Providing access to clean drinking water everywhere, with a push of a button
Developed by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) postdoctoral associate, Junghyo Yoon, electrical and biological engineering professor, Jongyoon Han, and graduate student, Bruce Crawford, NONA Technologies is a portable, solar-charged desalination unit that removes viruses, bacteria, salt and debris from seawater. A compact unit no larger than a briefcase, NONA Technologies’ innovation aims to provide individuals and communities access to clean water no matter the circumstance, by making water desalination technology less complicated, more practical and less costly.
NONA Technologies is a spinout company from the 2021 Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) Solutions Grant, through which the desalination unit received funding in order to be developed into a commercially viable solution. Unlike desalination technologies developed previously, NONA Technologies’ solution does not rely on thermal distillation or reverse osmosis but rather on Ion Concentration Polarisation (ICO)—and is the first commercial application of this technological breakthrough. NONA can separate salt and bacteria from water using electrical current, without the need for a pump or for water to pass through a membrane, and can be charged with a solar-powered battery. Additionally, NONA enables safe use (and re-use) of water that is readily available to individuals without the need to seek external water sources which are potentially destructive to the environment.
In 2021, NONA’s founders, Junghyo and Jongyoon, also received the Creative Communications Judges Choice Award in J-WAFS’ World Water Day Video Competition with their innovation, ICPWaterTech—now NONA Technologies. In 2022, NONA Technologies won the 2022 MIT $100K entrepreneurship competition and a year later its co-founders Jongyoon and Junghyo received the Acorn innovation award, which grants seed funding to help Massachusetts research institutions bring new technologies closer to market. In the same year, NONA Technologies achieved the bronze award in the LG Electronics (LG) ‘Life’s good award’, an initiative to support global innovators who are forging solutions to create a better life for all and received $25,000 for winning the 2023 ASU Innovation Open Global Technology for Social Equity prize.