Pittsburgh-based Rorus Inc., named as one of the top 16 Pittsburgh tech companies to watch in 2016, is getting ready to take its place on the global stage of disaster relief. Little more than a year ago, the startup was incorporated. Now, its water purification technology is gaining the attention of more than 20 humanitarian aid and emergency relief organizations.
Corinne Clinch is co-founder and CEO of Rorus. She and co-founder Uriel Eisen have combined their knowledge of biomedical engineering and industrial design, applying a new nanotechnology to innovate the Filter Pack and Device for Emergency Water (DEW). Both products deliver instant and portable water purification.
Most water purification systems use filters to exclude biological concerns, such as bacteria and parasites. Rorus’s technology goes a step further to eliminate viruses and reduce chemical contaminants. The new nanotechnology functions like a magnet, attracting and removing waterborne pathogens, such as E. coli, cholera and rotavirus. The result is the immediate purification of water, without the need for electricity or pumping.
Until now, the best response to a large-scale water supply contamination has been to ship and distribute bottled water into the impacted area. The Filter Pack and DEW eliminate this labor intensive and expensive process, reducing manpower by 1,000 percent and total costs by nearly 90 percent.
The reusable Filter Pack is ideal for humanitarian aid organizations. The size of a backpack, it is easily shipped, stored and deployed. One Filter Pack can serve a family for an entire year, assuming the use of five gallons of drinking water per day.
DEW works similarly, but its smaller size and drinking spout make its use intuitive, and therefore suitable for all cultures in a time of urgent need. The device immediately filters contaminated water, making it safe for people to drink from its spout with no wait time. DEW provides a safe water supply to one person for a month, based on a one gallon per day usage.
Once the final round of independent laboratory testing is complete, Rorus will begin large-scale manufacturing, opening a gate to the world’s $18 billion purified water market.
While the startup’s efforts are currently focused on emergency relief and humanitarian aid providers, the company envisions the eventual expansion into military, outdoor recreation and home use markets.