UV Sciences Tries to Tap Into Water Purification Industry With Smaller and Less Costly Technology
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185 nanometer wavelength in particular tends to break water molecules (H20) into an oxygen atom and a hydroxyl radical (-OH), which are highly reactive and help to break up organic chemical compounds in water. Interest in breaking up hydrocarbon molecules is so high, in fact, (driven largely by new EPA rules set to take effect in 2014) that UV Sciences has three patents pending for a next-generation light source (an excimer gas in a micro-discharge structure) that emits a more energized form of 185 nanometer light. “We’re just trying to make as much [UV] light as we can,” says Chaffee, who estimates it will take two years to commercialize the latest innovation.
The company began selling its water purification systems in March 2009, and generated $164,000 in sales last year. Today the company has 25 customers and has shipped 70 water purification systems, which range from a capacity of 35 gallons per minute to 500 gallons per minute. Chaffee says UV Sciences has forecast sales of $500,000 this year, and expects to generate $1.5 million in sales next year. The question he still ponders, though, is whether the advantages they offer—a product that is smaller, cheaper, and more efficient—will be enough to turn the tide in water purification.