Interview with Antonio Cuevas of Waterologies
Waterologies is an advanced water treatment company specialized in biosensors and water purification in remote areas and in case of emergency. We conducted an interview with Antonio Cuevas, Degree in industrial engineering and with 20 years of experience in the water sector and more than 100 installations built around the world.
Waterologies are basic level suppliers of the United Nations group and in 2017 it was named as one of the 10 startups with the greatest projection in the water sector worldwide by IE Business School. They are the only non-American of the list.
— Can you tell us a little about the main purpose of Waterologies as a company and its business model?
Our purpose is to be able to generate safe water anywhere for large amounts of water without previous knowledge of chemistry or water treatment, only with the power of a smartphone's battery. It represents the democracy of water. Everyone in the world can drink water in good condition without having to depend on anyone. And, also, microplastics are removed too.
Our business model consists of creating teams for emergencies, both simple and sophisticated. At the same time, we do donation campaigns to send equipment to areas where access to water is not safe. Our equipment can also work without electricity.
— When was the company launched?
The company was launched in 2013, although it began to have financing in 2016.
— What is the main problem you wanted to solve and how do you do it?
Access to safe water is increasingly difficult in isolated areas. In 2030, more than 40 countries will have serious water access problems. We want to create a help network for those who will need it most at a very low cost and without prior technological knowledge. Every minute 6 people die as a result of illnesses derived from drinking or having contact with water in poor condition. 80% are children under the age of five. Our equipment removes 99.99% of bacteria and 100% of turbidity.
— The company is based in the Spanish region of Catalonia, but how has the response been in the rest of the world?
Access to safe water is a global problem. Sense to those who need it most in their day-to-day life, as well as in the event of a catastrophe, is also from all over the world.
— What is smart disinfection and why is it so important?
Smart disinfection is the one that disinfects water for you, without you needing to have previous knowledge. That's what a smartphone does for you.
— What products did you develop related to that method?
We have developed a team that fits in one hand and weighs 0.5 kg. which we call Pure Water Phone Box, because it works by connecting it to the input of the charger of a smartphone. It is very simple and economical and can clean up to 200 liters per hour
We have also developed a backpack that is more reliable and robust, and that can clean up to 300 liters per hour and weighs only 11 kg.
We also have larger and larger capacity equipment with very low power requirements. We manufacture a team that eliminates 99.9999% of bacteria of 10,000 liters a day only by spending 200 watts.
— Can you tell us a little about the Pure Water backpack and how does it work?
It is a plug & play system. You only need to connect the tubes to the entrance and exit of the backpack. You connect the backpack to your smartphoe and the smartphone battery starts an internal pump that sucks the water and drives it through the membrane. A second part sterilizes the water by means of a contact with a special radiation lamp. Bacteria and viruses are separated or destroyed. In case we suspect that there are harmful products, we can add one more stage, passing it through an additional filter that ends up eliminating them.
— What is your experience in the field of consulting?
We work for several administrations and carry out projects with technological centers of several European countries. But our goal is to be able to carry out projects in areas of difficult access to safe water and for this we are in contact with the United Nations, various NGOs and companies supplying emergency equipment.