An Israeli firm called Applied CleanTech has developed a system that picks out the fibers found in sewage from raw urban and industrial wastewater. Not only does this create reusable materials, but it also increases the efficiency of treatment plants and reduces the amount of unwanted sludge in the environment.
The company’s system is housed in a 17-tonne shipping container in the town of Safed in northern Israel and sifts through the sewage before it enters the treatment center. The mechanism spits out pellets at the end of its conveyor belt that are made from cellulose fibers, which are found in items like baby wipes, or fruits and vegetables. There is a nearby coffee factory in Safed that creates dark brown run-off. The coffee beans are rich in fiber, which are perfect for Safed’s Applied CleanTech System. “The material in the pellets feels like the lint that gathers in a clothes dryer and is completely sterile,” Chief Executive Refael Aharon said.
The Applied CleanTech system serves many purposes. The reusable fibers are integrated throughout Aharon’s company. The business cards came from the fibers, and the pellets are sold as an alternative combustion source for customers.
“Our system saves sewage treatment plants 20 to 30 percent of operational costs. The plant will consume less electricity, need fewer chemicals, and at the end it will have significantly less sludge,” Aharon said. This system is sustainable and efficient. There have already been a handful of cities in Israel that have ordered Applied CleanTech’s technology with more orders expected in 2014.