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🤖 Membrane Treatment

(don't) Waste Water!

Photo by Anton Maksimov / Unsplash

Host: Antoine Walter
Guest: Sebastian Andreassen | CCO, Director & Co-Founder | Cembrane
Category: 🤖 Technology

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:08] “Cembrane [was] started […] early in 2015 […]. And it was founded by me, my father and my brother. We all have a history working with silicon carbide. […] We started with the aim of taking this fantastic marvelous material called silicon carbide and wanted to turn it into a flat sheet membrane. […] The vision behind it was to make membrane treatments simple and economical. Membranes have a bad rep in the market of being a pain […] to operate and very expensive and complicated […] especially polymeric membranes, which the market is dominated by. […] So we had a vision to use silicon carbide and make memory treatment economical and simple.”

[8:57] “The problem was the fact that the water treatment markets for the use of membranes was completely dominated by polymeric membranes. And I've seen a number of these plants, I've seen all the complications associated with the use of polymeric membranes, and also the sustainability aspect of making a lot of plastic and throwing it away after a couple of years. […] And we were convinced that silicon carbide was a big part of the solution of making it simpler to use a membrane, making it more economical, which is kind of a paradox - taking a very costly material and believing that that you can make membrane treatments less expensive.”

[9:53] “You need to take precautions in the pretreatments [of polymeric membranes]. You need to be very careful the way you operate the membrane. There are a long list of restrictions. They cannot endure certain elements coming into the membrane that will deplete it or destroy it. […] You're also very limited in your ways of cleaning it. You can only use a certain amount of chemicals a certain number of times, and often to some degree you destroy the membrane whenever you clean it. This adds a lot of complexity or nuisance around the use of polymeric membranes.”

[12:10] “[The first application we picked] was drinking water. It was born out of the wish to provide clean water for drinking water purposes. […] It's extremely satisfying, treating water for drinking water purposes, I feel personally. But we have also done a lot of wastewater treatment. I think a little bit more than half of our installed base today is wastewater treatment, both municipal and industrial wastewater treatment, and the rest is drinking water treatment.”

[36:12] “We are aggressively expanding our capacity […]. Even though I say it's driven by demand, and by our pipeline, we I would say taking a more aggressive approach. There's also a lot of new things happening on the marketing side, where we want to take the market by storm. […] So we will make a big dent and a lot of noise in the markets over the coming years will hopefully have a very positive impact on our growth trajectory.”

[52:00] “When we look at the water treatment market, I think we could see a lot more innovation and a lot more advanced and better and lower cost treatment of high quality if there were more decentralized decision making. And I think having large municipalities deciding on what technologies to use and specifying that, I don't think that's a very effective way of introducing new products into the market. So I would probably allow for more decentralization and decentralized decision making when it comes to selecting technologies and methods on how to treat wastewater or water going forward.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify (Original Title: "How to Use a Costly Material to Bring Membrane Treatment Costs Down")
🕰️ 57 min | 🗓️ 01/12/2022
✅ Time saved: 55 min