interview

Fida Abu Lidbeh, co-founder of GeoSilica (Iceland)

Can you describe why you started the company?

The basis in establishing the company was actually the results of our (Burkni, co-founder, and mine) thesis. The results of our thesis provided us with new insights that we can actually contribute to improve human health using geothermal byproducts. We founded the company together with our thesis Supervisor. 

Thesis Title:

Fida: “The Utilization of Silica and Brine from Reykjanes Geothermal Power Plant and its effect on Bacteria and Fungi.”

Burkni: “Purifying geothermal silica using electrodialysis technology.”

Can you briefly describe the primary purpose of your company and what social or environmental problems you seek to address?

 The main aim was to increase the utilization of geothermal water, doing that in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Also to create new jobs in our area here in Keflavik, where our town had the highest unemployment rate in all Iceland since 2008.

We are producing health products from a geothermal power plant byproducts. Geothermal energy is a renewable energy that is used in the production of electricity here in Iceland. However, silica scaling is a real problem at the power plants. It is where the silica causes scaling problems and shorten the lifetime of a borehole and makes the re-injection almost impossible. With our technology we can extract the silica from the geothermal water and minimize the silica scaling. We use the extracted silica in producing high quality health products. We launched our first silica supplement product to the Icelandic market January of last year. It has very good results in terms of annual sales in volume. We were the highest in sales by volume for the year 2015 through our distributor.

Can you describe how the two bottom lines are connected: How you manage to combine commercial income and social/or environmental impact.

 Managing to combine  commercial income and social/environmental impact can be observed from the whole supply chain of geoSilica. First we utilize a byproduct resource (geothermal water) and at the same time improving the re-injection phase of producing electricity using geothermal energy. In the production stage of our product to the finished ones, we made sure that we have low carbon footprints by purchasing materials used for the product, e.g. bottles, printing of stickers, boxes, etc., within our area then to neighboring regions. And then we have our finished products which can improve human health. And with this, we also started providing temporary jobs early this year, sponsored women football team, invite young pupils from elementary schools for a visit to our facility and show them possibilities of what they can be when they complete their education, visited the elderly, and joined small events within our community to share our story and hopefully inspire people. These are just few of our activities. So I guess, generating commercial income is a just bonus.       

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For more info:

GeoSilica

Phone: +354 571 3477

Internet: www.geosilica.is