A general view shows the cityscape of Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.
Aiming to provide a more efficient and reliable alternative to the aging septic systems of Addis Ababa, Israeli company Emefcy will be building an innovative sewage plant to serve a residential neighborhood in the Ethiopian capital.
The Caesarea-based firm is teaming up with partner Today- Tomorrow Ventures Inc. in a $400,000 deal to construct a wastewater treatment facility at the EPRI 1 condominium complex in Addis Ababa. In addition to treating half the sewage generated by the sprawling complex, which contains 32 buildings and 7,000 residents, the plant will generate recycled water capable of irrigating the neighborhood’s landscape, the company said.
“This Emefcy plant is a model for the benefits we can deliver for the people of Ethiopia,” said Ilan Wilf, Emefcy’s vice president of sales. “At a low cost, untreated sewage can be turned into high-quality recycled water.”
The plant will utilize Emefcy’s Membrane Aerated Biofilm Reactor, an aeration-based technology capable of treating sewage while using 80% less energy than conventional plants and reducing sludge by up to 50%, according to the company.
“Existing septic systems throughout the country are often unreliable, overflowing and not environmentally friendly,” Wilf said. “In Addis Ababa alone, existing plants treat less than 10% of the estimated wastewater.”
This is Emefcy’s second such plant in Ethiopia, with another currently under construction at Makelle University’s Ayder Hospital in Tigray, also in collaboration with TodayTomorrow Ventures. In the late fall, Emefcy completed the installation of a municipal treatment plant in St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands. The company also operates facilities in Caesarea and Moshav Yogev, in Israel.
Emefcy’s MABR technology is able to operate much more efficiently than typical sewage treatment plants due to its reduced energy needs, according to the company.
At conventional facilities, wastewater is collected in large basins and aerated with compressors, Emefcy CEO Eytan Levy told The Jerusalem Post in January, following the official launch of the Virgin Islands site.
These compressors require so much energy that they account for about 2% of global power consumption, he explained.
The MABR technology, on the other hand, employs special water-tight membranes that enable the diffusion of oxygen from the atmosphere into the wastewater, without the need to use a high-energy compressor.
Because the MABR is low in energy, easy to operate and modular, the system is ideal for use at small sewage treatment plants, he added.
Although the MABR technology is already on the market, Emefcy is also developing an Electrogenic Bio Reactor, which the company says will not only be capable of saving energy but will also produce power.
But as far as the latest MABR system in Addis Ababa is concerned, Emefcy forecasted that the system will be commissioned by quarter three of 2017, with a capability of treating up to 185,000 liters per day.
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