MABR : הדור הבא של טיהור השפכים
המוצר: טכנולוגיה לטיהור שפכים באמצעות ממברנות
המפתחים: איתן לוי ורונן שכטר
החברה: פלואנס, לשעבר אמפסי תחילת הפיתוח: 2008
Product: Technology for Treating Wastewater with Membranes
Developers: Eytan Levy, Ronen Shechter
Company: Fluence (Formerly Emefcy) Start of Development: 2008
Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter were already experienced entrepreneurs in 2008 when they founded a new start-up that had a clear vision: to develop new technologies for treating wastewater while reducing energy consumption and even
producing energy as a result of the process. The two (both chemical engineers) had already succeeded the previous year in selling their first company AqWise, that also operated in the field of wastewater purification.
Now they had a new idea: development of bacterial fuel cells that would use electricity created by electrogenic bacteria as part of their metabolism, in order to treat wastewater. They named the company Emefcy from the initials of ‘Microbial Fuel Cell’. The vision sounds utopic: wastewater purification and green energy.
Unfortunately, although the technology reached the desired level of samples in laboratory conditions, it was difficult to convert it into industrial practice. Instead, Levy and Shechter decided to focus on one of the products born during the development process – self-respiring membranal reactors known as MABR (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactors).
It became apparent that if they removed the demand for producing electricity, they would be left with a very competitive product that enables extremely efficient wastewater treatment while using only minimal energy. The main innovation was that instead of pressured bubbling, as in the traditional method of biological purification, the necessary oxygen is diffused into the water through a membrane. The new method saves up to 90 percent of the treatment’s electricity consumption and 50 percent of the operational costs.
Using this simple and economical technology, Emefcy vision was to change the wastewater treatment market so that in the future, many small facilities will be able to recycle purified wastewater for local use. Operational management and maintenance on the other hand, will be efficiently carried out by a single central body.
The vision and innovative method sounded promising and attracted capital from prominent investors throughout the developmental process. In 2016, Emfyce began marketing its product. The system’s first installation was in Israel, the second in US Virgin Islands, Caribbeans and other markets soon emerged, primarily China and Ethiopia. Emefcy treatment plants are presently being installed in both countries.
In 2017, Emefcy, then valued at 180 million dollars, merged with RWL Water to create an international corporation called Fluence. Fluence employs 120 employees in Israel. The Products and Innovation Division (formerly Emefcy), and Israel Business unit (formerly RWL Israel) incorporates sales, marketing and engineering operations.