Background and Context
Founded in 2018, Singapore-based SepPure, is slashing energy consumption during the process of chemical separation. Chemical separation is a crucial production process for the world’s biggest industries and usually involves heat-based distillation, which is a huge source of energy consumption – 15% of total global energy yearly. SepPure uses chemical-resistant, nanofiltration and pressure, which greatly reduces energy consumption by 50 to 90%. While its technology is applicable across many industries, SepPure is starting in the food oils market.
Q&A with founder Mohammad Farahani
Why did you find SepPure?
When I was working at the petrochemical plant for my MSc project, I was amazed by how important distillation towers were to the entire process. They are basically like giant filters that separate crude oil into its different components, which can then be used as raw materials for all sorts of products like plastics, solvents, and fuels.I also noticed that these towers use an enormous amount of energy to operate. This not only contributes to greenhouse gas emissions, but it also puts a strain on the plant’s resources and ultimately impacts the bottom line.
As I started thinking about how to make the process more energy-efficient, I began to explore the possibility of using filtration technology. The idea was to find a way to separate the crude oil components using a more efficient and sustainable method. But, as I dug deeper, I discovered that current filtration technology had some significant limitations. For example, it struggled to effectively separate some of the smaller molecules and it was not always reliable when it came to removing impurities.
That’s when I realized that there was a real opportunity to develop a new, innovative filtration technology that could meet the unmet needs of the industry. My vision was to create a solution that could not only improve the efficiency of the industrial separation processes, but also reduce energy consumption and overall environmental impact.
How did HAX help your startup?
HAX started with initial prototyping of the housing and as we built our in-house capabilities, we continued to work within the company. The corporate and investment connections that HAX provided were always quite useful. Their assistance with our go to market strategy was also a big help to us.
The genesis of our technology came from the need to reduce the environmental footprint of chemical separation processes.
How did your recent Seed round come together?
Considering that SOSV led the round, it was an indication their confidence in us. The rest of the investors who joined were not only excited about the real environmental impact that SepPure technology delivers but its economical benefits. Most of the investors joining SepPure’s series-A have some strategic angle on our SepPure technology.
How are you thinking about your climate impact?
Climate impact has always been a core consideration for us at SepPure. The genesis of our technology came from the need to reduce the environmental footprint of chemical separation processes. However, we also recognize that any new technology must be financially viable and deliver tangible benefits to businesses. Our focus isn’t on greenwashing or simply improving public perception. Instead, our technology aims to provide energy-efficient solutions that make our customers more cost-competitive and enable them to produce essential products such as food, energy, medicine, and computing at more affordable prices.
Ultimately, we believe that reducing carbon emissions is a positive side-effect of our technology’s adoption, but it’s not our only goal. We want to help industries transform their processes in a way that benefits the planet while also improving their bottom line and operations.
What is the future of Seppure?
SepPure has had quite a journey since its technology was first developed in 2015 under the watchful eye of Professor Neal Chung – a well-respected figure in the world of membranes. Our company was founded in 2018 with the goal of bringing this breakthrough technology to the market, and we’ve made incredible progress since then.
To date, we’ve raised almost $15 million in funding from investors from seed and Series A rounds, which is a testament to the potential of our technology. We’ve also secured over $10 million in contracts and grants, despite not having any products available for sale at the time of the agreement. This is a clear indication of the high demand for our technology across various industries.
Now we’re laser-focused on building our manufacturing facility so we can deliver on our promises. We expect our factory to be fully operational by the second half of 2023, and we plan to install our first industrial-scale membrane system by year-end.