INTEWA, STORMWATER management and water reuse

INTEWA develops and distributes products and systems in the areas of: water treatment and reuse, as well as stormwater management – including infiltration and retention of stormwater. In order to constantly offer innovative and optimized solutions for these topics, INTEWA conducts continuous research and development.

Interview with Oliver Ringelstein, INTEWA GmbH.

Easy Engineering: Tell us a short story of origin of the company.

Oliver Ringelstein: It all started 30 years ago: One man, one book, one idea. Which man? Oliver Ringelstein, in the middle of his mechanical engineering studies, but looking for something bigger and more significant. Which book? “The last Oasis” by Sandra Postel, a work about a looming water crisis that keeps spreading. The idea? Start a company that addresses these challenges, because: The valuable resource of water is constantly becoming scarcer, technical solutions to counteract this problem must be developed. So, the objective was found, the studies were completed and all doors were open: An engineering company specializing in energy technology and specifically in the topic of water, that’s it! And Aachen was the perfect place for it. The city’s name comes from the ancient Germanic word “Ahha”, which means “water”. Therefore, quite aptly: “nomen est omen” and water the focus of the technical developments of the newly founded Aachen-based company: INTEWA.

E.E: Which are the fields of activity where you are operating?

O.R: The core areas of INTEWA GmbH are reuse of rainwater and greywater as well as stormwater management. As an internationally operating company, we are developing and distributing innovative products and systems.

E.E: Which are the most significant projects in the history of the company?

O.R: Our listed references show a small selection of projects with INTEWA products and systems. These systems save and buffer many millions of cubic meters of water every year. Meanwhile, over 60,000 PURAIN filters collect valuable rainwater worldwide and over 20,000 RAINMASTER convey it to consumers. In addition, there are more than 80,000 DRAINMAX tunnels, which ensure reliable stormwater management. For us every project, independent from it’s size is important. It can be a water reuse system for a tiny house up to a huge greywater recycling system for a large hotel or apartment complex.

About 3,000 liters of greywater from showers, bathtubs and hand basins of this housing complex with 32 residential units is treated with an AQUALOOP system and reused for toilet flushing and green space irrigation.

E.E: What projects were the most challenging?

O.R: Since we are always moving forward with our development, we have challenging projects with new technologies with little long time experiences. There are also challenges with regulations. For example, it can be difficult to run a system, which delivers potable water from rainwater not for technical problems but due to local restrictions, different normative regulations etc.

E.E: What are the ranges of products and what types of services do you offer?

O.R: In the named fields we offer products, complete systems, monitoring of the technologies and participation in research and development projects. We are looking for partners and distributors from all over the world to join our network.

E.E: Which are the most innovative products / services and what special features do they have?

O.R: Our core technologies are:

  • PURAIN rainwater filters: patented filters with lowest maintenance effort for Rain- and greywater 
  • RAINMASTER series of pump and control units: certified by DVGW, SVGW, BELGAQUA with variable speed control and lowest power consumption 
  • DRAINMAX tunnel: stormwater management system with best price per volume, DiBt certified
  • AQUALOOP water reuse technology: with ultrafiltration, unique NSF 350 type commercial certified systems for greywater recycling and potable water from rainwater with very short ROI
  • I-CONNECT technology: enables convenient monitoring and control of all INTEWA commercial systems worldwide, around the clock.

E.E: What was the research behind the products/solutions and how important is R&D?

O.R: Within the scope of research and development, we use our competence and innovative strength to carry out national and international R&D (research and development) projects. As an SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) we consider the entire innovation cycle from research and development to market launch. A successful implementation of new ideas increases competitiveness and supports the development of new growth markets.

E.E: What products / solutions are you going to launch in the future?

O.R: Our product we are going to launch in the future are:

DRAINMAX Green, an innovative capillary subsurface irrigation system: 

As part of the BMBF-funded AgRain R&D project, a capillary subsurface irrigation system was developed and patented using the INTEWA DRAINMAX® Tunnel Rigole. The system decentrally stores rainwater from unsealed (seepage) or sealed surfaces. Subsequently, the collected water rises upwards by means of capillary force. Originally developed for the irrigation of wet rice in Burkina-Faso, new tests show that the system can also be used in German cities, as a water supply for urban greening (including urban farming) but also as a large-scale system for ambient cooling. Thus, the system provides answers to several pressing problems of the consequences of climate change: food security, local heat islands, water storage and rainwater management.

MoVe Green, an innovative mobile fascade greening technology

INTEWA has developed a completely new solution for movable façade greening. As part of the MoVe Green research and development project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection (FK: 16KN091523) and launched in July 2022, the new solution is being developed and tested by a multidisciplinary consortium of different companies.

AIX-Net WWR network for waste water reuse

The Aachen network of entrepreneurs and researchers has now been finally selected from 53 sketches with different topics to develop innovative solutions for wastewater reuse. The centre of the alliance is the Aachen city region. It is undergoing a major structural change due to the planned lignite phase-out by 2038 and therefore forms an ideal basis for the RUBIN programme (“Regional Entrepreneurial Alliances for Innovation”) under the heading “Innovation & Structural Change” of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

E.E: How important are the after-sales services?

O.R: We offer 2 two year warranty for all our products and systems, worldwide. After-sales is as important as sales for INTEWA. We are not satisfied until our customers are satisfied with our technologies.

E.E: Tell us about social responsibility and what part does it play in the company?

O.R: We are proud of our team of co-workers from many different countries, all ages, all genders, all religions. We engage ourselves in different social projects, although our main focus is delivering answers to help our environment.