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Atlantium develops new, more effective, UV treatment for drinking water  

Reported by Iddo Genuth, Isracast

August 25, 2005


An Israeli company developed a new technology for water disinfection. It uses ultra violet (UV) light claiming to be 10,000 more effective then existing techniques. 

The move from chemical disinfectants to green non-toxic advanced disinfection solutions can improve the safety of the water while reducing its cost. 

The most common method to disinfect water, (over 50% of the world market) uses chemicals such as chlorine to kill biological agents. Although this method is inexpensive research has shown that chlorine creates carcinogenic by-products. Chlorine is also ineffective against such as Cryptosporidium. And the chemicals themselves are dangerous to handle and can cause a variety of environmental dangers.

A less common water treatment method is “microfiltration” that actively blocks some of the bacteria. Although this method is effective, its capital and operating costs are high. Many filtration systems need high water pressure with resultant high energy costs.

A third method of disinfecting water is ultraviolet light. UV does not kill or remove the bacteria but rather inactivates the DNA so the bacteria can’t reproduce. UV systems usually do not consume large amounts of energy and are considered environmentally friendly. 

However, current UV systems use lamps that are immersed in water. This may cause uneven scattering of the UV rays leading to lower inactivation, increase in local temperature near the immersed UV lamps causing scaling and high maintenance costs. This fouling must be cleaned with brushes or wipers -- a breading ground for bacteria.

To avoid these problems Israeli-based Atlantium developed a  UV system that puts the UV source outside the flow of the water. In order to achieve effective inactivation Atlantium uses a quartz tube as its reactor and bombards the flowing water with homogeneous dosages of UV radiation. 

By taking the UV source out of the water and projecting it into a quartz chamber, using a principal similar to fiber optic technology, Atlantium's engineers are able to supply homogeneous distribution of the UV rays, eliminate the local heating and the need for brushes to clean the chamber. 

Atlantium says their system has the added benefit of greater control of the temperature of the UV lamp and control of the power needed by the light source. Operating and maintenance costs are said to be reduced.

In tests conducted by the company using different species of microbes, spores and other microscopic life forms, the Atlantium says it was able to inactivate water born organisms four orders of magnitude more effectively then existing UV systems. That means, on average, one in 10,000,0000 organisms escaped inactivation. 

Atlantium asserts it can disinfect about 1 million gallons of water a day while consuming only 2.5 kWh. This would make it one of the most cost effective disinfection systems in the world.

Early adopters of the Atlantium system include Tnuva, owner of the largest dairy in the Middle East and a Turkish company specializing in breeding fish. 

Atlantium is banking on new US regulations to require drinking water to be protected against cryptosporidium and other pathogens by 2006 and reduction of chlorine and ozone. 

According to David Waxman, Atlantium CEO, there is an annual world market of about $5 billion for water disinfection systems that he expects to grow dramatically in the next few years.

Full story at: http://www.isracast.com/tech_news/240805_tech.htm