A small, Welsh company which designs and produces a revolutionary floating aerator which could soon be used for clearing major oil spills and mosquito breeding grounds, has been advised by its patent attorney that the USA patent office has issued it with a notice of allowability for its Flucon floating aerator equipment.

Flucon Aerators Ltd, has been designing and manufacturing domestic and industrial pump systems for 15 years. Five years ago, it turned its attention to developing a floating aerator when a local fish farming client required a solution to a low oxygen level problem in his water tanks and fishing lakes.

Low odour operation

The Flucon floating aerator is currently being used at UK sewage plants where other types of aeration are more expensive to run, or give off odours. The designers believe their aerator can reduce operating costs by up to 50%, and unlike traditional surface aerators, is free from potent odours – a major plus for people living downwind of the plants.

Mr Norman Edwards, managing director of Flucon said, ‘We understand that forthcoming legislation currently under review may force sewage process companies to reduce their odour emissions in the future.’

Flucon Ltd received a Welsh Office development grant of £24,000 to develop the original concept and is currently talking to oil companies and environmental clean-up groups on how to use the aerators to clear major oil spills and pollutants from de-commissioned oil rigs.

Other possible applications include using the aerator to clear mosquito breeding grounds. The company is currently in discussion with the Mayor of New York about a solution to the mosquito infestation which hit the city last summer.

Thriving environment

The unique industrial floating equipment is electronically controlled and can be suspended in a liquid mass at any depth. It discharges an air and liquid mixture, which forms micro-bubbles providing an optimum oxygenated environment.

In the case of pollutant clearance, the micro-organisms already living in the water thrive in this environment and naturally begin to digest the solids suspended in the water mass, such as sewage, oil or industrial effluent. This avoids the use of strong chemicals to dispel the pollutants.

Flucon has recently installed its aerators at Shotton Paper in Flintshire – the largest paper mill in the UK which uses water within the paper production process and has a large effluent facility on-site.

‘The floating aerators have helped to stabilise the quality of effluent quite significantly which is extremely important in minimising our impact on the environment,’ said Simon Littler, Shotton Process Engineer.

Flucon Ltd is involved with Know-How Wales, a Welsh Development Agency initiative promoting links between business and further and higher education establishments. The Institute for Environmental Science at the University of Wales, Bangor, is currently evaluating the possibility of collaborating with Flucon to explore opportunities for further applications for the aerator.

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