Interview of Dr. Jennifer Pagan, CTO Aquisense
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by The Water Network AquiSense delivers next generation disinfection solutions using a combination of patented technology and in-depth know-how. The Water Network research team had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jennifer Pagan, CTO of
She is an experienced technical leader with a proven track record in new product development, intellectual property development and project management. She has over 15 years of product/process development, business acumen, micro fabrication, R&D, and Federal grants.
Q1: How did you decide to get involved in the creation of AquiSense? What were your motivations?
Access to clean water is a global problem, technology advancements such as those being made by Aquisense, create sustainable solutions.
Q2: AquiSense ventures to create a novel ‘chemical free water treatment’ what are the negative consequences of the other treatment methods you look to replace?
I think one of our biggest advantages lies not in replacing other treatment methods but allowing ultraviolet disinfection to be used in applications where it is not. Being able to offer a mercury free water disinfection system with unlimited cycling capabilities and no warm-up time in a very small footprint, with lower lamp replacement intervals is very compelling.
Q3: What are the clear advantages of using UV-C LEDs ? Are they cost effective as well?
UV-C LEDs offer an entirely new set of options for a disinfection system, for example , UV-C LEDs reach their full output power in just 9 nanoseconds, and can be cycled on/off continuously without any adverse performance effects. This means UV-C LEDs are ideal for batch processing and can be turned off (saving energy and operating costs) in between use. The manufacturing capacity of UV-C LEDS has increased in the past 12 months dropping the price tenfold; in addition Aquisense uses a proprietary reactor design which has efficiency more than 20 times that of traditional mercury systems. This means we need fewer LEDs which has brought our costs down significantly.
Q4: What are the various devices/applications where you can use UV-C LEDs in water treatment?
UV-C LEDs in our Pearl Aqua system can be used to treat water in a variety of industries including Life Sciences, Commercial Water, and Transportation. We have applied the same UV-C LED based technology to air and surface disinfection and water measurement.
Q5: What are the major successes you have achieved since launching the company?
We have launched the world’s first full production water disinfection system based on UV-C LEDs, the Pearl Aqua. We are manufacturing that product to fulfill orders received in the markets previously mentioned. Unfortunately we can’t talk about some of the larger development projects we are doing for some large OEM customers and research and developments grants but watch this space for news from us. We were honored recently to hear the Pearl Aqua was nominated for a Aquatech Innovation Award and hope to win in our category.
Q6: Can you share some case study or success story about Aquisense technology?
I think the remarkable thing about Aquisense is that it was created by bringing technology grown outside of the water industry into a company with veteran business experience in the water space. I think that is a recipe for success.
Q7: What are the major challenges in the water treatment industry?
I think there has been less innovation in the waterspace than in other industries over the past 30 years. This is similar to the general lighting industry where for years there were only minor iterative improvements in light bulbs, they were dimmable, or had better phosphor in a compact fluorescent. But now that market has switched to solid state lighting and entire architectural changes are being built around it. Ultraviolet LEDs have the potential to create a similar sea change in the water industry.
Q8: Do you have a strong R&D focus in your company? What are your current and future research goals?
Aquisense was formed out of a company that had spent the last ten years in R&D and at this stage we maintain a strong R&D presence. While we will grow operations over the next couple of years, R&D will always be essential since we are in a young technology. We have some research efforts in air disinfection and advanced oxidation processes currently. We enjoy partnering with Universities as that keeps up in the loop with the latest research. One of our instrumentation products, the Pearl Beam, is being used in a number of research labs for wavelength and dosimetry studies.
Q9: What are the next steps in the development of AquiSense?
In the short term we are focused on getting our intial products into our first customers and building that installation base. The market is requesting us to release units both larger and smaller than the current Pearl Aqua and we are integrating other technologies like filtration and measurement.
Read details about AquiSense here.