Tuesday, September 16, 2008

BioPetroClean raises funds from 21Ventures

Israeli water purification company BioPetroClean has closed its latest financing round, raising $5 million from 21 Ventures LLC, according to an announcement by the company and a report in "Globes".

BioPetroClean is developing bioremediation systems for cleaning waste water contaminated by oil and other pollutants, through a process called Active Chemostate Treatment (ACT). The company was founded in 2006 by chairman Hezi Marueli, CEO David Amir, and CTO Eugene Rosenberg, a world-renowned authority in the biological treatment of oil pollution and a professor at Tel Aviv University.

According to Globes, the money will be used by BioPetroClean to set up a sales network and fund several potential BOT projects.

"During the refining process, refineries produce large quantities of water, that they have to treat rather than pumping it out as effluent. We bring the quality of the water to a level that enables them to either pump it back out into the environment or improve its quality through a further treatment process to a level that will enable it to be used for irrigation or in industry," explains BioPetroClean director of business development Yael Barash.

The company's technology is currently being tested in a pilot project at a number of key facilities in Israel and other countries, and Barash gives as examples, two projects now underway in South Africa. One is at a refinery in Durban and the other was a one-time project carried out in cooperation with global energy giants BP and Shell. "We carried out a single cleaning project for them two months ago, and we're now working on the terms of a contract with them for a larger project," adds Barash.

As to the potential financial value of the contracts, Barash notes that at small sites, meaning tanker farms for ports, a project can range from $300,000 to $800,000. A facility at oil refineries and drilling sites, which are considered large sites, will cost $1-3 million. A single service (cleaning an accrued quantity of water at a specified site) will cost around $50,000 to $250,000.