A Sustainable Solution to the Water Crisis

Glanris

6. Clean Water and Sanitation 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action 15. Life on Land

Overview

Glanris provides a 100% green water filtration media that is affordable, effective, and reduces carbon impact from creation to landfill. Their filtration media removes organic contaminants and metals from water without using microplastics, all while sequestering carbon.

Authors

Ian McGowan

Ian McGowan

Charles Good

Charles Good

Keith Stinson

Keith Stinson

Priscilla Sequeira

Priscilla Sequeira

School

Loyola Marymount University

Loyola Marymount University

Professor

Jeff Thies

Jeff Thies

Innovation

Glanris’ innovation is unique, which involves using the world’s largest agricultural waste crop, rice hulls, and turning it into a dual-function water filtration media. Rice hulls are the protective coating on grains of rice. Generally, treated as waste, either burned in the field or hauled to a landfill to rot. Neither of these solutions is environmentally sound, and Glanris provides a way for these rice hulls to use in an environmentally beneficial way.

The benefits of this technology are multi-faceted. First, it is more effective at removing contaminants than traditional filtration media. When compared to ion-exchange resin, Glanris’ filtration process removes metals just as well, if not more effectively, all without the use of microplastics. And just like activated carbon, their media removes organic pollutants while sequestering carbon, helping combat climate change. Glanris is more effective than other traditional filtration methods, filtering a vast range of contaminants in a broader pH range. Second, Glanris provides this service at a much lower cost. Compared to ion-exchange resin, this technology can be low as 1/10th cost, and while other filtration methods may take multiple passes, Glanris is just as effective, if not more, in a single pass.

A Sustainable Solution to the Water Crisis

Inspiration

What inspired the start-up of Glanris was that there was not enough water supply to meet demand. If we understand where water is today, we can see that we are running low. By 2030 it has been forecasted that the water demand will exceed supply by at least 20%. According to our interviewee Brian, population growth and aging infrastructure are what are, increasing the demand.

Brian said, “We need people to change how they use water.” Brian went into further detail about how 70% of water use goes to agriculture, 22% goes to industry, and only 8% goes to houses. Often, there is this idea that most water use happens in the home, but that can be very misleading. Brian stated that “Short showers and low flow toilets will not solve the problem.”

Overall impact

When asked about the impact of the innovation, Brian referred back to the UN Sustainability Goals. He went into detail about how Glanris aligns with 11 of the 17 total. He mentions that Glanris primarily focuses on 4 of them specifically.

Goal number six is all about clean water and sanitation. With the invention of Rice hulls, Glanris can provide a cost-effective solution for communities globally to filter the water. Rice is grown globally, and there needs to be an affordable and sustainable filtration media, which Glanris supplies.

Goal number thirteen is about reducing carbon emissions directly by 1 million metric tons by 2030. Brian was then kind enough to break this down for us in numbers. For example, he mentions that “one single rice mill emits 3.4 million tons of greenhouse gases a year. One rice mill can meet SDG 13’s goal of lowering carbon emissions with the innovation of Glanris.”

Goal number 15 is about getting rid of micro-plastics. Goal number twelve mentions responsible consumption and production, which all align with the benefits of Glanris’s innovation.

Business benefit

The innovation of using rice hulls as their source material for filter media benefits the business in multiple ways. The first and most permanent way is that using rice hulls lowers the cost of goods for Glanris compared to other filter media companies that use carbon for their filtration. With the lower input cost for their product, Glarnis can sell their media for cheaper than traditional players, allowing them to enter the industrial, municipal, and residential markets by offering a more cost-effective product that operates just as well as conventional media. Also, their media work as a direct replacement for traditional media. So businesses and households can keep their current filtration housings and systems and replace them with Glanris’s biocarbon when it needs replacing.

Additionally, with the recent focus shifting towards sustainable investing and environmental responsibility, residential filter companies, industrial business/manufacturers, and municipality-run water operations (both public and private) are encouraged to shift towards sustainable and eco-friendly options, which Glarnis provides. Their innovation is especially beneficial for industrial and municipal usage. As the biocarbon is much lighter than traditional media, saving cities and businesses on transportation fees as well, which is another reason why they would consider switching to Glarnis media.

Social and environmental benefit

Glanris' innovation benefits society and the environment in multiple ways. First, the material used in their media (rice hulls) is one of the world's major agricultural waste products. To get rid of the wasted rice hulls, farmers and manufacturers generally burn and then put them in landfills. When rice hulls burn, they release co2 into the atmosphere, and when kept in landfills, they release methane during the decomposition process. Glarnis' innovation allows this massive agricultural waste product to have a second life and limit the amount of carbon media used in water filters. Carbon media also contributes to co2 emissions on a large scale and is put into landfills at the end of its usable life; it does not decompose naturally like rice hulls, showing another added environmental benefit of using rice hulls.

In regards to society, Glarnis’ purchasing of rice hull waste helps farmers and manufacturers clear the rice hull effectively and responsibly and provides another revenue stream. It used to add an extra cost to get rid of that waste. As Glarnis continues growing and scaling the service by using rice hulls, they will increase water access to many people who have access to traditional carbon media. Additionally, they will be able to support small farmers and manufacturers by providing them with money for their waste hulls which will benefit struggling farmers and communities.

Interview

Bryan M. Eagle III, CEO

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Glanris

Glanris

Memphis, TN, US

Business Website: https://glanris.com

Year Founded: 2018

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

Glanris is a water filtration media company based in Memphis, Tennessee, whose mission is to provide sustainable, affordable, and effective filtration media. They do filtration using rice hulls, an agricultural waste product, which are the protective coating on rice grains, as the filtration media. They promote responsible water use while also sequestering carbon from the atmosphere by implementing this patented process. Providing clean water cheaper, faster, and more effectively than traditional filtration with the added benefit of helping the planet is a win-win for the industrial, municipal, and residential sectors that they serve.