The specialist for ceramic flat sheet membranes focuses primarily on non-European emerging countries. COO Miriam Sartor will explain which market opportunities she sees in those countries and what the company expects from GWP.
Ms. Sartor, what does CERAFILTEC do?
Sartor: CERAFILTEC is a technology provider for water treatment plants. The focus lies on ultrafiltration with ceramic flat sheet membranes. Those can be used to separate particulate pieces with a size of up to 100 nanometers, including bacteria and germs. This means that we are working primarily in the area of drinking water treatment. However, we also see opportunities in the area of membrane biology, meaning municipal sewage, and we have already implemented projects there as well. Additionally, we are active in the industrial water sector. In this area the ceramic membrane offers different opportunities which other membranes don’t, because ceramic is better suitable for higher temperatures and under certain chemical conditions.
Since we offer a housing for the membrane you could say we are a technology platform for all producers of ceramic flat sheet membranes. Our additional services include engineering, technology consulting and trainings.
In which markets are you already active and which new markets would be of interest to you? What does international business mean to CERAFILTEC?
Sartor: We work primarily in countries outside of Europe, such as the MENA region, Southeast Asia and Africa. We have local sales partners and partners in local plant construction. We train them and bring their plants onto the local market. This increases the acceptance of the technology, value creation is happening locally and the prices stay low.
We founded CERAFILTEC in this form in 2016, based on our vision “clean water everywhere”. That is why we are interested in markets in which the infrastructure for water treatment plants is still being built and in which problems with water quality exist. We see a demand in emerging countries and that a lot is happening there. There are several infrastructure projects going on. However, we do not want to rebuild all cities and build central plants like we have here in Europe. A lot of things should happen in a decentralized manner. Our technology saves space and can be used both in large-scale plants as well as in decentralized small-scale plants.
This year we will increase our activities in China where a lot of producers of these kinds of ceramic flat sheet membranes are founded. We want to enter the Latin-American market and the Indian market as well. Those are big markets which we want to establish gradually.
The German and Middle-European market will become interesting for us in five to ten years when current drinking water facilities and sewage plants become outdated, new requirements in terms of water treatment are demanded (e.g. “4th treatment stage”, retention of microplastics) and new investments are needed.
Which topics and which working groups are interesting for you?
Sartor: My first contact with GWP working groups was with the regional section Africa. I liked that a lot and will participate in the section in the future since Africa is an extremely complex but also very relevant market. I think that the exchange in the regional section is very helpful. Besides, the regional section North Africa & Jordan is very exciting and a great group. Since we are globally active the regional sections are very interesting for us and we look into different sections to begin with.
The working group industrial water management is interesting for us as well as our technology is quite advanced in this area compared to conventional technologies.
What do you expect from GWP and the network?
Sartor: It is important for us to have an exchange with other members, to contribute our experience and to receive the notes and ideas of the others. Regardless of whether we are talking about Southeast-Asia, Africa or MENA – these markets are very different from Europe. The exchange within the GWP network is the greatest benefit for us.
Besides, sooner or later we hope to establish a contact to both plant constructors who are interested in our product and to other completion technologies. After all, we are focused on our stage, but we consequently offer advice in the target countries concerning questions what kind of pretreatment should be used or which kind of post-treatment steps are necessary. I believe that when you have a contact to a completion technology and gain good experiences you would recommend further, our customers will profit from this network as well.
Dr. Miriam Sartor