It’s 9am in California and Eric Hoek is speaking from his car. Fresh from dropping his two pre-schoolers off for the day, the former UCLA engineering professor turned CEO is ready to concentrate on his other ‘babies’ – the two divisions of Water Planet, the water tech company he started with private investment following his involvement in cleaning up the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. "I think of myself as having basically four kids right now," he laughs. "It’s hard work, chasing after them, trying to protect and nurture them as they grow."

The hard work is paying off. Water Planet has formed a number of strategic alliances with partners such as Air Liquide, Genesys International and Applied Membranes that give it a global reach that belies its small scale. It has two proprietary products, IntelliFlux and PolyCera. Both are gamechangers for the global desalination and water reuse industry. IntelliFlux, originally developed at Water Planet and already at commercial stage, is an artificial intelligence based automation and control technology for filtration systems which effectively enables them to perform at a peak level that would be near impossible to meet consistently under human supervision. Originally developed in Hoek’s labs at UCLA, PolyCera, is a new super-material; a polymer that behaves in many ways like a metal. It combines the lower price of a polymer with the durability and performance of a ceramic membrane. It’s no wonder Hoek is excit

This article first appeared in the issue of Desalination & Water Reuse magazine.