New process could minimise water use

A water treatment process which could cut industrial water consumption by up to 90% has been unveiled.

Environmental solutions provider Enva has developed an electro-coagulation application to separate suspended and dissolved particles from water using an electric field.

Coagulation refers to a process which coaxes particles to bind together into larger solids that will settle out of the water.

Using another process called flocculation, the solids are then separated from a solution.

The electro-coagulation cell occupies 100 litres and contain about 20 square metres of electrodes.

Past attempts at electro-coagulation have failed as a result of "poor electrochemical engineering" according to Dr Frank Holland of Enva.

Pointing out the benefits of the technique, which uses computers to minimise passivation and ensure continued operation of the electrodes, Dr Holland said: "For example a laundry must have its final rinse with fresh water, so a volume of perhaps 25% would have to be disposed of, and therefore the reduction would be 75%.

"Equally where very high purity water is needed throughout most of the application, recycling is reduced, and the key benefit in such cases of electro-coagulation is clean up of the water prior to discharge.

"But for those instances like Waterford Crystal where the water could be routinely reused again and again, our studies show that the water saving could be up to 90%."



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