Founded in 1999 by Philippe Bertin and Jean-Paul Domen, under the name of 3rd Millennium Water (3MW), the company initially developed water purification solutions by low-temperature and low-pressure distillation entirely in plastic. The objective is to be able to desalinate sea water or distill well water in small modules powered by solar energy to provide drinking water to the most remote villages in hot and dry climates.
The technology is simple and functional: it is the natural water cycle that must be reproduced. The company quickly used the image of a cloud to communicate its technology and explain its concept: evaporate brackish water in a dry air flow to form a cloud and then trigger a “rainfall” by cooling the air with raw and fresh water.
The company was selected by the Schneider group to implement a solution for the production of electrical energy, thermal energy and drinking water in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso) with a capacity of 2,000 liters per day, in line with local drinking water needs. TMW is supported by a group of about thirty individual investors and a team of ten people. The Anjou-based start-up invested nearly 5 million euros to finance the entire development phase of the water evaporation-condensation modules. The technology is called MHD – multi-humidification-dehumidification – and is quickly patented.
The company launched the pre-industrial phase of the technology only in the early 2010s, and brought in a new shareholder to finance its demonstration machines and manufacturing line: Paris Mouratoglou’s EREN group, which became a majority shareholder in 2013. The EREN group is supporting TMW in its development and international deployment strategy, bringing a solid financial capacity, its pioneering expertise in natural resource management and potential synergies with other innovative leaders in the water and energy sectors. Thanks to the association with such a large industrial group, TMW is building its first industrial facilities and ensuring their first years of operation.
The company has been selected by the Schneider group, for example, to install a “rain” system on its premises.
10 years later, in 2023, TMW takes a new turn: the company emancipates itself from the EREN group to become an agile and innovative SME and to reposition itself on a rapidly changing market: energy is expensive, water is becoming precious, and technological industries using rare materials are being relocated in Europe. It is urgent to respond to these new challenges in a world in transition where the incineration of aqueous effluents is no longer acceptable. The MHD technology must meet all these constraints by producing purified water (the distillate) that can be reused and concentrated effluents (the concentrate) whose recoverable materials can be extracted and recycled. TMW was bought by its managers (Guillaume Bourtourault and Thierry Satgé), financially supported by a regional investment fund (Go Capital) to develop complete solutions for the treatment of effluents and the production of chemical, pharmaceutical and food specialties. Relying on the flexibility of its modular and containerizable installations, the energy efficiency of its solution and its know-how in chemical engineering, the company is serenely approaching a new phase in its development.