Gainesville based aqUV one of four finalists for the Cade Museum Prize $50,000 prize winner to be announced May 16th
Gainesville based aqUV is among the final four contestants in the running for the 6th Annual $50,000 Cade Museum Prize for Innovation.
aqUV was founded by three recent Gator grads. Engineers, Daniel Blood, Rob Damitz and Erica Gonzaga conceived the idea in a graduate entrepreneurship class with the objective of tackling a major engineering problem facing the world today: the lack of access to clean drinking water.
Last year, aqUV’s water purification system was the winning entry in the first UF Gator Business Plan competition. The $25,000 prize provided the foundation to propel the aqUV team to further develop the concept, and encouraging results through the course of the year prompted the team to enter the Cade Museum Prize competition.
Being named to the final four of the Cade Prize competition is a big deal for the trio.”Being selected as finalists for the Cade Prize is a tremendous honor. The semifinals had 15 other fantastic inventions and ideas from the entire state of Florida, so we are flattered to be selected from such an elite group. It really makes us proud that people believe in what we are trying to accomplish, providing clean water to all.” stated Damitz.
Being the only remaining representative from Gainesville is also special to the team. “We are also very honored to represent Gainesville and UF in this competition. UF is where everything started for Dr. Cade, and we believe Gainesville is an epicenter of creativity and invention in the entire southeast US.”
The aqUV Free is a portable water purifier that kills bacteria and viruses through a UV sterilization process. The aqUV purification system offers an advantage over existing technologies because a filter is not used in the process. Other existing portable water purification devices require expensive filters that must be replaced.
The team is focused on two alternatives to power the UV lights that sanitize the water. The first method utilizes a manual crank. The second alternative, a wireless solar powered battery, is being developed based on the result of feedback received from testing the purification system in Haiti where Blood has been on many missionary trips dating back to 2004, and from advisors assisting in the development of the project.
The Cade Prize, named after the Dr. J. Robert Cade, who led the team that invented Gatorade at the University of Florida in 1965, is an annual competition for early-stage inventors and entrepreneurs in Florida. The Prize is meant to provide seed capital and publicity for great ideas with market potential.
This year the museum received 85 entries from around the state. The remaining three finalists include:
- Everix, an Orlando company which custom designs and manufactures high-performance optical filters for a wide variety of industrial applications.
- KynderMed, a Tampa Bay startup using technology developed at FSU that will safely and effectively enable at-risk women to avoid the onset of premature labor.
- Partnering in Innovation, is an Orlando company which has created a technique for post-combustion carbon capture that reduces the cost to a level for a wider use of industrial CO2.
The Final Four teams will make live pitches to a panel of judges on May 16, and the $50,000 winner will be announced that same evening on stage at the inaugural “Inventivity Bash,” at Santa Fe College Fine Arts Hall in Gainesville.