Catalan Water Research Institute research and innovation for the sustainable use of water

Ecomemb is born, the first spin-off with ICRA participation

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

Ecomemb has been created by the LEQUIA research group of the University of Girona (UdG) and the ICRA for the sustainable regeneration of reverse osmosis membranes

From the year 2025, more than 1.5 million reverse osmosis membranes will be thrown into landfills, which is equivalent to 25,500 tons of plastic. Faced with this problem, and as an alternative to rejecting these filters, the LEQUIA research group of the University of Girona (UdG) and the Catalan Water Research Institute (ICRA) have created Ecomemb , a new spin-off which will sustainably regenerate and recycle reverse osmosis membranes. These filters are used in the most common technology worldwide to desalinate water for consumption.

The incorporation and creation of the company took place today at the UdG Science and Technology Park with the presence of the rector, Quim Salvi; the director of the ICRA, Damià Barceló; and also the partners and founders of Ecomemb, Raquel García Pacheco, Joaquim Comas, Ignasi Rodríguez-Roda, Hèctor Monclús, Albert Galizia and Enric Monturiol.

The new spin-off will start business activity with the experience of having optimally and sustainably implemented and tested more than 300 Ecomemb® membranes in ten Spanish industrial facilities dedicated to the treatment of landfill leachate, secondary effluents of urban waste water, condensate water and brackish water. Initially, the company plans to operate in Spain and the rest of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, and estimates a target market of 100 million euros per year.

“Our goal is to become the global leader in the sustainable management of reverse osmosis membranes used in desalination and other industries, and to promote a circular management model that avoids throwing membranes that still have a useful life in the landfill “, points out the CEO and co-founder of Ecomemb, Raquel García Pacheco .

Thus, the new company will bring to the market a sustainable and patented technology that optimizes the process of regeneration and conditioning of reverse osmosis membranes. In this way, Ecomemb will help companies and customers to align with the circular economy and with the objectives of sustainable development (ODS), specifically, with objectives 12 and 13, which aim, respectively, to guarantee modes of consumption and sustainable production and to adopt urgent measures to combat climate change and its effects.

In numbers, the use of Ecomemb® membranes allows you to save up to 60% on membrane replacement costs, use less energy in filtration with the same water quality standards, extend the useful life of the membrane in at least 50%, and avoid 85.5 kg of CO2 and 12 kg of plastics per rejected membrane.

Ecomemb starts the business path with the Ship2b label for companies that provide environmental benefits and delivered by the Ship2b Foundation, and as a finalist in the Impact Forest Awards (2022) of the EAE Business School as well as the pre-acceleration program of Barcelona Activa (2022).