Permionics was conceived and pioneered by Mr. S. P. Mayor, a hydraulic engineer from Imperial College London with a bachelor’s degree from Oxford University.Subsequent to that, five years experience in building Hydroelectric power stations for The English Electric Company, led Mr. S. P. Mayor towards developing a passionate interest in water “ its availability and conservation “ and thereby a concern about the rapid desecration and depletion of water resources.In 1976, Mr. S. P. Mayor came across progress made by Dr. S. Sourirajan, a professor in the University of Ottawa, who was the first to demonstrate the applicability of the Reverse Osmosis process for water desalination using a Cellulose Acetate semi- permeable membrane.This fascinated Mr. S. P. Mayor and was synergistic with his own ideology and from this fascination, evolved a quest to develop the Cellulose Acetate Reverse Osmosis membrane indigenously, which he did so successfully with in-house R&D.By 1980, Permionics had developed its own machinery for membrane casting of Cellulose Acetate Membranes. Spiral wound membrane module/element manufacturing facilities were also set up. Modules up to 4 inches diameter and 25 inches length were perfected and commercially manufactured incorporating its own Cellulose Acetate membranes.In the same year, Permionics supplied India’s first indigenous membrane system for the concentration of dilute Streptomycin solution at M/s. Sarabhai Chemicals, Baroda.As an extension of the Reverse Osmosis membrane, the Cellulose Acetate Ultrafiltration membrane was developed to cater for macromolecular separation and once again another first was the supply and commissioning of an Ultrafiltration system for the concentration and purification of Papain Enzyme.Developments continued at Permionics to find other applications, to make newer membranes and to introduce this still new technology to the market.
In 1983, the Gujarat Government approached Permionics “ they had been on the look out for an appropriate technology for solving the acute drinking water shortage in drought stricken areas of coastal Gujarat.Permionics successfully demonstrated to the Gujarat Government the ability of the process of Reverse Osmosis for desalination of brackish water. This lead to the installation of several Reverse Osmosis systems in selected villages of the drought affected parts of the state.From site development, to design, supply and commissioning, the company, incorporating its own indigenously produced membrane systems, executed the entire treatment system including pre and post treatment. The capacities varied from 20 to 100 cu meters per day of treated water.This and other such pioneering developments firmly established Permionics as the premier company recognized for MEMBRANE TECHNOLOGY in India and it was a precursor to the growth in the use of membrane technology for a variety of applications in the field of water, wastewater and process stream treatment in India and overseas.