Energy Technology Ventures – a GE, NRG Energy and ConocoPhillips joint venture – is making its first non-US and first water-related investment by providing capital to Emefcy Ltd, an Israeli company that can turn wastewater treatment from a huge energy drain to an electricity generator.
Emefcy’s technology uses naturally occurring bacteria in an electrogenic bioreactor to treat wastewater. The organic material in the waste produces power and treated water, transforming wastewater treatment from an energy-intensive, cost-intensive and carbon-intensive process, into an energy-generating and carbon-reducing process.
The benefits are both economic and environmental: Conventional wastewater treatment uses 2 percent of global power capacity (80,000 megawatts and 57,000, 000 tons per year of carbon dioxide), costing $40 billion per year. Rather than using conventional energy-intensive aerobic processes or methane-producing anaerobic digestion to treat wastewater, Emefcy harvests renewable energy directly from the wastewater and feeds it to the power grid, enabling the energy-positive wastewater treatment plant. The primary initial applications are for wastewater treatment in the food, beverage, pharmaceutical and chemical industries, with total market potential of US$10 billion annually.
Energy Technology Ventures was joined in the funding round for Emefcy by Pond Venture Partners, Plan B Ventures and Israel Cleantech Ventures. Financial details were not disclosed.
“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 Emefcy’s CEO, Eytan Levy. “All told, wastewater treatment is a US$100 billion industry, and our technology can significantly reduce the economic and environmental costs.”
One of the partners in Energy Technology Ventures, GE, is active in wastewater treatment and is expanding its technology focus on Israel, called the “Silicon Valley of water technology.
Israel is an important center for innovation and scientific discovery. GE this month opened its newest multi-disciplinary Research and Development Center, in Haifa. A dozen researchers will be hired to evaluate and work on clean energy, water and healthcare technology projects. The new Israel Technology Center will facilitate the introduction of advanced technologies to GE through partnerships with local technology companies and academia.
The GE investment was made through business unit GE Energy Financial Services, which has made one other investment in an Israeli technology company -- SolarEdge, a provider of smart, holistic solar photovoltaic power harvesting and monitoring solutions for maximum energy and cost efficiency. SolarEdge is based in Hod Hasharon, Israel.
Emefcy emefcy.com was founded in early 2008, by serial water technology entrepreneurs Eytan Levy and Ronen Shechter, who also founded AqWise aqwise.com Marked as one of the most promising water technology start-up companies, Emefcy is a laureate of many technology leadership awards such as Guardian’s Cleantech 100, Global Water Technologies top 10, Artemis Top 50 and more.
About Energy Technology Ventures
Energy Technology Ventures (energytechnologyventures.com) is a joint venture involving GE (NYSE: GE), NRG Energy (NYSE: NRG), and ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) focused on the development of next-generation energy technologies. Bringing together three market-leading companies with a wide range of deep technical and financial expertise, relationships, services and products, the joint venture invests in, and offers commercial collaboration opportunities to, venture- and growth-stage energy technology companies in the renewable power generation, smart grid, energy efficiency, oil, natural gas, coal and nuclear energy, emission controls, water and biofuels sectors, primarily in North America, Europe and Israel.
About GE Energy Financial Services
GE Energy Financial Services’ experts invest globally with a long-term view, backed by the best of GE’s technical know-how, financial strength and rigorous risk management, across the capital spectrum, in one of the world’s most capital-intensive industries, energy. GE Energy Financial Services (geenergyfinancialservices.com) helps its customers and GE grow through new investments, strong partnerships and optimization of its US $21 billion in assets. GE Energy Financial Services is based in Stamford, Connecticut.
GE (ge.com) is an advanced technology, services and finance company taking on the world’s toughest challenges. Dedicated to innovation in energy, health, transportation and infrastructure, GE operates in more than 100 countries and employs about 300,000 people worldwide.