Acuva Water Technologies is on a mission to make safe drinking water more accessible worldwide. They have established themselves as a global leader in UV-LED disinfection technologies that can eliminate 99.9999 percent of microorganisms from water using ultraviolet LED lights. Notably, their technology is under consideration as a possible solution to the ongoing water crisis in dozens of First Nations communities across Canada.
UV disinfection uses short-wavelength ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA. This disables them from performing crucial cellular functions, which leaves them unable to reproduce. UV disinfection is even capable of killing the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, though it’s not a recommended disinfectant for cleaning hands since UV exposure is dangerous for skin.
UV-based water treatment is one of the fastest-growing technologies in the area, and several major cities across North America and Europe have integrated the tools as their main water disinfection process.
Acuva’s competitive edge is with their IntenseBeam technology, which combines UV disinfection with the energy efficiency of LEDs. The available UV power is magnified through optical lensing, which creates an intense, directed beam into flowing water and purifies it with high efficiency and no added chemicals. UV water disinfection systems in major cities involve power-hungry UV lamps, whereas Acuva’s LED alternative is not only low-power but also flow-activated to save on energy.
Acuva claims that a standard order of 5,000 units can save on 6 billion single-use plastic bottles in places like the Philippines where clean water is harder to come by.
Water disinfection for remote communities
Acuva’s low-power technology could translate to a solution for water disinfection in remote communities, such as the many First Nation communities in Canada that cannot make use of the traditional UV lamps owing to the power requirements. The federal government committed to eliminating water advisory situations in public water systems on First Nations reserves, but as of March 2021, 58 remain in effect across 38 communities.
Acuva published a case study where researchers tested their system on surface water in Ontario and BC. Following microbial analysis, they were able to prove that common threats, like E. coli, were eliminated and the water was up to code.
“UV-LED water treatment systems can be used for complete elimination of microbial contaminants and potentially lifting the boil water advisory in these regions,” according to the authors.
$5.4 million investment and international expansion
Acuva’s technology was initially developed at the University of British Columbia and the company was founded in 2014 by CEO Manoj Singh and CTO Fariborz Taghipour. The Burnaby, BC-based group partnered with equipment manufacturers in 2019 and began commercializing their products in markets like the Philippines, China, India, and Europe.
In February 2020, Acuva closed a $5.4 million funding round involving a “syndicate of existing and new investors,” and the money will be used to meet the growing demand for their products and develop teams in Canada and abroad.
“Securing this round of financing is further validation of Acuva’s vision to enable clean drinking water globally and is a testament to the market’s appetite for our technology and products,” said Singh to Newswire.