Funds will help company hire more engineers to develop system for commercial use
AquaMost, developer of an innovative water purification system with a range of applications, secured a $1 million from investors, including the Golden Angels Network of Milwaukee and the Wisconsin Investment Partners of Madison, Wis.
Todd Asmuth, AquaMost president and CEO, said the successful round of fundraising will allow the company to hire three to five engineers and lab associates for commercial development of the system. The company has orders and a distribution plan in place and is working to turn its prototype devices into field-ready units. Initial sales are expected within six months.
The AquaMost purification system combines a number of patented and patent-pending inventions originating from the labs of University of Wisconsin–Madison scientists. The core technology is called photoelectrocatalytic oxidation (PECO), which uses ultraviolet light and a light-activated catalyst to eliminate a wide variety of chemical pollutants in water, including benzene, MTBE, pharmaceuticals, endocrine disruptors and pesticides, as well as harmful waterborne pathogens such as bacteria, fungi and viruses.
The technology originally was developed by UW researchers as a solution to problems in the aquaculture industry. As the research progressed, it became clear that the PECO technology had potential for many uses, including hazardous waste cleanup and industrial remediation.
Terence Barry currently serves as the company’s chief scientific officer, while UW research co-founders Marc Anderson, Dean Tompkins and Walt Zeltner serve on the company’s scientific advisory board. The patents covering the core technology and other innovations are assigned to the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and licensed exclusively to AquaMost.
AquaMost’s first strategic partner is a leading provider of custom environmental treatment systems that now provides remediation support for more than 300 of the nation’s 136,000 verified leaking underground storage tanks. Extensive testing in the lab and field has proven the system’s effectiveness at remediating viruses, bacteria and chemical pollutants in water with low energy consumption.
In addition to the $1 million in venture financing, AquaMost has submitted a proposal for a phase II Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue advancing the findings of an initial project from 2008 to 2009. The company currently employs five people and anticipates total employment of eight to 12 by the end of 2011.