Cerahelix CEO Susan MacKay

Cerahelix, the Orono-based startup that’s invented a high-tech filtration device using DNA and ceramics, is raising $2 million to help it accelerate development of pilot programs at several early-adopter customers, including Magic Hat Brewing Co. in South Burlington, Vt.

So far, the company has raised $500,000 out of the total $2 million offering, according to CEO Susan MacKay.

“We are in the beginning of raising a $2 million round to expand our manufacturing capacity to meet customer demand for our product,” she wrote to Maine Startups Insider while in Austin, Texas, at the InvestH2O conference. “The initial $500K was offered at a discount and is being used to accelerate our development this summer with several of our early adopter customers. For example, we are currently supporting a demonstration of our technology at Magic Hat brewery and these funds can help scale up the demo, which helps us attract new customers into our pipeline.”

Cerahelix has invented a new filtration technology that uses DNA to essentially create holes in ceramic material to make a filter. These nanofiltration devices can remove impurities from water that are 100 times smaller than a virus, according to the company. The new filtration technology is not only more efficient, it’s also more cost effective and environmentally sustainable. According to Cerahelix’s research, a company that replaced commercial evaporators with Cerahelix’s filtration device in a process needed to remove 6,000 gallons of water a day in an industrial setting could save enough energy to remove 1,200 tons of carbon from the environment per year, equivalent of the amount of carbon remove by 400 acres of forest. Learn more about Cerahelix’s technology in MacKay’s TEDxDirigo talk from a few years ago.

The nanofiltration technology Cerahelix has developed has applications across many industries. At Magic Hat, it’s using its technology to treat brewery wastewater to beneficial reuse levels, MacKay said.

Including this new $500,000 infusion, the company has raised $2.4 million over the course of three rounds. It has also received an additional $2.5 million in non-dilutive grants, according to MacKay.

MacKay said her goal is to close the $2 million round in the third quarter of this year.