Date: 21-12-2022

Ecomemb, a new LEQUIA spinoff devoted to the recycling of reverse osmosis membranes

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

From 2025, more than 1.5 million reverse osmosis membranes, equivalent to 25,500 tonnes of plastic, will be discarded in landfills every year.

Ecomemb, the new spin-off of the LEQUIA group of the University of Girona (UdG) and the Catalan Institute for Water Research (ICRA), was created under this premise and as an alternative to depositing these filters in landfill, dedicated to the sustainable regeneration and recycling of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, the most widely used technology in the world for desalinating water for consumption.

Its constitution and creation as a company took place today at the Parc Científic i Tecnològic of the UdG, with the presence of the rector of the UdG, Joaquim Salvi Mas; Damià Barceló, director of the ICRA, as well as the partners and founders of Ecomemb: Raquel García Pacheco, Joaquim Comas, Ignasi Rodríguez-Roda, Hèctor Monclús, Albert Galizia and Enric Monturiol.

The Spin-off starts its business activity with the experience of having implemented and tested in an optimal and sustainable way more than 300 Ecomemb® membranes in ten Spanish industrial facilities for the treatment of: landfill leachate, secondary effluents from urban wastewater, condensate water and brackish water. The company initially plans to operate in Spain, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, estimating a target market of 100 million euros per year.

“Our goal is to become a global benchmark in the sustainable management of reverse osmosis membranes used in desalination and other industries, promoting a circular management model that avoids throwing useful membranes into landfills,” says Raquel García Pacheco, CEO and co-founder of Ecomemb.

Thus, the new spin-off brings to the market a sustainable and patented technology that optimises the regeneration and conditioning process of reverse osmosis membranes, which also helps companies and customers to align with the circular economy and with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically with goal 12: Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns and goal 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

In figures, the use of Ecomemb® membranes saves up to 60% in membrane replacement costs, uses less energy in filtration while still meeting water quality standards, prolongs membrane lifetime by at least 50%, and avoids 85.5 kg of CO2 and 12 kg of plastics disposed of in landfills per membrane.

It should be noted that Ecomemb is starting its business career with the Ship2b seal as an environmental impact company awarded by the Ship2b Foundation and as a finalist in the Impact Forest Awards (2022) of the prestigious business school EAE Business School as well as in the pre-acceleration programme of Barcelona Activa (2022).

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Photo: Damià Barceló, left (ICRA director), Joaquim Salvi, right (UdG rector) and Ecomemb founding partners with Raquel García (CEO)