x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Drinking in a new, eco-friendly way to provide cleaner water

Entrepreneur is advocating a process to disinfect water without harmful chemicals.

Sami Moughrabie takes a drink at Dubai Investments Park.
Sami Moughrabie takes a drink at Dubai Investments Park.

Sami Moughrabie is confident water will be the next oil in the Mena region.

The 28-year-old Syrian-French entrepreneur is advocating a new way to disinfect water that will leave it cleaner, without using harmful chemicals.

Mr Moughrabie's company, TwinOxide MENA, would upgrade 160 years of water disinfection technology in an eco-friendly manner.

The company has been approved by the Dubai and Abu Dhabi municipalities. The tests that the cities performed have proven TwinOxide's effectiveness.

"A 20th-century solution for 21st- century problems is not the way for the future," he said.

TwinOxide MENA produces a two-powder component kit that is used to generate chlorine dioxide in a solution. It is a complete water disinfection concept that abandons the use of hazardous biocides like chlorine.

"I realised there was huge potential in the Mena region for clean water with no harmful by-products," Mr Moughrabie said. "There are many bacteria and viruses that have become immune to the traditional disinfectants, and this is where we come in."

One of the biggest challenges was breaking into a market that has had a monopoly on water disinfection for so long.

By being able to fix the problems that conventional disinfectants cannot fix, such as microbial immunity, bromate reduction and corrosion, Mr Moughrabie has been able to appeal to the UAE's push towards safety and environmentally sound technologies.

TwinOxide MENA is potentially valuable in the UAE because of the way it generates chlorine dioxide. Mr Moughrabie explained that the existing problems were large equipment, dangerous chemicals and generators that could lead to leakages, explosions and cancerous by-products.

He said his product was unique "because it produces a highly pure and stable chlorine dioxide solution without a generator. Only a dosage pump is needed, and no new hardware needs to be purchased and installed, as it is plug and play with any existing system".

Bassem Halabi, of Metito, pioneers in the design and supply of water, wastewater treatment and desalination systems in the UAE and Mena region, acknowledged the benefits of chlorine dioxide.

Mr Halabi explained that in the UAE, "chlorine gas is being replaced with other forms of disinfectants, and there are barely any factories left producing chlorine gas because it is dangerous".

"Chlorine dioxide is a better disinfectant both technically, because it provides a better residual, and environmentally. It's been proven better," he said.

TwinOxide MENA tackles a variety of problems facing the UAE's clean- water supply, primarily removing all bacteria and viruses common in water, and other harmful chemicals such as bromate ions that are present as a result of desalination.

"In the UAE, water is stored outside in warm temperatures, which is the perfect environment for bacteria and viruses to flourish," Mr Moughrabie said. "TwinOxide kills all known micro-organisms common in water. What makes us legitimate is that we are approved in over 40 countries, and chlorine dioxide is listed in the [World Health Organisation] guidelines for drinking water quality.

"The next step is to implement the product where it is needed in the UAE across numerous applications such as potable water treatment in all facilities, desalination and so on," Mr Moughrabie said. "We are doing the same in the rest of the region."

The former derivatives trader said he had made a long-term commitment to clean water.

"Access to clean drinking water will always be the most important humanitarian and geopolitical factor facing our society," he said.

cmalek@thenational.ae