25 May, 2018

The foundation was born propelled by the vision of Alfredo Zolezzi, Chilean industrial designer, but essentially an innovator. He dedicates his work to linking advanced science and innovative business models to accelerate the fight against poverty.

Before dedicating himself to humanitarian aid projects, He led the development of the Hydrocarbon Acoustic Stimulation (RMS) technology, which, through sound and ultrasound, increases the efficiency of oil extraction and recovery. The initial concepts were tested with participation and support of the United States Department of Energy (US-DOE-CRADA). This experience made him question the purpose of the technologies he was inventing and to whom they served.

Alfredo decides to follows his own route and founds AIC Technologies (AIC), a private initiative dedicated to the innovation that links advanced science with industry in high technical and economic impact solutions.

The year 2011, following the Integrated Objectives Model, the AIC team created a disruptive technology called Plasma Water Sanitation System (PWSS), which eliminates viruses and bacteria, through the transient transformation of a continuous flow of contaminated water in non-thermal plasma.  A disruptive technology in the water industry with business potential of billions.

This innovation was thought from its creation as a solution adapted for water contamination problems that affect vulnerable communities, having differentiating attributes that ensure its easy operation and maintenance, rapid implementation and scalability, at low cost per liter.

Following Alfredo’s vision, it was decided not to follow a traditional commercial strategy – sell or launch an IPO -, since the options offered by the market, would not take the technology first to the poorest.

Therefore, the first prototype was tested in real conditions, at San José settlement, in Cerrillos, outside Santiago in Chile in 2011, to demonstrate that it is possible to connect advanced technology with poverty. There was an immediate impact in the life quality of the families, reducing stomach diseases, improving the family economy and dignity of the inhabitants. The experience showed that the solution is not only to bring safe water, but also education and training.

That is where the formal constitution of the Alfredo Zolezzi Foundation is necessary, whose purpose would be to ensure the development of new models to Innovate with Purpose.

Subsequently, in 2014, a larger Pilot Installation was accomplished, comprising 10 PWSS Camp Units installed in 5 locations in Chile within the framework of a public – private strategic alliance. The project was launched by President Michelle Bachelet, and supported by the Avina Foundation and the Inter-American Development Bank.

The implementation program and the social intervention model were successfully evaluated by the Ministry of Social Development (Chile). The most important factor was the real impact on the quality of life of the users: they improved their health and hygiene conditions, learned to take care of the water; moreover, schools and children’s care homes were allowed to continue operating.

Developing a disruptive technology is not an easy task, particularly in the water industry, which offers innumerable solutions, bypassing a mass market of those who need adaptable solutions urgently. However, after 7 years of work, today we have PWSS products manufactured with European certification and ISO standards.The high effectiveness of this process was validated in the United States by NSF International, recently in Argentina by AySA, the government water authority and currently under initial evaluation in the Institut De Recherche Pour Le Développement (IRD) of the University of Montpellier in France.

We currently have active water projects in Chile. Our focus is the escalation to Latin America –  Argentina and Guatemala -, likewise, communities in Africa. We are working together with multiple public and private sector organizations to create a global impact, increasing the effectiveness of humanitarian efforts. Together we will demonstrate that it is possible to change the logic, from a Funds Allocation Model to an Impact Driven Model.

“Several years ago I started a job that pursued to create a new model of innovation that, connecting science and technology with poverty, would allow generating Innovation with Purpose, that is, innovation not only for those who can pay for it. Who said that the poor can only receive technologies when they are obsolete? ” Alfredo Zolezzi

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