To the untrained eye, it looks like trash, but rest assured, says Israeli environmental start-up Applied Cleantech (ACT), “there’s gold in that garbage.”
In a new crowdfunding effort, the company is seeking to raise millions of dollars to expand its cellulose harvesting activities, creating a $200 billion a year market — more than Google — by converting sewage into an economic asset.
ACT’s Sewage Recycling System (SRS) technology enables water treatment plants to bypass the production of sludge by extracting the solid waste before the recycling process begins. Sludge, that mixture of waste and water that is left over after the usable water has been “mined” from sewage, is useful as fertilizer, or, in some situations, as a fuel source.
In most cases, sludge needs to be disposed of by incineration or dumping in a landfill. Instead, said company CEO Dr. Refael Aharon, ACT’s technology recycles the biosolids in sludge, which constitutes up to 50% of the material, into a product called Recyllose — recycled cellulose.
This is a revolutionary commodity, says Aharon.
Recyllose can be used to replace wood or processed plant materials in many products, including plastics, insulation, pulp and paper, construction, biofuel production and more. The system can save wastewater processing plants up to 30% on their operating costs, enable plants to handle 30% more sewage than they normally do, and even provide a source of income for governments and plant operators, who can sell the Recyllose to local manufacturers, pocketing the profit for themselves.
The system is already in use in Holland, Canada, Israel and Mexico, but now the company wants to expand, with the US its next target.
To raise the $2-5 million ACT needs to grow, says Aharon, the company is turning to crowdfunding — opening up investment opportunities not just to wealthy angels or venture capital funds, but also to private individuals who qualify as investors under new SEC rules (individuals with $1 million in liquid net worth or incomes over $200,000/year). Investments can be solicitied via social media, print materials, email and other means.
The crowdfunding platform EquityNet offers investors an opportunity to be part of the only known company that developed and implemented a proven technology that mines cellulose from wastewater, and the first sewage mining company in the world to convert wastewater into a valuable resource.
According to ACT’s Aharon, “We are not just creating ways to efficiently manage and handle waste, but also creating a new revenue opportunity for any municipality in the world. We are also leveraging EquityNet for this round because we believe in the strength of the public force in this industry.”
“Using our technology is a clean, efficient way to create an endless cycle of revenue and efficiency in waste management and to recycle our resources in a way that drives sustainability,” he adds.