Finnova Foundation

Startup Europe Accelerator COVID-19 CHALLENGE

An initiative of the Finnovaregio Foundation to identify innovative ideas and projects that can help in our fight against COVID-19, other viruses and similar health problems.

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Learn about some of the challenges ahead and innovative examples that can contribute to the fight against #COVID19.


This challenge aims to promote efficient methods to decontaminate viruses and bacteria (COVID-19, legionella…) in the water cycle (pipes and air conditioning systems) of hospitals, nursing homes or other centers, such as hotels or other tourist accommodations. Recent studies show the coexistence of these bacteria with COVID-19 in places such as hospitals and in this case when both circumstances occur the effect is deadly.

Example of projects of this type is in the patented Hapi valve, it is installed before the water valves and is through the thermal shock with chlorine when it eliminates all bacteria, viruses, ultimately pathogens in the water. The process is carried out through hyperchlorination, dragging the sediments and preventing them from reaching the faucet. The taps are decontaminated for a week, after which a manual or automatic cleaning process is established.


Sewage is a vector for the transmission of viruses that cause millions of deaths each year worldwide. Bacteria such as ecoli, viruses such as COVID-19 or other pathogens such as dengue, malaria or legionella are transmitted by wastewater. For this reason, water from wastewater treatment plants is discharged into the sea or rivers on the coast to avoid contamination by irrigation in agriculture. This challenge aims to identify low-cost disruptive technologies to remove viruses and bacteria from treated water.

We are looking for innovations such as the Apsu Microwave Reactor, which with a very low energy cost destroys the bacterial molecular structure, destroys the chain of microplastics, microfibers and drugs such as a simple ibuprofen and oncological drugs, guaranteeing that the water can be used for irrigation and without releasing viruses or bacteria. APSU is a Canarian company winner of the Startup Europe Awards 2017, recognized by neotec of the CDTI and H2020 Seal of Excellence of the European Commission.


Hospital and nursing home waste is a source of bacterial contamination at source, transport and management.

An example is this Spanish patent of the startup Azahar that allows to manage “in situ” waste that generates a large volume such as diapers, organic kitchen waste, paper, etc. in a sealed container (2X6m, 2X8m) that biostabilizes and sanitizes the waste (raises the temperature up to 90º without energy cost ending with viruses and bacteria such as COVID-19, legionella or ECOLI transforming it into CDR, fuel for the polyfuel boiler for heating and hot water. This system transforms infectious waste into energy safely in the same facility. Diapers are infectious waste, and present a risk to workers and to the entire waste management chain all the way to the triage and waste management plants. It is a cost-effective and efficient system awarded by EU H2020 to deal with diapers, urine and serum, sanitary materials as well as waste or food scraps.


The Pandemic questions the processes of transport and management of domestic waste and recalls episodes of recent closures of waste treatment plants (Bilbao) due to viral contamination of the workforce. This crisis generates the challenge of public hygiene, in many countries operators who manually separate waste have been contaminated. This means that workers have NO protective equipment and as a result plants are starting to shut down. This challenge aims to identify disruptive and efficient low-cost technologies for sanitation that are economically viable -cheaper costs than current ones- and that guarantee and prevent viral contamination.

Patented biostabilization system that allows to economically and scalably offer automated garbage plants to sanitize garbage from a ship container size (300,000 euros unit) and that naturally raises the temperature to 90% ending with COVID-19 and other viruses and bacteria.

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