 300 units by the end of 2018. They are also expanding to Brazil, Taiwan, Singapore, the Middle East, and North Africa, and possibly China, leaving European and Southern African markets until they are more established in other regions.