One to Watch: Akvola Technologies
While working on a research project for his PhD in chemical engineering at the Technical University (TU) of Berlin, Matan Beery hit upon an idea that he thought had great commercial potential. “We were looking into techniques for seawater pre-treatment because desalination is so expensive,” he recalls. “We developed a low energy technology for cleaning seawater.”
Matan Berry, CEO of Akvola Technologies | © Gordon Welters/laif
Coming from Israel (Haifa), where water engineering is key to the country’s survival, Beery is “sensitive to the topic of wastewater and conservation.” He goes on: “Freshwater resources are draining out. The planet has a closed water cycle – the answer is either desalination or reuse.” The question of how to reuse wastewater in an energy-efficient way is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.
Making use of the TU’s business innovation center, Beery and his MA assistant were able to pull together a business plan, which helped them secure pre-seed government funding to develop a pilot using water from the River Spree. “The technology, which is based on a ceramic membrane, is chemically and thermally robust, so we began to focus on industrial wastewater”. The AkvoFloat™ was born.
Based in Berlin, Akvola now serves the oil and gas, metalworking and refinery markets in central Europe and boasts clients such as ThyssenKrupp, Siemens, Daimler and BP. The next territories to break into will be China and India, where they are “20 years behind” in wastewater management. Beery’s passion for discovery, which began as a child playing in his grandmother’s chemistry lab, and his undergraduate preoccupation with finding environmental solutions, have brought him a long way.