Baleen Filters from Baleen Filters Pty Limited use self‑cleaning filters to clean wastewater without the use of chemicals.


  • Reduced chemical use
  • Reduced energy use


  • Agriculture
  • Food & Beverage industry
  • Municipal sewage

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 6: Clean Water & Sanitation

The Challenge

More than 80% of waste waters (some 1,500 billion tons every year) flow untreated into rivers, lakes, and coastal zones, threatening health, food security, and access to safe drinking and bathing water. Traditional wastewater treatments require the use of fossil fuels or thermal energy to separate and filter wastewater.

Innovation Details

The Baleen Filter is a self-cleaning filter technology that cleans large amounts of wastewater without using chemicals. It uses pressurized water to push wastewater through a mesh screen, which separates water from solids, similarly to a baleen whale.

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Biomimicry Story

Baleen is a filter-feeding mechanism found inside the mouths of baleen whales. Mostly made of keratin—the same substance found in human fingernails and hair—baleen is similar to the bristles on a brush. Because Baleen whales feed on small organisms such as plankton and fish, they need to capture and eat as many of them as they can at one time. When a baleen whale consumes a huge mouthful of krill, fish, and water, it partially shuts its jaws and then presses its tongue against its upper jaw to force the water through the baleen, leaving the krill and fish on the inside of its mouth. This enables the whale to capture and strain large amounts of food while keeping its baleen clean and free from long-term deposits.