Enhanced-Multi Effect Thermal Separation (E-METS) is a thermal water separation technology for desalination purposes.
TypeStartup or self-employed
FoundersChin Lee Ong/Martin Brandenberger
Headquarters1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
The world is currently experiencing an imminent water scarcity crisis. ‘Water’ is the ‘Essence of Life’. Current trends indicate that two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed countries by 2025, with water scarcity issues becoming more severe due to urban migration, population growth and environmental pollution from industrial activities. Current state-of-the-art water separation technologies are very energy intensive, demonstrates low water recovery performance and is incapable of treating high salinity wastewater. This results in high maintenance, capital expenditure and operational costs. At present, there are no commercially available standalone systems that are capable of treating high salinity brine/effluents from desalination or industrial processes.
Our novel ‘hybrid’ thermal water separation technology, E-METS adapt proven flow boiling - evaporative cooling principles used in state-of-the-art nuclear power plants for thermal separation, the first of its kind for desalination and Industrial Wastewater Treatment applications. The system also implements multiple heat recovery stages for feed preheating and re-vaporization to increase overall system efficiency and minimize energy consumption. The technology is modular and can accommodate desirable production capacity according to specific requirements. Elementary modules interchangeability ensures minimum technical expertise requirements, low operational downtime and low maintenance costs. This results in significant capital and operational cost savings for the end-user.
The E-METS system performs desalination below atmospheric pressure, boiling the saline feed at ~70 - 80C. The system comprises multiple distillation modules with integrated enhanced flow boiling tubes, titanium heat exchanger devices and hydrophobic polymeric membranes for water separation. The system demonstrates excellent salt rejection capability, i.e. > 99.97% salt rejection, to produce ultrapure distillate while maintaining energy saving levels of up to 70% against state-of-the-art.
The Unique Selling Proposition:
E-METS will allow customers what they are not capable of achieving today. These include:
• Treatment of high saline feed, i.e. up to 4X higher than conventional desalination technologies.
• Lower CAPEX and OPEX for desalination and industrial wastewater treatments.
• Supports Zero Liquid Discharge (negligible liquid waste) from industrial operations.
• Utilizing low grade ‘waste’ heat and generating value in the water-energy-waste nexus.
• High modular with small footprint. Easy to be containerized for high mobility deployments.
The E-METS technology is patented by EPFL as PCT/IB2017/051497, WO2017158526A1 with positive opinion in the international search report. The IP entered national phases in September 2018 and filing for protection has been initiated in the U.S.A (patent grant in progress), the European Union and China.
Market and Customer Segments:
Our product will be tendered to industrial end-user, leading technology, engineering and utility companies to support their business activities and service offerings. The technology brings value to a wide range of market segments. This includes the desalination industry with a focus on industrial desalination and brine management to supply drinking water to urban populations. Other identifiable opportunities include the materials recovery (Lithium), pharmaceutical industry, power generation, oil and gas, food and beverage and semiconductor via industrial wastewater treatment. The objective is to promote a circular economy through recycling-reuse to reduce environmental pollution and to support sustainable development goals on these challenging wastewaters.
Objectives – Short Term Action Plan
Our financial forecast is to demonstrate a small profit in 2021 upon launching 5 commercial referring pilot units. Profit is expected to increase in the coming years of operation and is forecast to reach CHF 76.55 Mio by 2024 when E-METS achieve higher market share and adoption. In the short term, we foresee the followings:
• Raise CHF 4 Mio from investors by 3Q-4Q 2021 (we are trying to contact investors for fund raising).
• Sign manufacturing agreement with OEM manufacturer ROMAG AG between 2Q – 3Q of 2020.
• Finalize agreement for a 1st pilot system for Lithium brine concentration by 3Q of 2020.
• Full 1st pilot system integration by 4Q of 2020 and validation check by January 2021.
• Experimental campaign for Lithium brine concentration from 1Q until 2Q of 2021.
• Deployment of up to 5 commercial referencing pilot systems between 3Q – 4Q of 2021.
• Development of quality assurance, CE mark for selling in Europe between 3Q 2021 and 1Q 2022.
• We anticipate full product launch of scaled-up E-METS units in 1Q of 2022.
The marketing strategy encompass the followings:
• Focus on the materials recovery (Lithium brine ) market to support the Li-ion battery sector.
• Focus on desalination and industrial wastewater treatment sector to support a circular economy.
• Marketing campaign via water technology reports/magazines, digital marketing and exhibitions.
Our business model is based on three pillars, namely i) sales of fully integrated E-METS units directly to end-users, ii) E-METS modules sales to technology providers (system integrators) and, iii) E-METS technology licensing. Pricing will be based on the sales category and capacity, which is attractive according to market sectors.