After graduating from IIT, Roorkee, Arun Dubey worked with a pharmaceutical company screening and developing advanced technologies for adoption in manufacturing generic drugs. In the span of the job, Dubey came across a unique project: developing technologies for production of bio-diesel from algae. His project was his first interaction with clean technology, and introduced him to the sustainability business. After an MBA from Stanford, Dubey had a brief stint with McKinsey & Co., dealing with large solar companies.
“That,” says Dubey, “is when I came across the concept of packaged sewage treatment plants [STP].”
Immediately, Dubey thought it was a perfect fit for the Indian urban ecosystem. As plans and dreams snowballed into an action plan, Dubey moved to India and joined GREYWATER, incubated by Nexus Venture Partner in October 2010.
Today, he handles strategy, business development and finance for the company as its Director.
GREYWATER develops reliable and cost-effective automatic plug & play products for “decentralised treatment of sewage and reuse of water.”
Dubey says, “I decided to develop this concept, because, at GREYWATER, we address a very fundamental need of Indian urban ecosystem: managing sewage and providing ready-to-reuse water at minimal cost. With increasing urbanisation and lack of municipal infrastructure, our products are need of the hour. Not only do we minimise substantial environmental impact of raw sewage dumping, but also provide ready-to-reuse water for various applications at 1/10th the cost to our clients.”
The GREYWATER team is an intense bunch of men with crucial industry experience, but ample “out-of-the-box exposure” to technologies and their systems. The core team combines the cerebral power of Mr Sunil Tupe (CEO), Mr Rajesh Nair (Director, Sales) and Mr Sachin Pardeshi (Head of Operations). Together, they pack a whopping 108 years of experience.
“Our Products are built of on 4 key principles: Packaged and fully automatic, “ready-to-reuse” treated water, minimum life cycle cost guaranteed and accepted by all environmental boards across India,” says Dubey.
“With a guaranteed 50% reduction in electricity bill and operation and maintenance cost ,” claims Dubey, “our products offer considerable savings to the end user. Moreover, we have also incorporated certain unique features such as ability to handle variable load. GREWA-RS automatically senses variation in inflow of sewage and takes corresponding actions to ensure the plant is running smoothly. No other STP in the country offers this feature.”
But, if there’s one aspect of society that hinders, or challenges, GREYWATER, it’s the lack of seriousness extended to the issue. In Dubey’s experience, conventional STP is often installed as a façade to get the occupation certificate for the premises.
However, Dubey says, “This situation is gradually improving due to increasing enforcement of norms and increasing price/lack of availability of fresh water.
“According to CPCB [Central Pollution Control Board], only 32 % of sewage is being treated in Tier-1 Indian cities, and the figure is only 9% in Tier-2 cities. It is projected that by 2018, 24,000 million litres of sewage per day will be untreated. This poses a severe sanitation, health and environmental hazard to our cities. Adoption of decentralized STP across the country is the only solution to put a planned cap on this epidemic waiting to happen.”
This is where GREYWATER technology comes in. Dubey says, “We have productised the STP through our superior engineering innovation, similar to the Diesel Generator sets you see now in buildings. Our STP are compact single tank systems that are optimised for performance and minimum life cycle cost. They do not require a dedicated operator, and can handle variable load. Our standard products are noiseless, odourless and they can be installed and commissioned in 2-3 weeks.”
This year, Netel (India), a manufacturer organisation, came into partnership with GREYWATER. Netel is a market leader in providing environmental compliance products and services.
Dubey says, “They have a good reach in markets. GREYWATER has the best in class product. Thus, the synergies are evident. Most importantly, we have a significant overlapping target client base that makes it easy for Netel to market our products to the relevant client segment.
“Traditionally, STP solutions have been sold by regional players that are mostly single-man companies. Also, each plant sold is a customised plant that is mostly assembled by the seller. Our vision is to provide standard product through a standard channel. Netel will market our standard GREWA-RS products to end clients directly. This will help us in expanding our reach quickly across India. The industry will probably observe this team up and try to replicate the model as it is mutually beneficial to both parties.”
Ever since the incorporation, GREYWATER has seen considerable success winning orders against other industry giants. Some of their more prestigious clients include DELL, Club Mahindra, BPCL and Wadhwa Builders.
For now, GREYWATER aims to cement itself permanently as an urban necessity. With growing problems in water accessibility and water treatment in nearly all major cities in India (and rural areas, too), GREYWATER, and organisations alike, have their work cut out.
But, they’re definitely in it for the long haul.