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  • Writer's pictureIsrael Gulf Report

Israel's Fluence foresees wastewater solutions for the UAE and region

Updated: Dec 30, 2020

Fluence Water in Israel has offices in Caesarea and a production plant in Karmiel.

In a December 20, 2020 interview with Yaron Bar-Tal, General Manager of Fluence Israel, he discussed new opportunities in the United Arab Emirates.

Yaron Bar-Tal: Fluence ( focuses on decentralized wastewater treatment solutions. Water treatment includes sea water desalination, brackish water and surface water and our wastewater treatments use our MABR (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor) technology.

Decentralized treatment plants make a lot of sense both in water and wastewater, especially for reuse where you will save two piping systems: One from the customer to a centralized plant and another that pumps back treated water for reuse. We have models of decentralized plants that can save up to 60% in Capex and much more in OPEX.

This concept makes a lot of sense in most regions of the world. Specifically in Dubai, they have centralized waste water treatment plants in the city, but just ten kilometers out of the city you don’t have waste water treatment plants. They store the wastewater (WW) and haul them to the city to the main treatment plant. This is a waste of money and they need water for reuse: Not necessarily potable but reuse for cooling towers or irrigation, so they pay to dispose the wastewater and for freshwater where they could use reused water. That is where we would like to come in.

For example I visited a logistics center with 400 employees. Clear Water had built a small treatment plant where the treated water is used for cooling towers. ROI was relatively very short so it was a win-win.

Our wastewater packaged plants are based on MABR (Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor) technology, which is the most advanced in the wastewater market, provide high quality effluent at low energy consumption and with very simple and reliable operation.

With these packaged plants it takes only days to have a system up and running compared to months in conventional methods.

Just to get a sense of the background, Fluence roots is in a company called EMEFCY that merged with RLW?

YBT: Emefcy was an Israeli start up, that developed the MABR technology for efficient waste water treatment. RLW was a company, owned by Ronald Lauder, with over 7000 references in over 70 countries, global sales and operations.

In December 2015 Emefcy went public on the Australian stock market. I personally come from EMEFCY, and we were successful and appreciated in Australia and at the peek reached a market cap of $300 million but with almost no sales at that time and without a significant footprint across the world.

So the merger was potentially a complementary combination: Integrating the creativity and the new technology of the startup with an established global organization.

Personally - I’m excited both as a businessman and as an Israeli. We are facing a rare and unique occasion where you feel that you are part of a history being made.

I understand most of your work is in the global south or rural areas? YBT: A lot of our work is in rural areas. There are big desalination and wastewater treatment centers near cities and it doesn’t make sense to install piping to rural areas, or remote places such as resorts, islands etc. That is where we sell most of our equipment.

China is our biggest market. We have about 200 projects there. In general we are successful in the Far East mainly in the Philippines, Cambodia, Vietnam and Taiwan, but we also have projects in Africa, Jamaica, US, the Caribbean, Bahamas, Israel, Argentina, Ecuador, and more.

A Fluence Aspiral M package wastewater solution plant. (Courtesy, Fluence)

Tell us a bit about the MOU?

YBT: The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Fluence, Clear Water and Alshirawi group is a beginning of what will hopefully become a strong relationship.

Clear Water, Fluence and Al Shirawi, signed a three party MOU that they will start cooperating by the implementing the MABR technology into several existing and new projects, brought forward by Clear Water in the AEU, GCC and other territories where Clear water operates.

We believe that Fluence products are exceptionally suited to the UAE requirements and needs, and looking forward, I see that with Al-Shirawi’s extremely high steel manufacturing abilities we could manufacture in Dubai and create a very effective sales and logistics hub for the Middle East and GCC.

So what’s the next step?

YBT: Getting the first project. We are already working on that with Clear Water.

So the UAE is a big future?

YBT: Yes. Fluence is already active there via a subsidiary in the Emirates (“Fluence middle East”) that is selling and installing desalination plants in Africa, Egypt and in the UAE. Now we will have an even stronger presence in the UAE.

So in terms of countries what is the future? YBT: Dubai and others in the Emirates and countries that might be easier for Clear Water to approach such as Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the GCC, the Middle East and territories that UAE has good relations with.

And they have a greater need for this kind of technology? YBT: Every drop counts we say in the water business, and we mean it. Water is a scarce resource and must be treated so. Fluence water and wastewater solutions provide a great solution for this.

Personally - I’m excited both as a businessman and as an Israeli. We are facing a rare and unique occasion where you feel that you are part of a history being made.

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