Lars Rennerfelt, President of the Swedish Jordanian Chemicals Company

Cleaning Up Wastewater

A new factory is about to open in Jordan that produces a chemical vital for wastewater purification and that could provide the government with a local alternative to foreign imports.

By Dina al Wakeel

The Swedish Jordanian Chemicals Company is due to open the region’s first ferric chloride factory in Mafraq next month.

The company’s president, Lars Rennerfelt, expects the $4 million facility to annually produce 30,000 tons of the substance that’s an important component in treating water and wastewater.

Rennerfelt believes the factory can support water preservation efforts by supplying the local market with cheaper and more readily available supplies.

Why is this plant important for a country like Jordan?

Water treatment is very important because water is scarce and you need to treat it very carefully and also reuse it. The government in Jordan is very interested to secure the environment and to secure potable water. To reuse water that has been through the community you need this chemical, a chemical that is locally produced. Only when you have a local supplier will the engineering companies start to design water treatment plants that use it. From the start I asked other companies here to see if they are interested to invest in this project. I found they did not see the potential of this project. I have built five similar plants in Europe, Sweden, Norway, Germany, and Belgium and it is something where you need to have a long perspective.

Who will be your customers?

The municipal authorities that are in charge of providing the population with drinking water. That’s the start. It is the first plant in Jordan and we approached everyone who is involved in this, starting with the Minister of Water and Irrigation who is always very interested. You also have the largest wastewater treatment plant in the region, which is As-Samra, and we’ve spoken to them and they are very enthusiastic that they will have a local producer. They have been importing Ferric Chloride from Egypt in containers and we will deliver it in tankers.

Are there any plans to export this material to other countries in the region?

This is also a reason why Jordan is a good choice for this investment because Lebanon uses chemicals, Iraq uses chemicals, and Syria probably also uses chemicals. So they will need this chemical and none of them is a producer. They have been producing it in Iraq but due to the developments in the past decade they stopped. So we have a huge market potential in the region.