A domestic startup, which developed a technology detecting water contamination in 60 seconds, has been chosen as a partner for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. It dramatically reduced the time required for water examination from three days to 60 seconds. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is a private charitable organization supporting innovators and companies, which strive to solve global challenges, such as diseases and famine.
PiQuant, which developed a component detector based on spectroscopy, became the first South Korean partner of the Grand Challenge Exploration (GCE) program led by the Foundation on Monday. The GCE is supporting more than 2,500 innovative businesses from 80 countries since its establishment in 2008. PiQuant will receive an initial grant of 100,000 U.S. dollars and will have the opportunity to receive additional funding of up to 1 million dollars if its project shows success.
PiQuant has the spectroscopy technology, which enables the immediate detection of contaminant in the water by analyzing the wavelengths of materials. Using a solution developed by PiQuant, it only takes a minute to analyze the properties of water. The detection cost has been reduced by one-fiftieth to about 10 dollars. The component detector is scheduled to be released in July and will be priced at around 490 dollars.
PiQuant was founded in July 2015 by Pi Do-yeon, 35, who majored in mechanical system design engineering at Seoul National University of Science and Technology. Pi and some 10 engineers, who majored in mechanical, electronics, computer, and bio engineering, at the company are developing melamine and food scanners that examine the safety of food, such as milk powder.
“About 2.1 billion people around the world still don’t have access to clean water and 3.4 million of them are suffering from waterborne diseases,” said Pi. “We aim to help tackle public health problems by commercializing a drinking water contamination detector and real-time water quality monitoring system.”