French people by palm trees in Dubai

It is, neither more nor less, than the most important event ever organized in the Arab world. Postponed for a year due to a pandemic, the Dubai Expo is expected to attract 25 million visitors from around the world.

It is an unexpected launch pad for a small innovative company like Raincatcher based in Dubai. “Of the number, we will perhaps see a million visitors pass by our stand, calculates Franck Bouxom, co-founder of the start-up. Obviously, there are some who will hang on because they have drought or irrigation problems. They will scan our QR code, visit our website and contact us. “

The idea of ​​Raincatcher, who employs eight people in Dubai, is to use potassium hydrogel, a polymer, in the form of grains similar to coarse salt, and inject it into the ground, under the tree roots. Adding water, the product swells and reaches up to 2 to 300 times its size.

The powder then turns into a multitude of nodules which trap the liquid and aerate the earth. Himself a consultant in Dubai for seven years, the Frenchman has invested one million euros in the project:

“We go on average from a need of 200 liters of water per day to 200 per week.”

Franck Bouxom, co-founder of Raincatcher

to franceinfo

Franck Bouxom in the center, on the left Yann Le Coz, CEO of Raincatcher, and on the right Jordan Obry, commercial director, in front of the entrance to the Dubai World Expo 2020 (Photo Raincatcher)

Franck Bouxom has also embarked on the adventure of a French company to develop and produce on a large scale enormous machines of more than one ton, intended to mechanically inject the hydrogel into the ground.

In any case, the company will not have the opportunity to fall asleep on its laurels. Raincatcher intends to order 5,000 machines from him, at 80,000 euros each, over the next three years! A prototype is also presented in Dubai. It must be said that the market is huge for the start-up:

“In the Arabian Peninsula area alone, there are around 50 million date palms, details Franck Bouxom. We are also in contact with California, where these issues of drought and global warming have become crucial. France is also interested in rehydrating the edges of motorways, where 95% of forest fires start. “

In a region where everything is imported, during the Covid-19 crisis, and despite its millions of dollars on the table, Dubai was denied access to many products from abroad, because each country was making food stocks face a more than uncertain future. The Dubai authorities have therefore concluded that there is a need for food self-sufficiency, and the development, in particular, of vertical farms in the middle of the desert … and which will need to be irrigated.

Write to him: [email protected]

His company Raincatcher

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