The startup VitalFluid developed plasma units that produce plasma-activated water (PAW). PAW has unique temporary properties that we can exploit for hygiene purposes. ‘The Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) not only provides us with grants and financing but also helps us in a range of other areas,’ says Paul Leenders, one of the founders of VitalFluid.
VitalFluid produces PAW by making use of water, air and electricity. It brings ambient air into the plasma phase with electrical energy. Then it brings the activated air into contact with water, resulting in PAW. The process of treating water using plasma is replicated from nature. This is called ‘biomimicry’. In this case, the biomimicry is based on the phenomenon of thunderstorms, where rain and water come into contact with lightning.
After the activation process, PAW is imbued with unique temporary properties that we can exploit for hygiene purposes. We can use the benefits of these temporary, sustainable and hygiene properties in many agricultural, medical and cleaning applications.
The second advantage of PAW is that its hygiene properties diminish over time, and the reactive components return to their original state. The resulting water is high in nitrate, making it a perfect natural fertiliser.
In 2014 by Paul Leenders and Polo van Ooij founded VitalFluid. Paul is a creative entrepreneur with a background in chemistry. Polo is an electrical engineer at the Eindhoven University of Technology. They met during their joint research into plasma technology. The team realised the value of plasma technology and its suitability for a whole host of sustainable applications. They decided to devote their professional careers to tapping into its enormous potential. Paul and Polo joined forces with Eindhoven University of Technology. VitalFluid was born.
VitalFluid primarily targets the agricultural sector and aims to use the process it developed to contribute to more sustainable food production. By 2027, VitalFluid intends to be the market leader in
- sustainable nitrogen fixation;
- sustainable seed treatment;
- an alternative to chemical pesticides.
Support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency
VitalFluid contacted the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) in 2016. Its application for early-phase financing was approved in June 2017. ‘Since then RVO helped us draw up a Horizon 2020 SME grant application. We also received useful feedback on our SME pitch. This project was completed at the end of 2021. RVO supported us in many areas besides grants and financing. We found its support extremely valuable, and hope to continue our collaboration in the future. For us, RVO is like a professional help desk, which often supports us and comes up with solutions,’ says Paul.
Tips for other startups with global ambitions
- Stay focused, set objectives and try to stick to them.
- Expand your network by bringing in organisations such as RVO.
- Above all, don’t give up – there is always sunshine after a storm!
Get support at RVO
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