PotaVida Is a Smart, Solar-Powered Water Purifier for People in Need
The company: PotaVida, a Seattle startup that harnesses sunlight to disinfect water for use in disaster relief or refugee crises.
UW roots: CEO and co-founder Charlie Matlack, while earning a doctorate in electrical engineering at the University of Washington, designed and won an award in 2011 for a reusable water pouch that used sunlight to disinfect water.
The device: PotaVida’s product, the “Smart Solar Purifier,” is a 10-liter plastic hydration bag with a device that measures absorption of the sun’s rays. On a sunny day, ultraviolet rays will kill any bacteria and other hazards in the water in about five hours. When the water is safe, a light on the bag turns green.
Shelf life: The devices are designed to last for a year of use, or a shelf life of five years. List prices vary by order size. Including data collection analysis tools, they range from about $50 to $100 a unit, Matlack said.