Eye of the storm
Oregon BEST has awarded a commercialization grant to an industry-university team developing a floating, solar-activated stormwater treatment device that could be deployed in retaining ponds or ditches along roadways and parking lots to keep contaminants from reaching streams. The technology could also be used to pre-treat stormwater, helping reduce overflow situations at municipal treatment facilities during severe weather events.
This start-up, Puralytics, is building on the success of its SolarBag portable drinking water purification system, which uses a nanotechnology-coated mesh activated by sunlight to purify 3-liter quantities of water in approximately three hours. The SolarBag is currently used in developing countries and sold for emergency preparedness and backcountry hiking. The company is incorporating the same technology into thin, round pads that would float a few inches below the surface of standing stormwater and treat much larger volumes.
The Oregon BEST funding will enable Puryalytics to work with faculty and students affiliated with Oregon State University's Institute for Water and Watersheds (IWW) to evaluate the overall concept of the new system, establish key design parameters and generate third-party test data. The OSU research team, led by Todd Jarvis, Oregon BEST researcher and the interim director of the IWW, will construct artificial ponds or tanks that can be closely controlled and monitored, where prototypes of the water treatment devices will be tested.
Mark Owen, CEO of Puralytics credits to Oregon BEST with helping the company's needs: "One of the challenges for a small company is that you don't have the analytical equipment or the funding to pay for third-party validation, so Oregon BEST is really filling that gap. Without this grant and Oregon BEST's connections, this development work would have been significantly delayed."