Bernardo Vitali Nari and Claudio Lommi entered thewater treatment field more than 15 years ago, setting up Claber Ecologia, head quartered in Parma, in 2002 as a specialist in water treatment plants.

Initially specialising in the treatment of industrial sewage water, the company soon found other markets in which its technology had important applications. These included the tomato processing industry as well as other fruit sectors, fisheries and meat processing. 
“We specialise in treating water in large quantities, containing a variety of pollutants,saidMr Vitali Nari when interviewed in Italy in June.  
The company’s brochure recognises a commonly-held belief that water treatment plants are a cost without benefits but of course they are necessary and Claber feels it is the right partner for such projects to be effective and reliable. 
The two partners saw the potential for their technology inMDF plants and Claber’s first contact in that sector was withMDF manufacturer Intasa, of Galicia in northern Spain.   
“We already had a history of supplying water treatment for the food industry in Spain and we met withMr Lobo of Intasa and submitted our technical solution to treat Intasa’s waste water before it entered the neighbouring river, or was recycled in theMDF production process,saidMr Vitali Nari.  
“We approached theMDF process with a unique point of view compared to other suppliers of water treatment. Usually in MDF production, there is a large quantity of polluted water at a high temperature and this means it is a difficult problem to solve with a biological system because  of the temperature.  
“We discovered that mostMDF companies solve this problem with micro-filtration and osmosis processes utilising membrane technology. Our approach is totally different, utilising our experience in biological treatment.”  
Accordingly, Claber set up a study and realised that the first step should be the initial treatment of the water with a chemical/ physical process and reducing its temperature so that one hundred percent biological treatment became possible.  
The main pollutants are tannins, lignin, oils and other organic compounds and fibre; Claber’s solution to all these is an aerobic bacterial biochemical process.
“We could then achieve the final outcome, with the best results in terms of pollutants, and the water can be re-utilised in theMDF process, or safely discharged to the environment, as required by the customer,saidMr Vitali Nari.  
“Themajor advantage that we discovered for our biological system, in terms of both cost of investment and cost in use, is that it is not affected by the quantity of water you have to treat. This is the big difference compared with amembrane-based plant.
“For example, consider a company which produces 500m3/day of MDF and has to treat 10m3/hour of process water and call the cost of the membrane-based plant 100. Then the cost of a biological plant would be 80. However, if the same production of 500m3/day needed treatment of 30m3/hour of water, the cost of the membrane plant would be 300, while the biological one would be 90,he said. 
“Also the cost in use is due in large measure (90%) to the polluting charge (production in tonnes per hour of MDF) and in small part (10%) to the water treated,continuedMr Vitali Nari. “Independently of the treated range, this allows the availability of a higher quantity of treated water at a very low price. Also very important is that some technological changes in preparation of the raw material [for instance chip washing] can be made, which would be impossible in a conventional water treatment system due to the high costs involved.
“The system installed at Intasa has been running successfully since 2007.
“Our real strategy comes from other industrial fields, with a fresh view on the field of wood products, so we think differently to the existing systems on the market.   Our systems do not require highly qualified staff to maintain and operate them.
“The key word for our process is ‘flexibility’.”