Article Page | Interview: AquaSolix President on water purification solutions
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New Life Journal

Interview: AquaSolix President on water purification solutions

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February 13, 2010

AquaSolix President Featured in New Life Journal

AquaSolix Founder, Bob Lantis, was recently interviewed for the “Life’s Leaders” feature in New Life Journal.

The interview as published in New Life Journal, April 2008 Issue: Life’s Leaders

The complete, unabridged interview–

How would you describe yourself and your job? Do you consider yourself a scientist? Researcher? Activist? Have you always worked in this capacity?
Although I’ve never been formally trained as a scientist, my technical (and more recently my socially-oriented) work has required the benefit of a solid scientific approach, including much research activity. Since innovation is impossible without that foundation, my years doing product R&D engineering made me always admire (and strive to think like) a good scientist. I definitely did not always work in that capacity, though; I spent my initial adult years as a musician of sorts. Go figure.

I found my real vocation when I became fascinated with physics, electrical engineering, and product development, returned to school, and started “at the bottom”, working with some great engineers and scientists at a few ground-breaking high-tech companies. I’ve enjoyed working with some amazing people who have graciously enriched my experience in the various areas I’ve pursued. Over the years I’ve been fortunate to gradually evolve from “having a job” into loving my work, which has become very challenging and satisfying play (albeit a lot of self-imposed hard work). On the way, I’ve done a wide variety of things, most of which reinforced my intense interest in understanding the big picture.

I’m a self-motivated learner, so this has taken me from laser and electro-optics products development, high-voltage pulsed power engineering, UV photonics-processing applications, bio-remediation applications, engineering management, manufacturing management, products development consulting engineer, and for much of the last 10 years, as a VP & Chief Technology Officer focused upon water disinfection applications, products, and intellectual property development.For me this past decade has been one with enough freedom to approach product development in a more creative, yet rigorously analytical manner, and I’m learning just how crucial an holistic approach is for any compelling, sustainably-positioned innovation.

The work with AquaSolix requires me to incorporate elements from many areas of discipline in order to support my core work as an engineer: high-tech products innovation, development, and intellectual property. However, the “Activist” element is a fairly recent one for me, since this is the first time I’ve been associated with a company that has such a strong focus on the humanitarian and ecological mission. Indeed, the big driver is the potential to provide people everywhere with access to safe water.

How and why did you become interested in the movement to ensure safe drinking water for all?

As I researched and worked the technology side of water treatment, I couldn’t help but encounter the huge and growing societal issues that are directly impacted by water. It’s not only lives, which alone is enough reason; the future of our civilization is at stake. This was the main impetus for me to launch my own company, whereby I can be directly in control of (as well as accountable for) executing our mission. Now I realize that my newly found “activist” side is directing my “inventor” side. This feels good and right for me, and is a source of joy and gratification.

What is one thing you think people may not know about this important issue—in other countries and/or in ours?

History will record this new century as being the Century of Water, where water displaced oil as the single most important natural resource required for peace and prosperity. Water is life. Air is life. Being an inalienable right, no one should ever withhold, from any being, access to safe water or air.

Have you always been passionate about social change? When did your life take a turn towards actively working to make a difference?

Although I’ve always felt deep down inside a huge disappointment with the apparent status quo of humankind, my earlier insecurities allowed me to believe that I was flawed for not really “fitting in” with the program. When I learned to connect with my/our/The Source, a clarity of purpose and mission evolved as I learned more about this miracle of life. It did take much of my life to learn that it can, must, and will be changed for the better, and that my purpose is to live in harmony, and so become part of the solution instead of a helpless victim.

Briefly describe the purpose and process (or mission) of your work. In other words, what are some of the main goals of the company and your research and developments?

The first intent with AquaSolix is for it to be a vehicle for financial success, and for me to then use my own gains from the newly created resources, plowing them into an essentially social entrepreneur venture with a mission to enable access to safe water for all who lack it, no matter where or how they live. This will be a very simple, direct solar hybrid form of water treatment, and the units that provide this will be locally built with primarily local materials. The manufacturing, sales, and distribution will be entirely a grass-roots local entrepreneur venture; we will supply the innovations, know-how, and support, but the locals will own and benefit from these enterprises. Since democracy and liberty can only arise in a society where the stability of a strong middle class demands it and then protects it, a wide-spread grass-roots movement towards self-sufficiency and general well-being is a path we must make.

How did you move from your interest in procuring safe water for those without access to your current plans to develop whole house disinfecting and filtration systems? And, how did you become interested in using mercury-free UV light to do so?

These questions lead us to the second intention with AquaSolix, which is actually the enabler for our first intent: we are leveraging our water access and treatment expertise into high-value and compelling products that fulfill the needs of those who demand complete peace-of-mind access to water piped throughout their homes and businesses. These discerning customers do have enough money to buy the world’s first fail-safe, private water treatment unit, which automatically protects them and their families/customers, despite electrical power brown-outs, black-outs, or sporadic incoming water quality. UV disinfection can be highly effective for both disinfection and photo-remediation of volatile organic contaminants.

However, there two big detractions with the use of the conventional UV disinfection devices, which are all continuous wave (CW) lamps. They contain mercury. If that alone is insufficient reason for some, then also consider that for many applications they are electrically inefficient. Being “continuous output” devices that are performance-compromised if cycled on and off, they must always burn electricity, even during those long periods without water usage when there is no need for any more UV disinfection power. Given this and other issues, I never considered mercury-based UV lamps as a very desirable candidate for our disinfection applications. This was particularly so when I saw that a different type of UV lamp, which is entirely mercury-free and has the potential to precisely deliver ultra-high intensity pulses of UV light, could be properly developed into a highly-effective alternative to mercury UV lamps.

For the needs of our customers, our proprietary form of Pulsed UV lamp technology, which we call SafeLight™, is considerably more effective, dramatically less-polluting, safer, and more user friendly. Importantly, our SafeLight™ Pulsed UV is instant “ON” and instant “OFF”, so the unit only applies its powerful disinfection pulses precisely when there is a demand for clean water, and unlike mercury lamps, at no other time.

Have you traveled to any of these developing nations where access to clean water is an issue? If so, what has impacted you the most on your journeys?

Dysentery aside, my travels have impressed upon me the large schism that exists among various living standards. Today our entire civilization awkwardly stands with one Gucci-adorned foot upon solid ground, and the other, a bare foot, in quick sand: the “haves” and the “have-nots”. However, we are now realizing that our own illusion of “solid ground” is actually a melting glacier, and the quick sand is actually situated in rising water, which is coming from our melting glacier! The good intentions and possibilities of the Modern Industrial Age not-withstanding, we now find ourselves drowning in our own self-imposed mess. Despite the diverse range of human culture, we are all in the same boat, are made of the same water, carbon, and pool of DNA with a common ancestry, and we are all physically and spiritually interconnected and need one another for our survival. Any continued and large-scale denial of this fact is nothing more than yet another form of mutually-assured destruction.

How long have you and AquaSolix been working towards your goals of global access to potable water?

In 2006 I realized that we needed to pursue this, so as I was able to start moving away from my previous commitments, I started working full-time (plus) towards our vision.

What are some accomplishments in your work so far of which you’re most proud?

Our earliest accomplishments have brought not so much pride, but mostly gratitude, primarily because of the strong confirmation that we are in-sync and headed in a good direction. An amazing amount of support and resources have transpired, and this has greatly helped us move forward as a start-up company. For example, the interest evidenced by New Life Journal, seemingly from out of the blue, tells me that we are working together in harmony with the needs of our universe, and that more people must, and indeed, will learn of our efforts so that we can collaborate on our respective visions and missions.

I know we spoke about long-term goals, but please share with our readers a bit more about the goals you’re working toward for the future?

Our world as we think we have known it is dramatically changing and evolving at a rate that is astounding. While many of us remain oblivious to it, there is undoubtedly a huge and organically growing ground-swell evolution that is creating a quick upward shift in the collective consciousness of humankind. It’s exciting to see such a rapid growth in social entrepreneur organizations, where people engage one on one in creating global communities working in so many unique and complementary ways towards a peaceful world with the opportunity for health and prosperity for all. This is our space, and becoming a better partner in this mission with our brothers and sisters is our goal.

You moved your company to Asheville, correct? I believe you mentioned moving the company here to be around like-minded people working to affect change. How do you see Asheville fitting into the global environment, or our community being able to do things here that have an impact across the globe?

Yes, I particularly chose to bring my startup company to Asheville because of the unique depth and breadth of an aware community of folks who embrace self, as well as societal, actualization. Such vitality and diversity naturally and inextricably creates positive transformation and good living. Before the move from Northern Virginia, I had the good fortunate to have connected (via his wonderful eco-realtor wife, Christine) with then Director of WNC Energy Office, David Wallace, who is now VP for Strategic Development at Appalachian Energy. David generously and vigorously encouraged me to consider Asheville by introducing me to the wealth of private and public sector resources already available, and emerging plans for making WNC an important hub for sustainable living. Indeed, there is a growing “critical mass” of participants from all walks of life who are making it happen, right here, and right now.

I could go on and on about this, but the end result is simple: our civilization and its only home, our earth, is fast approaching the tipping point of global catastrophe, and our WNC mountain community is now, and will increasingly so, make major contributions towards bringing ALL of our world into an entirely new age. In order for this to happen, we are fast creating/inventing/manifesting out of the rust, refuse, and ruin of the “modern industrial age” our real New World. This post-modern civilization is becoming one of safety with liberty, prosperity with conscientious awareness, freedom with respect for all the gifts from our Creator, and abundant health and well-being for all of God’s creatures.

Where is your favorite local spot to unwind?

Being new residents of the Asheville region, my wife, Nina Anmahian Lantis, and I have begun discovering a few of the amazing natural wonders with which we are blessed, so hikes in the mountains have been most gratifying. Before moving here, I’ve lived in some very “happening” communities, but find the combination of quality of living and the very rich arts and culture of WNC to be stellar.

When are you the happiest?

When I’m fully engaged in being those possibilities that are my reason for being. It’s taken me many years to discover and believe in those possibilities, and now I’m grateful that my life’s work is so fulfilling for me that it has become more like play.

And, if there’s important information not covered in the questions, feel free to share it!

If we, The People, ignorantly continue to not “wage peace”, war will no longer be fought over control of oil; instead, the practitioners of war will rationalize further killing and destruction as a means to illicitly gain their illusion of power through the control of water.

SafeLight™ produces many mega-watts of peak UV power per pulse, which means that in a pulse of light delivered to the contaminants, we flood the target with a UV photon density that is more than ten thousand times greater than that possible with the old CW mercury lamp technology.

Location Tags: Energy Modernization / Climate Change Tech | Water Treatment & Desalination
Global | North Carolina | Buncombe | Asheville

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