In 2019 Ahlstrom-Munksjö asked its employees to suggest projects or organizations that the company could support. One of the eight selected was Nanomaji, a startup that was born after a successful research collaboration between Aalto University and Ahlstrom-Munksjö in 2015. The company is owned by Jymy Parhiala, Emma-Sofie Kukkonen and Sanna Puhakainen.
According to WHO, about 785 million people lack basic drinking-water services around the world. They often use charcoal to boil water in order to make it drinkable. This is not only time-consuming but also an expensive practice which leads to deforestation and air pollution.
A Nanomaji (‘maji’ means water in Swahili) water filter is an effective water purification solution for personal use. It’s a simple, low-cost nanofilter that connects to generic 20-liter jerry canisters, used widely for water transportation and storage all over Africa and elsewhere in the global south.
The filter is designed for low-income consumers primarily in sub-Saharan Africa, where the majority of the population does not have access to clean drinking water.
Nanomaji combines nanotechnology with user-centered product design, delivering affordability and cost-effectiveness. The Ahlstrom-Munksjö solution used in the filter is Disruptor® which is an innovative technology that improves both taste and quality of water by removing harmful bacteria and other impurities to make water safe to consume.
Together, these factors allow for a water purification solution that can solve the problem of drinking water in both global south and crisis areas. In addition to its huge commercial potential, it has a significant impact on the environment by reducing the deforestation caused by coal production; and thus, a significant reduction in CO2 emissions.
The first version of the Nanomaji filter was developed and tested with the target audience in Tanzania. The donation has been used to further refine and optimize Nanomaji product construction. The new design is viable to become a universal solution for both global south markets and crisis relief purposes. With help from the donation, a batch of functional prototypes have been manufactured. These prototypes will be used for the following purposes:
1. Performance tests in Finland: usability, flow rate
2. Laboratory tests in Taiwan: removal ability, removal capacity
3. Evidence and samples for potential pilot collaborators.
“I am very happy to see that the collaboration between Ahlstrom-Munksjö and Aalto University was successful and brought so much value to this world. Nanomaji is an excellent and innovative solution for a global challenge and we are proud that our product is utilized in such a great project that can have a bigger impact globally,” says Tarja Takko, Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s EVP, People and Safety.