Oregon BEST, a catalyst for clean technology innovation, has recently bestowed a commercialization grant to Puralytics, an industry-university collaboration, for their pioneering work on a solar-activated stormwater treatment device. This groundbreaking technology aims to revolutionize stormwater management by deploying innovative solutions in retaining ponds or ditches along roadways and parking lots, preventing contaminants from reaching streams and water bodies.
Puralytics, a forward-thinking startup, initially gained acclaim for its SolarBag portable drinking water purification system. Leveraging nanotechnology-coated mesh activated by sunlight, the SolarBag efficiently purifies 3-liter quantities of water within approximately three hours. Widely used in developing countries and adopted for emergency preparedness and backcountry hiking, Puralytics is extending this proven technology into the realm of stormwater treatment.
The new system, developed with the support of Oregon BEST’s grant, involves incorporating the SolarBag technology into thin, round pads that gracefully float just below the water surface. This innovative approach allows the treatment of significantly larger volumes of standing stormwater, proving beneficial for environmental conservation.
Puralytics’ CEO, Mark Owen, acknowledges the pivotal role played by Oregon BEST in advancing their technology. Owen states, “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.”
The technology’s multifaceted applications include deployment in retaining ponds and ditches to prevent contaminants from reaching sensitive ecosystems. Additionally, the solar-activated stormwater treatment device can serve as a pre-treatment solution, minimizing overflow situations at municipal treatment facilities during severe weather events.
This collaboration extends beyond Puralytics, involving faculty and students from Oregon State University’s Institute for Water and Watersheds (IWW). The partnership aims to evaluate the system’s overall concept, define key design parameters, and generate crucial third-party test data. Led by Todd Jarvis, an Oregon BEST researcher and interim director of the IWW, the OSU research team will construct controlled environments for rigorous testing, ensuring the technology meets the highest standards.
As the solar-activated stormwater treatment device progresses through the evaluation and testing phase, it holds the promise of reshaping stormwater management practices and contributing to sustainable solutions for environmental challenges.
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