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How EFSI benefits SMEs in Europe - BCEE case study: Apateq (Luxembourg), wastewater management

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“The point is that we need to get away from the linear economy and target a circular economy. We need to use technology to be able to re-use the same water,” says Bogdan Serban, CEO and co-founder of Apateq, a company based in Luxembourg that specialises in wastewater treatment.

Apateq deals with the most challenging wastewater, building machinery to clean wastewater in fields like petro-gas industry, the maritime sector and the leachate sector (wastewater that collects in landfills). “As the target becomes more challenging, we are forced to innovate. It’s not an exaggeration to say that we innovate in all our projects, at all levels: mechanics, software, hardware, process…” The result? Apateq is proud to offer ‘the most advanced wastewater treatment and water conservation solutions currently available on the globe’, on the back of this strong focus on R&D.

The innovation, in a nutshell, is in the way the company finds new, effective ways of treating all sorts of difficult wastewater, like water from the oil and gas industry: “When you extract oil and gas,” Bogdan explains, “due to physics and geology, you inevitably get water. For every barrel of oil, you get 3-5 barrels of water. You can pump that water back down into the well, but as wells fill, we need to treat the water in order to repurpose it and inject it elsewhere. That’s where we come in.”

Similarly, in the leachate sector, the company takes water resulting from the decomposition of waste in landfills, and treats it to the point that it can be discharged into a river - always using physical treatment rather than chemical.

At the same time, Apateq has not shied away from moving into new areas: “In 2015, we were nobody in the maritime sector,” says Bogdan. “But we looked at how we could clean exhaust gases of large vessels to meet new legislative requirements. We built on order an onshore industrial sized installation, proved that it works to clients, and today we are the reference, with one third of the global market.”

Apateq received its first order for large vessels in 2017, jumping to 11 in 2018 and 130 in 2019. In late 2018, as the company was starting to scale, it received an EU-guaranteed loan from the BCEE, backed by the EIF under the EU’s Investment Plan for Europe. “Without that loan, the company would probably not have existed any more. We definitely wouldn’t have been able to scale and cover so many orders without it,” he explains.

Company: Apateq (Luxembourg)

Type of business: wastewater management

EIF financing: InnovFin SMEG, EFSI

Financial intermediary: BCEE

For further information abiout EIF intermediaries in Luxembourg, please refer to: http://www.eif.org/what_we_do/where/lu

 

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