|By PR Newswire||
|April 8, 2014 06:00 AM EDT||
SAN JOSE, Calif., April 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-iReach/ -- Akwamag Inc., a cleantech startup that aims to disrupt the water softener market, has entered a Space Act agreement with NASA. Akwamag will study the efficacy of its magnetic water-softening technology to prevent calcium scale build-up in the water-recovery systems used on the International Space Station (ISS). The agreement is of particular significance for Akwamag because NASA engages in only about 250 new Space Act agreements worldwide each year.
The presence of calcium and other metal ions in water causes a variety of problems. Here on Earth, these ions make soap less effective. They also lead to limescale build-up, which can foul plumbing and accelerate corrosion in metal pipes. Water softening removes calcium, magnesium, and other metal ions naturally found in water. The usual mechanism involves salt-softening or ion-exchange resins.
Unlike those approaches, the Akwamag Plus™ sustainable water softener applies advanced magnetic science to inhibit the creation of costly and unsightly scale that forms inside water pipes, stains household hardware and bathrooms, and makes it harder to wash dishes and clothes. The resulting soft water extends the lifetime of plumbing.
"Hard water is a tough problem that affects roughly 75 percent of all homeowners. But the problem is even bigger in space because the usual salt- and energy-intensive methods of eliminating metal ions are simply not practical solutions on board the ISS," said Tuyen Vo, founder of Akwamag. "Our goal with the Space Act Agreement is to demonstrate that our magnetic approach can solve some tough chemical problems and boost the efficiency of on-board water-recovery systems."
Aboard the ISS, the presence of calcium and other metal ions in wastewater is not just a nuisance; it robs the crew of a precious, live-sustaining resource – recycled freshwater. Water consumption on the ISS is closely monitored. Last year, at the 43rd International Conference on Environmental Systems, Michael Flynn and David Beeler (NASA Ames Research Center), along with Derek Neumeyer (NASA Johnson Space Center), explained that the Urine Processor Assembly (UPA) on the ISS loses 15 percent of its water due to the formation of calcium scale in the system. Consequently, the ISS is no longer water-neutral and requires resupply of water.
This unrecyclable water is a drain on the ISS operating budget since transporting water into space costs $15,000 a pint or $33,000 a liter. There is a potential safety concern should NASA's ability to deliver cargo to the ISS become compromised, so sustaining the water supply on the ISS is a high priority. The joint project will find ways to attain a higher water recovery rate for the UPA by using Akwamag's technology.
Three years ago, the team behind Akwamag set out to create a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution for homeowners who live in hard-water areas. They entered the Cleantech Open Accelerator, a rigorous commercialization program that helped prepare them for venture funding and launch the Akwamag. After completing months of testing and refinement, it is now available through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.
Akwamag was founded by TuyenVo, a former semiconductor company engineer and successful inventor who is dedicated to developing practical solutions to environmental challenges. His companies and products have won awards at the prestigious Cleantech Open, the world's largest accelerator for cleantech innovation. Akwamag is backed by a board of advisors that includes respected technical, legal and business experts. For more information on Akwamag and its technology, please visit: www.akwamag.com.
Media Contact: Tim Cox, ZingPR, +1-650-369-7784, [email protected]
Media Contact: Tim Cox, ZingPR, +1-650-369-7784, [email protected]
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