Learn how a patented water treatment system called AQUABION® makes aggressive limescale deposits in pipelines look old-fashioned.
By Mayur Sharma
“It is harder to crack prejudice than an atom,” Albert Einstein is said to have once said. It is similarly difficult to tame stubborn limescale in water pipes. Because in this case too, you first have to crack preconceived ideas. The Düsseldorf entrepreneur Marc A. Flettner has been doing this for 30 years now with strong arguments.
When you visit Marc Flettner in the picturesque Gründerzeit villa in Grafenberger Wald where he resides with his companies ION Deutschland GmbH and Aquabion GmbH, you are greeted by none other than the discoverer of the theory of relativity. Not with a handshake, but by handwriting. These adorn Flettner’s hallway and study as framed pictures. It comes from letters that Albert Einstein wrote to Anton Flettner in 1925. This is Marc Flettner’s great uncle. Both have worked together on projects.
A Life Going Round
Anton Flettner, born in 1885, drew physical formulae on the bathroom tiles as a child, to the horror of his father, before he invented the Flettner rudder in 1918, the Flettner ship in 1922, and the Flettner helicopter in 1936, emigrated to the USA in 1947, worked on the American space program and founded the Flettner Aircraft Corporation in 1958. Between 1912 and 1960, Anton Flettner reported over 1,000 patents, many of which are still in use today. They all use innovative rotation principles to move up, forward – and, in retrospect, into the history books. No wonder Albert Einstein attested to him in his letter that he was “at present astonishing all the world”.
Like Uncle Like Nephew
The inventor gene seems to be inherited in a dominant way. Even if Anton Flettner’s great-nephew Marc A. Flettner – who is really tall at 1.96 meters – appears somewhat more modest. He is content with a patent. But even that amazes anyone today who wants to do something chemical-free against “aggressive limescale deposits”. In contrast to classic softeners and dosing units, AQUABION® does not require any chemical additives or supplied energy. It could be called an alternative medicine for advanced “piping sclerosis”.
“My product has always been environmentally friendly. I have never sold chemical products with ION. And I never actually want to sell chemical products.”
– Marc A. Flettner, ION Deutschland GmbH
A Chemical Reaction – Without Any Chemical Additives
From the outside, the water treatment system looks quite inconspicuous: a short piece of metal that can be inserted quite easily into water pipes of any thickness. In it, a sacrificial zinc anode and a special swirling device somewhat reminiscent of Anton Flettner’s rotor principle. This is to get to the bottom of the limescale. “We trigger a chemical reaction. Only without chemical additives”, says Marc Flettner. His patented limescale converter works galvanically, i.e. electrolytically. You can compare this to a car battery that uses mineral-rich hard water instead of distilled water. “My technique is to trick the limescale. It is already precipitated in the cold water so that he cannot precipitate later in the hot water.” The ionization stimulates certain minerals to bind to themselves. The newly formed enlarged crystals should no longer attach to the pipelines. On the contrary, they even “bombard” already existing incrustations and reduce them from the pipes in the long term. Similar to sandblasting, but much gentler. The bound ions then flow off and can be drunk without any health risks.
When Good Technology Comes Home
“Such a combination of a zinc anode and a certain vortex swirl is only available from us in this special form,” says Marc Flettner. Accordingly, it is produced in Germany and used worldwide, in private households as well as in commercial and industrial plants, over 250,000 times to date. Incidentally, also in the home of Anton Flettner in Eddersheim near Frankfurt. In a ceremonial act by the mayor, the limescale converter of his great-grandnephew was officially inaugurated in the Flettner Villa. The circle is closed. Everything flows, back and forth.
“I am a purist and don’t change so quickly. I have stuck with Apple, AQUABION®, and my wife for many years.”
– Marc A. Flettner
A Missionary Who Preaches Water
But Marc Flettner is not only a seller of chemical-free water treatment, he is also an aquasophist. He calls himself a “water missionary without a long beard”. His sermon sometimes pours as a torrent over encrusted ideas, which he washes away with clear words. For example, he dispels the prejudice that hard water is bad water: “This subdivision into hard and soft water is not useful. Water is actually just wet. For him, reducing hardness means breaking down valuable minerals, even the good ones. You can’t fall for Aunt Tilly from the dishwasher commercials!” His patented technique even uses the hardness of the water, i.e. the minerals, to bind these minerals with his own means. In a sense, he is casting out the devil with Beelzebub. Flettner even sees himself as an extension of the municipal utility. In Germany, these provide some of the best water in the world. But often there are dilapidated, corroded pipelines after the water meter, especially in many older houses. “I try to ensure that the water reaches the end-user as unchanged as possible, just as it is supplied by the municipal utilities.” Flettner sees homeowners and landlords as having a clear obligation in this regard. “The municipal utilities are only responsible up to the water meter. After that, it’s the homeowner’s turn. But they often get no help in the final meters. This is where my water treatment comes in.”
The Proof of the Pudding
Interested parties can see the result a few streets away in a large housing complex in Grafenberg. Their owners faced a water GSA more than 15 years ago. Many pipes were broken, others barely had enough water to take a shower. And if they did, it was often a rusty brown broth. The Fricke family had been hit particularly hard, they were left high and dry. Dietmar Knoch, former technical supervisor and chairman of the advisory board of the housing complex, first went to the health department, then to an expert. Findings: Heavy incrustation of pipes. Recommendation: renovation as soon as possible. Cost estimate: approx. 1.5 million Deutschmarks, today a good 770,000 Euros. Since a roof renovation for three million DM had just been completed and an equally expensive terrace renovation was pending, the owners were as little “liquid” as their water pipes. In this bottleneck, an employee of the Stadtwerke Düsseldorf public utility company at the time – Axel König, who has since passed away – drew Knoch’s attention to the water treatment system from ION. A system was installed in a house on a trial basis for one year, under the watchful eye of the property management. Afterward, the residents “looked down the pipes” in the most positive sense: The deposits were shown to have regressed by up to 50 percent in just 280 days. The water flowed again crystal clear and in sufficient quantity from all pipes. “That was my ‘Aha’ effect,” says Knoch.
Limescale Treatment with Calculus
Flettner’s limescale converters were immediately installed in all 13 houses in the community. Even during the initial installation, the owners saved over 460,000 Euros compared to alternative methods. In addition, the energy costs for heating water could be reduced by a whopping 40 percent in this residential complex. Since then, the limescale converters have only been replaced twice with the new AQUABION®. But even after more than 15 years of continuous use, the total investment is far below that of any other process. By the way, the replaced devices are fully recycled by ION at the factory and partly reused, so there is little waste. This means the environment is sustainably relieved. And emphatically strengthened cooperation. Flettner himself was presented with the coveted international European Enterprise Network Award by the EEN in 2016.
So, if you ever find yourself standing in front of a rusty brown dripping tap and are thinking of renovating your piping system, think of Marc Flettner first. It could be worthwhile!
By the way…
What good is the cleanest water if the bathroom is ugly?
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