Wednesday, June 5, 2013

News the HP Doesn't Cover: Bubble Tech Keeps UK Water Clean

For some people, the term “bubbly” evokes images of a fine champagne. But for those in the wastewater treatment business, bubbles — water infused with air — are considered one of the more effective ways of treating sewage and water suffering from industrial pollution.
Bubbles are used to clean water as part of aeration systems and are considered very effective in removing pollutants and separating sludge from water, which can then be treated and released back into the environment....
Mapal’s idea is to use floating aerators that “travel” across the surface of the water, diffusing oxygen throughout the pool (up to a depth of six meters). Unlike with floating mechanical diffusers, the Mapal version has a series of tubes that extend into the water, requiring far less energy to push the oxygen into the lower depths of the water. Thus, the oxygen gets to all parts of the wastewater, ensuring that aerobic digestion can occur equally in all parts of the pool. Because the tubes can get to all parts of the wastewater, the system doesn’t need as much energy to push the oxygen out. According to studies cited by the company, its system can save as much as 70% of the energy used in other diffusion systems, as well as 80% of maintenance costs.Mapal’s system can also dive underwater and float at different levels. This, according to Fisher, makes the system just the antidote needed for environmental emergencies, when the level of pollutants in a sewage pool, or even a lake or river, gets out of hand. The system can be deployed to attack the highest concentration of pollutants, preventing them from spreading and creating even more damage.Mapal systems have been installed in Israel, as well as in Brazil, South Africaand India for a total of 30 locations worldwide. Now, the company has its first European contract, closing a deal with the UK’s Anglian Water to deploy its solution for a water company serving 4 million customers. Mapal’s bubble-spreaders will be installed in as many as 400 of Anglian’s 1,100 wastewater treatment facilities, the company said, adding that it is in “advanced talks” with other UK water treatment companies.Britain is a good “test case” for using Mapal’s technology on a mass basis, because the water business there was privatized some 15 years ago. Since then, some 20 private companies have been struggling to keep costs down while complying with strict regulations on treating wastewater, said Fisher. “Water prices are regulated in Britain, and operators cannot raise prices because of increased energy use. Thus they are very motivated to find technologies that can save energy, and hence their interest in our systems.”

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