Over the past few Fridays, I have been exploring water technology in Israel and giving examples of why this is an emerging field for Israel and Israeli companies. So far, I have briefly explained the origins of this field in Israel and listed some government and VC initiatives that are helping this field emerge. To complement last week’s summary of current investment activities in Israel that will help make Israel known as the leader in water-technology solutions internationally, this week’s edition will detail the technologies that Israel has applied and excelled in over the years.
To begin with, according to the WATEC website, Israel has come to stand out in recent years for having the:
* The world’s largest RO (reverse osmosis) desalination plant
Located in Ashkelon, this plant is internationally recognized as the most advanced in seawater reverse osmosis. A synthetic membrane rejects salt while it passes fresh water at “reasonable flow rates and realistic pressures.” Though this technology has been around since 1959 in the United States, in recent years it has been widely adopted by Middle Eastern countries, with Israel emerging at the forefront with its highly advanced plant that is run by IDE Technologies, Ltd. The plant has attracted attention for producing 100 million m3/year at one of the lowest prices in the world. In doing this, the plant produces around 13% of the country’s domestic consumer demand – equivalent to 5–6% of Israel’s total water needs.
Overall, the plant provides:
* adequate pre-treatment
* a high-pressure pump and an efficient energy recovery system
* a membrane assembly
* post treatment (if necessary)
* The world’s most developed irrigation methods
66% of Israel is considered arid. The lack of water resources in these areas (mainly Southern Israel) has been the main inspiration for farmers to try new, innovative irrigation techniques to make the desert blossom. Probably Israel’s field with the most advancements when it comes to water technology, drip irrigation is the main method used to conserve water while making sure that plants and and farming land get enough water. According to the Israeli Government’s export Website,
“drip irrigation is the most efficient method as regards water saving. Since the drippers emit the water directly to the soil adjacent to the root system, which absorbs the water immediately, evaporation to the air is minimal. This effect is especially important under the conditions prevailing in arid zones.”
Additionally, the Website goes on to explain that unlike other methods, drip irrigation “makes it possible to utilize saline water by eliminating direct contact between the water and the leaves, thus avoiding burns.” It also “allows the use of sewage water because the water is delivered directly to the ground, minimizing health risks.”
While desalination and drip irrigation are more mature water areas with established revenue streams that are growing, Israel’s water industry is also becoming known for having “the world’s highest reused wastewater rate,” and “the world’s most advanced national water management system.” With Israel’s continued focus on becoming the “Silicon Valley” of water technology title, several Israeli companies in these areas are starting to get heightened attention from both the media and investors. Don’t miss next Friday’s entry on which Israeli companies you should watch out for in this field in the next few years.