«Our technology allows great savings for water plants» – El Diario Vasco

When San Sebastian native Iliane Rafaniello (doctor in applied chemistry and polymers) talks about Surphase, the company she created in 2018 with her partner, the German Thomas Schäfer, her face lights up. “I’ve gotten older since then,” she says, laughing, underscoring that going from dream to reality is a hard road. But they have achieved it. They have developed and patented a technology that allows “great cost savings to drinking water production and treatment plants.” For example, in desalination plants, facilities that are proliferating around the world.

And the firm offers a system for early detection of the fouling of the membranes that (in huge quantities) these plants use. “A system with a sensitivity that exceeds conventional technologies by three orders of magnitude”, she explains.

Surphase has predictive algorithms that allow us to know well in advance what is going to happen to these membranes; whether they will have fouling or not, and all in real time. Knowledge that is inserted in small devices (only one square centimeter) that are placed next to the membranes and that are manufactured in Gipuzkoa.

Taking into account that maintenance stops are not made until something goes wrong, Rafaniello’s technology allows us to shorten the times of these stops by up to 60% and, therefore, their cost.

With eight people already in a multidisciplinary team, Surphase is at the moment of wanting to take the leap into the industrialization of its product, complete the certification and, with an eye on 2025, begin its commercial deployment. For this, a financing round is open. Rafaniello and Schäfer do not stop, and are already thinking about other sectors such as petrochemicals, food or biomedical.

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