Partnering opportunity

Method for increasing the concentration of tritiated water


A leading European fusion laboratory has developed a method for increasing the concentration of tritiated waste water whilst reducing the volume. The process involves electrolysing the tritiated waste water and then humidifying the evolved gas to reintroduce the Tritium into the waste water. The organisation is looking to break in to new sectors offering a simplified, lower cost alternative to many labs and waste disposal companies, via a licencing agreement or research agreement.

Partner sought

Looking for research and development organisations or companies in industries who operate in fields not related to fusion energy who are willing to collaborate and develop this technology in these new sectors via a licencing or research cooperation agreement. These organisations need to be focusing on the wider exploitation of this technology with a view to commercialisation.


Tritium is usually present at a low level in the water and this typically renders the recovery of tritium uneconomical. However, tritium may not be disposed of directly into the environment and therefore disposal of such water wastes is typically expensive. As the cost of disposal of radioactive waste is usually dependent on the volume of the waste, it is beneficial to concentrate radioactive waste as far as possible. A method for reducing the volume and increasing the concentration of tritiated water has been developed. This involves introducing the tritiated water into an electrolysis cell to form gaseous hydrogen and oxygen. The evolved hydrogen is then passed through a humidifier into a liquid phase catalytic isotope exchange separation column. The hydrogen rises up the column in a countercurrent flow with pure water that is being introduced at the top. This then flows back into the electrolysis cell in more concentrated form and can then be removed. Tritium contaminated water is produced by nuclear reprocessing plants, the pharmaceutical industry, life-sciences research, and heavy water nuclear power reactors. This could offer a simplified, lower cost alternative to many labs and waste disposal companies working within these sectors. The organisation is looking to expand in to new sectors via a licencing agreement or research agreement.

Advantages and innovations

The innovations and advantages of this technology offer a less complicated method than alternatives on the market. There is flexibility in the final concentrations of the tritiated water and doesn't require complicated monitoring systems and multiple feed points. This technology is also easily scalable.

Development stage

Under development/lab tested

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Secret Know-how

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