Interview by Gary Thomas
Arik Dayan, CEO of Amiad Water Systems Ltd, talks to Gary Thomas regarding the need for clean, sustainable water supplies in the latest AZoCleantech ‘Insights from Industry' article.
GT: Could you please provide a brief introduction to the industry that Amiad works within and outline the key drivers?
AD: Amiad operates in the global market for water treatment and filtration solutions. We service the industrial, municipal, irrigation, oil & gas and ballast water segments.
There are several key drivers for these markets. Climate change is rendering water an ever scarcer resource. At the same time, population growth puts added pressure on the finite amount of water for drinking, but also for food production as well as a myriad of other uses. This is particularly significant in developing countries where modernization generates additional demand for using water for industrial purposes. Equally, there is increasing regulation worldwide, and especially in developing countries which previously lacked such standards, to manage the quality of water, including waste water being released into the environment. In particular, regulation brought in by the International Maritime Organization is a significant driver for solutions and services in the ballast water industry.
GT: Could you please give a brief overview of Amiad Ltd?
AD: Amiad is a producer of water treatment and filtration solutions. Established in 1962, the headquarters are in Israel and we have grown to include nine subsidiaries worldwide, with 690 employees in total, as well as a network of 170 distributors. We provide solutions to a broad range of clients, spanning 70 countries, including established end-users such as Air Liquide, Bayer AG, Ondeo, Veolia and BHEL.
GT: Amiad is one of the few water filtration manufacturers to offer suction-scanning technology-could you explain how this works and the benefits of this?
AD: Suction-scanning technology enables the automatic, efficient self-cleaning of the filter – to optimise the filtration process. The suction-scanning filters incorporate a multi-layer stainless steel screen. As the suspended solids accumulate on the screens during the filtration process, the pressure differential triggers the self-cleaning mechanism whereby a focused flush rapidly and totally removes the filter cake.
Amiad’s suction-scanning technology uses less than 1% of the total process water for cleaning. Cleaning only ‘as needed’, results in minimal water and energy waste. Equally, suction-scanning technology eliminates the need for isolating the filter during the cleaning cycle, which, along with the minimal exhaust requirement, enables an uninterrupted process flow.
GT: What are some of the key advantages to your filtration systems and how are these unique in the field?
AD: Amiad’s solutions have several key advantages with unique features and patented technologies. We are one of the largest water filtration companies with a variety of technological water filtration solutions based on our 3 brands – Amiad, Arkal and Filtomat.
Our solutions don’t use chemicals or polymers; use a bare minimum of back flush water with less than 1% of the total flow being used during cleaning; and many of the systems don’t even require electricity. In addition, with very few moving parts, they are low maintenance, and their small size saves valuable installation space. As such, they are environmentally sound, and have a low investment and operating cost per cubic meter of water.
GT: In what situations are you instruments commonly used?
AD: Amiad’s solutions are used in many different situations as we service a broad range of industries and clients. What these situations have in common, however, is that they all want to produce clean water using efficient, reliable and environmentally-friendly solutions. On some occasions, our solutions might be used in isolation – such as for recycling water on a golf course or providing clean water for farming – and on other occasions, our systems will form part of a larger solution, such as at a desalination plant where Amiad’s technology will protect the ultra filtration membranes to ensure a more efficient overall cleaning process.
GT: Could you tell us about a successful case study involving Amiad?
AD: Traditionally, South Australia has always relied on the River Murray for about 40% of its water supply in regular years while in drought years up to 90% may come from this one finite source. With a growing population, this situation is worsening. To ensure a secure water supply and reduce the area’s dependence on the River Murray, the government decided to build a desalination plant at Adelaide to supply 13,000 m3 per hour of desalinated water. The plant required the installation of a pre-treatment system with a capacity of 26,000 m3 per hour, which would be supplied by water from the sea. The plant was also required to be efficient, and have a reduced energy use and need for chemicals.
Amiad met these demands by deploying our Arkal disc filtration technology for the preliminary filtration stage for protecting the UF membranes. The solution also included polymeric constructed manifolds so that all the system components were seawater-resistant. To save energy, the filters were rinsed by an external water source at a pressure of 3.5 bar.
GT: Amiad is currently celebrating its 50th anniversary: how has the water purification industry changed in this time?
AD: Over the past 50 years the world’s population has increased tremendously, industrial and technological growth has significantly raised pollution levels, and social awareness of the greenhouse effects on the earth and its resources have resulted in a higher demand for clean water. This has caused the industry to search for new technologies, solutions and products that will provide satisfy this need.
GT: Your pledge is to deliver clean water using clean technology: How do you strive to achieve this?
AD: Amiad’s solutions are chemical-free, use a minimum amount of back wash water to avoid waste and use a minimal amount – if any – of electricity.
GT: How can the water filtration systems benefit the environment?
AD: Amiad’s solutions enable the recycling and reclamation of water – one of the world’s most precious resources. They also do this in a manner that is most beneficial for the environment by being efficient, chemical-free and using a minimal amount of electricity.
GT: Amiad has recently signed a contract with Mekorot Group’s Ashdod Desalination Plant, Israel-could you tell us more about this please?
AD: The contract is for the provision of an Arkal Super Galaxy automatic self-cleaning disc filtration system (SpinKlin R) for the protection of ultra-filtration membranes at the Mekorot Group's Ashdod Desalination Plant. Amiad’s system will have a filtration degree of 100 micron and will be required to withstand a flow rate of 40,000 cubic metres per hour. The Ashdod Desalination Plant, which is due to commence operation in early 2013, will be one of the largest such facilities in Israel, producing 100 million cubic metres of water per year and accounting for approximately 15% of Israeli domestic water consumption.
GT: How do you see the future of water filtration progressing over the next 10 years?
AD: There are several growing and emerging trends in the filtration and water treatment industry.
As the countries of the emerging markets continue to develop, there’ll be an increasing need for infrastructure. Similarly, as they adopt environmental regulations, clean solutions such as Amiad’s are increasingly in demand.
The shipping industry and its ballast water requirements is a growing segment within the water treatment and filtration market. This is due to the recent Conventions of the International Maritime Organization that impose certain criteria not only on new builds but also existing ships.
The key industry trend, however, is the shift from municipal to private investment in infrastructure as demand declines from the municipal segment and grows from the industrial segment. While public sources of finance remain under especial pressure, much of the private sector – particularly mining and natural resources – remains robust. Equally, rather than investing in a solution for its environmental benefits, now the key driver is commercial output. Water intensive industries, for example, will invest in water technologies that will enable them to use water more efficiently, and recovering value from brine will become more important than reducing energy consumption. These trends are already visible, which is why we have expanded our target segments to include the oil & gas industry.