Scientific innovation

Years in the making

Theresa Dankovich, PhD, invented germ-killing nano-silver coated paper filters as the focus of her doctoral work in Chemistry at McGill University in Montreal, Canada between 2008 and 2012. Her invention uses non-toxic reagents and renewable materials. She showed at the lab-scale that nano-silver paper filters were highly effective at eliminating bacteria.

From the lab into the world

For her post-doctoral research at University of Virginia in 2013, she successfully field tested the filters in rural Limpopo, South Africa. Since 2014, Dr. Dankovich and her partners have field tested her filters in Ghana, Honduras, Bangladesh, Kenya, China, and Haiti, showing repeatedly that they can purify many types of polluted water, including well water, streams, rivers, ponds, springs, and even gray water.

The next challenge was to create culturally appropriate filter holders for international markets that would ensure correct and consistent use of the filters. Through non-profit partnerships, Dr. Dankovich and Dr. Jonathan Levine (Folia Water's cofounder and CEO) began field testing different filter holders and collecting feedback from potential customers, those primarily responsible for household water purification and hygiene, in Bangladesh, Honduras, and South Africa.

From a cool technology to a robust product

In 2016 her company, Folia Water, achieved many technical milestones including design iterations, technology scale-up, product development, and customer engagement and feedback.   Folia Water can produce over 1.5 tonnes of Folia Filters per day - that's around 150,000 filters! The Keystone Funnel™ was developed as a filter holder that fits with a variety of household water collection and storage container around the world, including two-liter bottles, jerry cans, Bangladeshi kolshis, 5-gallon buckets and Guatemalan tinajas.  Case studies of customer engagement through filter distribution trials were carried out in South Africa and Honduras for a total of 6 weeks with ongoing followup.