Daily Israel Report

GE and Partners Invest in Israeli Water Tech Company

Emefcy Ltd., an Israeli water tech company, uses microbial fuel cells to turn waste water into an energy source,
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 6/30/2011, 5:04 AM / Last Update: 6/30/2011, 12:23 PM

Flash 9

An American company will help fund an Israeli company that uses microbial fuel cells to turn waste water into an energy source, Greenbang.com reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, Energy Technology Ventures, a joint venture of GE, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips, has decided to invest an undisclosed amount in the Israeli company Emefcy Ltd. This is Energy Technology Ventures’ first investment in a non-U.S.-based company and is also its first investment related to water.

Emefcy was founded in early 2008 by serial water technology entrepreneurs Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter. The company is marked as one of the most promising water technology start-up companies and has received technology leadership awards such as The Guardian’s Cleantech 100, Global Water Technologies top 10, Artemis Top 50 and more.

Emefcy’s technology uses the principle of a fuel cell to generate electricity directly from the water. Its “electrogenic bioreactor” features an anaerobic anode chamber connected to a cathode chamber by an ion exchange membrane, produces electricity as organic matter in waste water decays and drives a current through the fuel cell.

This is different from other systems which use aerobic processes or anaerobic digestion to produce methane (natural gas) from the decomposition of organic material in waste water.

The technology generates electricity and also produces treated water as a by-product. The result transforms waste water treatment “from an energy-intensive, cost-intensive and carbon-intensive process, into an energy-generating and carbon-reducing process.”

Emefcy expects to apply its process initially for waste water treatment in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

“We will use Energy Technology Ventures’ investment to continue development of our technology into full-scale commercial implementation by the end of this year for municipal and industrial wastewater treatment,” said Levy.

Energy Technology Ventures is a company which focuses on the development of next-generation energy technologies. It invests in and offers commercial collaboration opportunities to companies in the renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls, water and biofuels sectors. The three companies behind Energy Technology Ventures intend to help start-ups develop next-generation energy technology.

General Electric recently announced that it would be building a research and development center in Israel, its eighth in the country.

The new center, which will be built near its GE Healthcare subsidiary in Haifa, will focus on medical devices, water and CleanTech.

GE previously has worked with Israeli companies such as the Better Place electric car initiative as well as with companies dealing with medical devices and CleanTech.