GENAQ, a young company that has developed a technology capable of obtaining pure water from the air, autonomously, economically, without installation and respectful of the environment.
Water is a right, not a privilege. However, this is not the reality that lives much of humanity. One in four people worldwide still lacks access to safe drinking water, according to the latest report released by the World Health Organisation and UNICEF. Currently, bottled water, desalination plants, tank trucks or aquifers are the main alternatives.
These solutions are expensive and generate a large amount of waste, with their consequent environmental impact. Without going any further, in Spain alone, the consumption of bottled water has almost doubled since the year 2,000, reaching 3.040 million liters per year according to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
But what if we could replicate the natural process of rain anywhere? A request from the US military to develop this solution, going to the area where more than 85 % of the refrigeration equipment in Spain is manufactured, Lucena (Córdoba), made it possible. Thus, GENAQ was born, a young company that has developed a technology capable of obtaining pure water from the air, autonomously, economically, without installation and respectful of the environment.
“Within 5 years we want to replace 3 % of the world’s bottled water,” says Carlos García, CEO of GENAQ. Yes, we are aware that this is an ambitious goal, but that is our goal. It may seem far-fetched, but the truth is that GENAQ’s technology makes it possible to produce up to 5,000 litres of water a day, depending on the needs and environmental conditions, wherever it is needed. GENAQ decided to move its idea of water generation through air to homes, public buildings and businesses.
To this end, I request European funding through the ERC Accelerator. GENAQ’s small-scale solutions generate 20, 50 or 200 litres a day and achieve 50 % more water production with 150 % less energy consumption compared to similar solutions. Managers expect to be able to market them later this year.
A viable project thanks to EU funding
“I had no previous experience in this area, I highly appreciate the role that the European Union plays in supporting these types of projects. The program of the CIS Accelerator is very well designed not only because of the funding it offers, but also because of the support it provides, “says García.
Carlos, how did the team live the news of achieving European funding for the project?
The reaction was of great satisfaction. It was confirmation that we were on the right track. On the other hand, we were also invaded by a sense of enormous responsibility. We had to execute an ambitious project professionally.
The resources that need projects like this are high, would it have been possible to develop them without funding from the European Union?
Yes, but instead of having done it in two years, we would have done it in six years. The effect of the financing has allowed us to make a product, market and sales channel development in a very short time, in addition to multiplying by approximately three, approximately, the figure of turnover, employees and international presence.
What does the existence of SMEs as innovative as GENAQ contribute to Andalusia?
First, there is a very clear direct impact on the jobs that are generated and, secondly, it conveys the message that technology can be made in a rural site. In addition to the fact that there is funding, both public and private. You just have to be brave, train and step forward. Our project was prepared by three people without any experience and we achieved it. It’s possible.
Four tips for any company that intends to qualify for this aid
- Have a well-planned business plan that includes both the technical and the commercial part.
- Involve people from different areas and profiles so that both parties are covered.
- Develop project management capacity: know how to set deadlines and objectives.
- Try your project. That which you have done internally and that you know so well, put it to the test with other people.
More information: Representation of the European Commission in Spain