Israeli Start-Up Turns Wastewater into Renewable Energy

June 15, 2020

An Israeli start-up is turning wastewater into renewable energy

AgRobics, an Israeli startup, has developed a new bio-stabilizer technology that improves wastewater treatment and collects biogas for energy production from the microorganism-rich waste.

“Wastewater is a worldwide challenge, in developed and developing countries, and treating it requires copious amounts of energy and chemicals,” said AgRobics co-founder Professor Isam Sabbah, head of the Biotechnology Engineering Department at Braude College in Karmiel. “[Wastewater] is therefore seen as a nuisance requiring two to five percent of a nation’s energy production. AgRobics sees this ‘nuisance’ as an opportunity, turning a waste stream into clean water and energy thus enabling the reuse of the water with the nutrients and stored energy therein.”

The technology, according to the Jerusalem Post, features a combination of ancient bacteria, Archaea, and modern engineering. 

Archaea, which are some of the earliest forms of anaerobic life on the planet, are attached to a new type of reactor. Once wastewater is transported through the reactor, the bacteria cleans the water and excretes “valuable biogas.” This biogas can be used to produce renewable energy, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The technology has been successfully tested at wastewater treatments sites in Karmiel and Netufa, as well as at a food plant in southern Israel.

AgRobics is in the process of establishing its first demonstration plant in California after receiving a BIRD Foundation grant to develop an innovative anaerobic wastewater treatment for food processing plants with Bennett & Bennett, reported the Jerusalem Post. 

Since then, AgRobics signed a memorandum of understanding to treat the wastewater of one of the world’s largest dried fruit packers.

“We can be completely sustainable, we don’t need any energy to do our treatment and we produce energy,” said AgRobics CEO Gilad Horn. “We can turn a plant into a net energy producer just from the biogas we produce. They can run entire operations off this biogas and sometimes have more than they need, and sell back to the grid. This is hopefully where we are going with future waste treatment.”

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Cristina Tuser