Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


iPURXL Report Summary

Project ID: 672550

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - iPURXL (iPURXL: Scale-Up of Liquid Nano-reactor for the Destruction of Contaminants in Turbid Fluids)

Reporting period: 2015-07-01 to 2016-06-30

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Traditionally, discharge of waste water and effluents to natural environments was common. Manufacturers and even local authorities discharged process/waste waters/sewage direct to the natural environment. The negative impacts were seen on whole ecosystems as contaminants progressed downstream to ground and potable water sources. Even well controlled sites discharge liquids with high BOD/COD (Biological/Chemical Oxygen Demand) or which contain toxic organics (eg Ammonia). Fluids which are untreatable on site must be discharged to third party “trade” sewers. As treatment costs increase in line with contaminant load, there are cost advantages to using/discharging as little water as possible. With the cost of compliance to more stringent standards placing effluent management high on corporate agenda , iPURXL can deliver against both cost and environmental standards for growers, manufacturers and local authorities struggling to manage compliance affordably. Compliance and cost were the initial drivers for this system but other benefits have since emerged.

iPURtech’s commercially available MWF (Metal Working Fluid) treatment system reduces bacterial load in used fluids using complex geometries, UV light and Ti02. The system, for which UK and S.African patent has been granted, with USA, Australia and India to follow, increases fluid lifespan by up to 100%. It reduces volume based purchase and disposal costs significantly. We also offer commercial solutions for odour reduction based on similar technology but clients had more pressing need for liquid improvement in terms of both cost and process control. The iPURXL project will enable modular scale up of our MWF system, allowing us to transfer it's environmental and economic benefits to other fluid based applications in sectors such as production waste water, liquid foods and beverages, fuels and municipal waste water.
iPURXL supports all four pillars of the Water Directive; Planning, Regulation, Monitoring, Information & Reporting, by tightening pollution control. The modular scalability of our treatment systems facilitates the treatment of a flexible and wide range of output volumes allowing for use in small and large applications.

End user trials of an adapted single cassette 1 tonne MWF unit were carried out on, amongst others:-

1. Meat rendering fluid sample from which only large solids had been removed. Test results showed that when deployed to replace existing apparatus, an iPURXL unit could treat up to 25 tonnes per hour reducing COD up to tenfold. If installed as a retrofit polishing stage (after existing BOD/COD reduction systems), a 16x smaller unit could reduce incoming contaminant levels by in excess of 30%.
2. Salad leaf washing systems to recover water once sent to waste.
3. Water tainted with oils to reduce rinse water use and make disposal to drain an option.
4. Pasteurising anaerobic digestion waste liquid to be re-used for hydroponic crop production.
5. Commercial and local authority swimming pools to remove Cryptosporidium. The technical advantage being the self cleaning aspect of the patent which requires no moving parts.
6. Dense oil pollution of water.

These trials are taking place in Turkey and Malasia as well as the UK. In all countries the protection of water supplies is paramount, even if there appears to be a surfeit.

The system, in its scalable design, degrades organic material in a liquid environment. It does this by passing the liquid over a fixed catalyst continually irradiated by UV with little drop in transmission due to the self cleaning aspect. The market for this can be anything from large industrial processing to improve water quality, to a solar driven small unit to supply potable water where this resource is scarce. It's benefits are the robustness of the technology, its simplicity and it's low cost compared to other systems currently employed to do the same job. We have no time in this project to cover all the possible uses.

The overall objectives are to provide industry with a more economic and simpler method of tackling waste water cost and cutting the environmental impact of waste. To achieve this we intend to engineer the system to provide sufficient catalyst surface area in contact with the liquids to make the system economic. This, at the halfway point of the project, appears achievable. The measurable improvements when trialled show large COD reductions as well as colour, oil level and pathogen reduction. The system has also developed into one suitable for beverage pasteurisation and further work on the use of food compatible materials and designs is ongoing.
The anchoring of the catalyst to give long working life has been accomplished. The design enables rapid servicing in twelve month periods. Refurbished catalyst supports are used rather than disposable items although the UV emitters are a replacement item. The Horizon 2020 grant has enabled this detailed examination of our process and to show that the obstacles to scaling up can be overcome.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project formally commenced on 1st July 2015.
The project was set up to confirm one of a series of scale up options. This was to be achieved using the resources of PERA TECHNOLOGY. It became evident that this organisation were under some funding pressures as our work was held back when staff were made redundant. Although we suffered delays, the project eventually caught up as more of the testing fell to others who were more efficient. We have now tested and confirmed all materials and manufacturing methods for a large proportion of our prospective end users. Large scale and laboratory scale systems have been built and are on test. As a result we have many sales opportunities to fulfil.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The current industrial systems for dealing with high organic levels in waste water are thoroughly understood and although some small improvements have been made over the last fifty years it has mostly remained the same. Manufacturers are now feeling the pressure of higher standards imposed by sewerage companies which at worst stops discharge completely and at best incurs higher disposal costs. Established waste improvement methods have high capital costs and require technical staff to monitor it daily. They use bacteria based systems plus high energy consuming filtration. Even in the UK, manufacturers, especially in the food industries, cannot expand because water companies have set a ceiling on water consumption.
The pressure to re-use water is therefore high but companies face an expensive capital outlay and the recruitment of qualified staff to counter these issues. This is the market that we believe would benefit from the catalytic rather than bacterial decay of organic material. The catalyst route is more reliable, requires less supervision and has a lower requirement for heavy civil construction. The iPURXL design is based on modules and we have developed a pre-filter which removes solids which may be recovered as a sludge.
The scalability means we can operate in individual parts of the manufacturing process so that process water, (especially rinse water), use is greatly reduced. Often it is better to deal with six individual sources rather than the cumulative flow! The benefits are also seen in cleaner working environments for the workforce giving less chance of bacterial infections.
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