Architect Denis Ivanov is the co-founder and executive director of Vodoraslo, a Bulgarian biotechnology company that creates a new generation of products for better air quality. The company presented its products focused health and climate change at the Bulgarian pavilion at COP28 in Dubai, UAE.
In a BTA interview, Ivanov explained that Vodoraslo was founded in 2022, shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic, with the aim to achieve good air quality through microalgae.
Ivanov founded the company together with Monika Dimitrova, who is responsible for business and investments. The architect is the engineering mind in the project. The team also includes two biologists, who cultivate the algae and take care of it.
The Bulgarian startup has developed a bioreactor, an air purifier that uses a specific strain of microalgae, which absorb gasses like carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and components such as fine dust particles and ultrafine dust, quite a wide range of pollutants that a conventional air purifier fails to cover.
“Our long-term mission is health,” Ivanov explained. “Through air quality we are helping ourselves. Each person breathes thirty times a minute, and if we don’t pay attention to what we breathe in, the results are bad. Bulgaria is among the leaders in the EU in the incidence of respiratory and heart diseases due to air quality. With our product, we are trying to reverse this trend”.
The Vodoraslo compalny developed the technology and the device. “Microalgae have been studied and used as a resource since the 1970s in various industries. In the last five to ten years, their application also began to be used for air purification. This is a new concept. There are conventional air purifiers, and there are biological ones that use algae. Our added value is that we make a hybrid between the two technologies in order to find a solution that covers a wider range of pollution”, said Ivanov. The startup has competitors in Europe, but not In Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, they are the first to offer such a product.
The Bulgarian company cultivates the microalgae in a mini farm at its office in Sofia Tech Park. It’s a closed system where they control the light, oxygen, salts, monitor the parameters, the quality, so that customers can receive a pure algae culture that cannot be found anywhere else on the market. “Our company is one of the few engaged in aquaculture cultivation in the country,” said Ivanov.
The new air purification product was introduced weeks ago in Bulgaria. Vodoraslo took its first pre-orders in Bulgaria and plans to deliver in the first quarter of 2024. In Dubai, the company started negotiations with architectural companies from the UAE to implement their technology and air purification devices directly in their projects.