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We are a startup and an engineering firm and offer

Aquahara‘s breakthrough innovation uses solar thermal energy for emission-free, cost-effective dehumidification.

Why is this important?

Current air conditioning technology is inefficient, uses 10 % of global electricity and causes 2 billion tons of CO2 emissions, 50 % of which due to dehumidification.

In non-coastal regions with little rainfall, where seawater desalination is not available and lakes, rivers and groundwater wells are depleted, extracting water from the air can help house owners and businesses to become water independent. Especially if they are not connected to a public water network.

Our patent-pending solar collector maximizes the efficiency of extracting water from a liquid desiccant.

The air convection between double glass plates optimizes evaporation and condensation yields at higher temperature levels.

Our patent-pending dehumidification process releases latent heat to the outside air.

Aquahara’s rotating-disk, zero carryover air washer uses a salt solution as liquid desiccant. The salt solution is passively cooled in a heat exchanger with outside air. Our process does not need evaporative cooling, which makes it superior in hot and humid climates.

Our dehumidifier is mounted next to a conventional air conditioner, which can run at 30 % of its nominal power to cool the dried air.

Atmospheric water generators

If the Aquahara solar dehumidifier is operated outdoors, it uses the vast amount of water present in the atmosphere (even in a dry desert climate!) as a source of drinking water. Such a device is called an „atmospheric water generator“.

A word of caution: almost all atmospheric water generators available today cool the air to condense the water. They waste a lot of electricity and water produced in this way costs almost as much as bottled water, even if they use solar panels! If they are operated with grid electricity, which is still mostly based on fossil fuels, they effectively burn 1 liter of fuel to produce 5 liters of water, causing enormous CO2 emissions, multiple times higher than the emissions caused by bottled water. In addition, these condensation devices do not work in dry climates!

Startups are developing new types of atmospheric water generators using solar thermal energy and hygroscopic materials (so-called desiccants) that absorb moisture from the air even in a dry climate and that do not require cooling the air. Another word of caution: if they use a solid desiccant, such as silica gel, zeolite, or MOFs (metal organic frameworks), this is still very energy-inefficient, resulting in a high cost of water. 

Aquahara is using a liquid desiccant, which is energy efficient because a liquid can be pumped through heat exchangers that allow 90 % heat recovery between the dehumidifier and the regenerator (our solar collector). We are now developing a second-generation system that will be more efficient and more cost-effective than any commercial atmospheric water generator. If you are looking for more information about our previous first-generation system, please visit our separate web page.

Services

Aquahara’s team has decades of international experience in the fields of renewable energy systems, electrical and mechanical engineering, rapid prototyping, product development, business development, entrepreneurship, management consulting, marketing and finance. Currently, discussions are ongoing to add green hydrogen and green ammonia systems to our project portfolio.

We are happy to help other corporations by building partnerships and offering our services in these fields. Please contact us if you are looking for hands-on support to address your challenges and boost your growth.

Our team members have lived and worked in Germany, Belgium, Tunisia and Morocco. We fluently speak German, English, French, Dutch and Arabic, and we’ve been traveling for B2B business development across Europe, the US, Japan and the Maghreb region. We also have initial business contacts in India, Chile, Kenya and Senegal. 

Renewable energy engineering

Business customers can extend their inhouse team with our support or completely outsource an engineering project to us. 

Conceptual design of renewable energy systems

We perform energy concept studies for industrial customers to integrate solar heat and photovoltaics into their energy supply system. 

We assess energy demand, take care of extension/rescheduling plans, and provide a preliminary estimation of cost savings. We advise on thermal energy efficiency measures prior to solar integration. We use a sophisticated simulation tool to estimate the solar yield and support the customer with a cost analysis of the recommended measures.

Detailed engineering of renewable energy systems

We provide:

    • Detailed design of the solar energy system
    • Bill of materials (BOM) for piping, cabling, thermal and electrical storage, pumps, inverters, etc.
    • Design of customized mechanical parts
    • Design and implementation of the control system based on industrial PLCs according to the IEC standard 61131-3
    • System performance simulation for different process schedules
    • Installation and commissioning plan, Operation and maintenance plan

Process engineering

Over the years we’ve been designing and building complex prototypes and pilot systems. We are offering our expertise in the following fields: CAD, process planning, sizing, instrumentation, control and data acquisition systems, 3D printing, metal working, plastics processing, manufacturing, procurement, etc. 

Project examples (all including planning, engineering, procurement, construction and commissioning)

  • A 35 kW solar thermal plant for process heat 
  • A container-based air processing unit including dehumidification, humidification and heating (see photo)
  • A corrosion-resistant shell-and-tube heat exchanger for a vacuum evaporator and condenser, built from graphite-filled, heat conductive polypropylene tubes (see photo)

Green manufacturing services

We are providing space, low-cost green energy and qualified staff for manufacturing and assembly in multiple locations close to Tunisia’s main harbors. We rent out industry halls that are equipped with photovoltaic power plants to allow our European business customers to relocate their power- and labor-intensive activities and quickly reduce their CO2 emissions, energy and labor costs. Our full-service solution saves time and eliminates the administrative overhead for setting up your own payroll, employment and rental contracts, etc.

Hands-on support for managers and entrepreneurs

Are you a startup entrepreneur and could use some help from somebody who’s been there, done that? Are you managing a medium-size business and could use a hard-working, experienced partner by your side? Are you a manager in a large corporation and would like to bring in an entrepreneurial perspective? Contact us! 

Sales partnerships for Cleantech and Climatetech products

We are passionate about restoring the natural environment and fighting climate change. If your enterprise is manufacturing valuable new products in this space, ideally around renewables, water, hydrogen or ammonia, give us a call. We can help boost your growth as a sales partner. 

Team

Dr. Philippe Verplancke, Chief Executive Officer & Founder

Philippe is an electrical engineer and serial entrepreneur. After completing his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Plasma Physics in 1996 he worked as a senior consultant at McKinsey & Company.

Prior to founding Aquahara Technology GmbH in 2017, Philippe has founded two other startups. One of them, XClinical, is an international software company serving the biopharmaceutical industry in Europe, the US and Japan and continues to grow since 2002.

philippe.verplancke@aquahara.com

Ilyes Ben Hassine, Chief Technology Officer

With a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart, Ilyes was a development engineer at Bosch and a research associate at Stuttgart University of Applied Sciences for seven years. There he was involved in the development of systems for solar process heat and found his passion for working with renewable energy. Ilyes joined Aquahara at the beginning of 2018.

ilyes.benhassine@aquahara.com

Michael Nimtsch, Chairman of the advisory board

Prior to joining the startup ecosystem as investor Michael was active as executive board member of international publicly listed companies for more than 25 years. 

Through MWN Equity Investment GmbH, Michael was Aquahara’s first business angel investor. MWN focuses on startups with strong growth potential in the field of renewable energies and innovative technologies.

Michael is currently best known as founder and for his executive role in Trailer Dynamics, a successful eMobility startup developing and producing electrified heavy duty truck trailers.

 

Aquahara Technology is eligible under the Guidelines of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy for the “INVEST Grant for Venture Capital” program and has also received public funding from the Bavarian Ministry of Economics via the “BayTOU” program. In addition, Aquahara has signed a research and development contract with SPRIND, the prestigious German Federal Agency for Disruptive Innovation.

Contact

Please let us know your questions. Please complete this form or send us an email or give us a call. We are happy to help! 

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