While studying the means to harvest energy from mixing of river and sea water in estuaries, he realized that the reverse process of converting electrical energy into salinity gradients will be important for desalination. In 2017, Niels relocated the work from Amsterdam to Lund where Niels developed the first prototype capable of desalting water using porous carbon electrodes.
Niels met Pär Henriksson in Lund, and the two started working together to build a commercial system for water desalination. Today Avsalt has active R&D running at Lund and Delft. Niels Boon is perfecting the desalination device at TU Delft in close association with the Department of Process and Energy. Pär Henriksson coordinates system design, electronics and control for the commercial device.
Niels received his PhD in 2012 from Utrecht University, with his thesis on electrostatics in ionic solution, followed by a postdoctoral position at Northwestern University, Chicago USA. In 2016, Niels was appointed Research fellow at Lund University, Sweden, where he studied the dynamics of polymers in solution with varying salinity. Niels has received several awards including Molecular Physics’ Longuet-Higgins Young author’s Prize for his publication “Blue energy: From ion adsorption and electrode charging in sea and river water”, and the Future Innovation Honorary Award from Lund University for a desalination device without pumps or valves.
Pär started his first company in 1975, and has since founded, co-founded and built several enterprises, including Arc Aroma Pure AB, Optifreeze AB and Clinical Laserthermia AB. He has repeatedly been living the life of a start-up leader with focus on finance, product, development, innovation, and customer as well as investor needs. His core interest lies in real-time software, electronics design, industrial design and regulatory demands besides marketing, finance and business strategy. Besides his role in Avsalt, Pär currently acts as an advisor to other companies, and also runs a consultancy firm called Odd Bits AB, where all employees have Asperger’s syndrome and are extremely focused and bright individuals.