Commercializing technology, developed in conjunction with the University of Minnesota, Upstream Technologies is involved in the stormwater management market and has introduced innovative products that significantly improve process and efficiency in these areas. The opportunity came to Uponor through its recently launched subsidiary Uponor Innovations LLC.
“We are excited about this opportunity and although it is outside Uponor’s core strategic focus, Upstream Technologies’ products align with our sustainability goals and our vision of enriching people’s way of life,” says Bill Gray, president, Uponor North America. “Uponor believes companies play a special role in leading sustainability initiatives by producing products and services that make it convenient, affordable and effective to do the right things for the environment.”
One of Upstream Technologies’ products to make waterways clean in an affordable way is the SAFL Baffle. Developed out of the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory (SAFL), this product keeps sediment pollution out of lakes, rivers and oceans.
“Urban runoff hits the road, goes into the storm sewers and ends up in receiving water bodies such as lakes and rivers,” says John Gulliver, a professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering and co-inventor of the SAFL Baffle. “Cities are required to treat urban runoff and are trying to figure out how to deal with this in times of limited funding.”
Jay Schrankler, director of the University of Minnesota Office for Technology Commercialization, says, “Uponor’s commitment to University of Minnesota start-up licensee Upstream Technologies further cements the SAFL Baffle’s place as an affordable tool to keep our waterways clean.”
A.J. Schwidder, CEO of Upstream Technologies, is very excited with Uponor’s investment in the company. “Uponor has a reputation of creating innovative and green products to save energy and ensure safe water – with a focus on reducing our carbon and water footprint locally and globally,” he says. “Their investment is an endorsement of our products, our company and our vision of improving the quality of our water in an affordable way.”
The Upstream Technologies story has been an outstanding example of the good that can come from government, academic and corporate collaboration. “Uponor’s commitment to Upstream, along with the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the University of Minnesota’s St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, makes them a member of a group dedicated to improving our waterways,” Schrankler says. “With Upstream and Uponor behind the SAFL Baffle technology, we believe adoption will be accelerated for the good of our environment.”