Pure Water

Pure Water International

How our 50% funded Technology Placement Programme has rapidly accelerated product development for Pure Water International

Pure Water - David Maclennan 1


Highlands-based Pure Water International (PWI) is a start-up that works with large-scale industry and private suppliers to help them access clean water. Offering high-quality engineering solutions to the problems facing the water industry, they aim to bring their C.A.F.E. filter to the global market.

An industry veteran, founder David Maclennan identified a need to inject new ideas into the start-up to help develop their revolutionary prototypes into viable products.

I was excited to give young enthusiastic engineers the chance to enter the industry
David Maclennan , Founder , Highlands-based Pure Water International
Pure Water - Equipment

The opportunity

Engaging with our Technology Placement Programme in late 2020, PWI hired two Strathclyde University Aero-Mechanical Engineering graduates. Orrin Fraser and Scott Mackenzie joined on one-year placements which were 50% funded by HIE. They were both tasked with developing a prototype to remove chemicals, medication, plastic fibres and polluted substances from water, working on independent but linked projects.

Orrin was employed to design and prepare manufacturing drawings alongside the senior engineer, to allow the next generation of the unit to be built. Scott joined PWI a couple of months later to complete the final stage of the project by designing a smaller, scaled-down version of the tested prototype. This will be sold to home markets, pharmaceutical companies and other industries. 

 “I was excited to give young enthusiastic engineers the chance to enter the industry,” says David. “I’ve been in engineering for 40 years and sometimes you don’t see the wood for the trees. We’re doing something totally new so we didn’t want any preconceived ideas - just fresh thinking and a focus on the latest technology.”


Pure Water - Team Indoors

Seeing the benefits

Six months into post, Orrin and Scott have already designed and developed a new water purification prototype. Both are firmly involved in the running of the business, too, representing PWI at high profile meetings with clients, including one with the Portuguese government.

“I get the guys involved to broaden their experience,” says David. “If something in a meeting sparks an idea, they find opportunities to do things digitally and differently to how I’d approach it.”

Attracted by the opportunity to work on cutting edge technology both graduates have flourished since starting their placements.

“I’m gaining valuable experience in a mechanical engineering role,” says Orrin. “As well as doing CAD work, I work on a wide range of international projects as well as speaking with suppliers.

“It’s rare to be able to work on open projects with hardly any boundaries, too, which you get in the start-up setting. I’ve learned to understand fittings and water standards, and I’m also learning the business side and getting more responsibility because it’s a small company.”

Scott has also relished the opportunity: “I’m really happy being out in the industry. It’s great to be able to use my CAD skills in a commercial setting and the unit that we’re developing is ground-breaking so it’s exciting to be contributing to that.

“We’re given lots of freedom to come up with solutions - it feels like we’re much closer to the action than we would be in a big company. When the projects get up and running, we’ll get project management experience too.”

Pure Water - Graduates

A catalyst and a breath of fresh air

To say PWI has benefited from the graduates’ input is an understatement. David credits the pair with accelerating the stage their new prototype product is at by 18 months.

“We’re ready to go into production because the guys have designed this latest version,” enthuses David. “You have to let graduates take their skills to the table and let them make mistakes so they can learn. But 9 times out of 10 they produced exactly what I was looking for.

“I’d definitely recommend the Technology Placement Programme. It’s been a great catalyst and a huge breath of fresh air. We couldn’t have afforded to take on two graduates without HIE’s support so we’re hugely grateful.”



The Technology Placement Programme is delivered through the Northern Innovation Hub, designed to build on and accelerate business innovation.

It is funded through the Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal - a joint initiative supported by £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, HIE and University of the Highlands and Islands. This programme also receives financial support from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Innovation strategic intervention.

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