Indian Company Licenses Berkeley Lab Invention for Arsenic-free Water

March 2014

When Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientist Ashok Gadgil set out to solve an insidious public health problem afflicting South Asia, arsenic contamination of groundwater, he knew the hard part would not just be inventing the technology but also ensuring a way to sustain its long-term use on a large scale.

"A lot of technologies to remove arsenic on the community- and household- scale have been donated. But if you go to these villages it's like a technology graveyard," said Gadgil, who heads the Lab's Environmental Energy Technologies Division and is also a professor of civil and environmental engineering at UC Berkeley. "One study found that more than 90 percent failed within six months, and then were abandoned to rust in the field."

So Gadgil and his lab came up with ECAR, Electrochemical Arsenic Remediation, which binds arsenic using iron dissolved in water. Their innovation was two-fold. They created a technology that is exceptionally effective, inexpensive, and easy to maintain. And just as importantly, from the start they conceptualized a business model for implementing the technology in a way that creates incentives for its longevity. Now Indian company Luminous Water Technologies has licensed ECAR and plans to bring it to arsenic-affected villages throughout India and Bangladesh.

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Format: 2014-10-26
Format: 2014-10-26

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