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Ecozone Technologies eyeing growth in agriculture sector

kadima, israel — Drive north of Tel Aviv to the city of Netanya, navigate through the commercial district and into the suburbs, and you will come to a non-descript property with a main building and several out buildings. To the unaware, it could be anything, from a mechanic’s garage to a warehouse.

But walk inside the building that houses the headquarters of Ecozone Technologies and one will enter a room where highly advanced machines are manufactured to generate and control ozone used in a variety of applications.

Eco3Amram Fried and Uri Bustan.Amram Fried, head of the scientific division of Ecozone Technologies, said that ozone has two major applications: closed volume, such as hotel rooms or meeting rooms, where the gas is effective at removing odors; and treating air flowing from chimneys or air ducts for food production factories and restaurants, to minimize odor.

But ozone can play an important role for fresh produce by preventing ethylene production and retarding the ripening of fruit.

“This is crucial when shipping long distances to extend shelf life,” said Fried.

He said ozone is reactive to organic material and can essentially clean the surface of fruits, eliminating bacteria by removing any source of food for them. Additionally, ozone can be used to sanitize containers and trucks used to transport fresh produce.

While ozone technology has been around for years, Ecozone believes it has developed breakthrough technology that will enable wider and more effective use of ozone.

According to Fried, ozone is typically produced using high-voltage electricity, which can be both dangerous and inefficient.

Ecozone’s proprietary technology involves a double dielectric-barrier discharge, which excites the air between glass tubes, resulting in micro discharges. Fried said the cold plasma technology expends no energy in heating the air, thus making it a highly efficient way to produce ozone.

Fried said Ecozone’s ozone-generating machines are robust and need very little maintenance, aside from cleaning. The company produces a number of different models, including wall-mounted and portable units for use in a variety of applications.

“This is a small niche industry with a lot of competition,” said Uri Bustan, managing director of Ozone Technologies. “But we have a lot of added value in our products. Also, with our machines we can produce ozone in a high-humidity environment, which is key because other machines cannot do that.”

Bustan said the advantages play well to the food and agriculture industries, and that is where the company views its growth potential.

To take the next step, Bustan said Ecozone needs to increase its volume five-fold. To that end, the company is actively seeking a distribution partner.

“We understand that a few thousand ozone units are now operating in the U.S. and we are looking to establish our position there,” said Bustan.

Ecozone’s proprietary technology took four years to develop, yet the company is constantly looking to make improvements in its products. For example, one customer requested a remote control for one of the units, and Ecozone complied.

“The most important thing is to move forward and not sit still protecting our patent,” said Bustan. “We are devoted to improving our technology, and the best way to do that is to get feedback from customers, which we always try to do. We are good listeners, we have big ears.”