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Periodic Report Summary 1 - INTELLIPOOL (Intelligent control of swimming pool disinfection with reduction and treatment of harmful by- products)

Project Context and Objectives:
Common-use recreational bathing facilities are growing in numbers in the EU fuelled by the public’s strong interest in health and wellness. In the EU, there are now 200.000 common-use facilities. The facilities are faced with the conflicting, challenge of providing hygienically safe water, and the regulators’ demand for “green solutions” whilst at the same time cutting their large energy costs and CO2 emissions footprint, a fertile field for innovation.

INTELLIPOOL – proposed by a group of European SME suppliers of water purification and monitoring/control technologies, will develop radically improved systems and technology for on-site treatment of recreational bathing waters. Current sand filtration and chlorine based treatment methods are energy and resource-intensive, and produce proven adverse health effects. Overwhelming evidence links the chlorinated disinfection by-products (DBPs) found in swimming pools to higher incidences of respiratory disorders, allergy, skin irritations, asthma, and lung damage. The dual challenge offers a large business opportunity for innovative treatment systems, which reduces energy costs and the use of chemical disinfectants.

INTELLIPOOL aims to develop and demonstrate the technical and commercial viability of a highly innovative, intelligent treatment concept which involves overall treatment of exposure routes, swimming pool water and indoor air.

The concept, the first in the world to rethink water and air sanitation in recreational bathing facilities, uses an entirely new, proactive approach of managing the loading of actual sources of DBP formation. Target, capture, and rapidly remove them in a treatment plant with much less impact on natural resources. The new technologies will remove pollution sources causing DBP formation in the pool and water treatment plant and residual atmospheric DBP’s in the air.

This project combines development, production and market knowledge from 4 SME partners with excellence in recreational water treatment technology and 4 RTD performers each representing high-level scientific knowledge in topics related to the required technology development, with the objective of developing a new technology paradigm for recreational bathing water and air sanitation and management. End-users and one leading association participate for test purposes and for specification of industry requirements.

Project Results:
The intellipool project has been running on schedule since project start. A start workshop in Lund, Sweden 29-30 septembre 2014, host (UAQ), formed the basis for cooperation between partner employees. Another two workshops has been held, one in Heidelberg Germany 31/3 - 1/4 2015, host (UKL-HD), and one in Barcelona Spain 16-18 septembre 2015, host (Leitat). The latest workshop was in Switzerland with partner Swan (SWA) 18-19 of January. Next workshop will be in Zell Am Zee Austria in May including a one-day symposium “Improving Pool Water Quality - Technical, microbiological and chemical aspects” (May 30, 2016).
The project website and consortium agreement was ready soon after project start as planned. In each country involved partners has been communicating effectively about the project both in writing and on conferences, see deliverable 1.3. A huge communication activity is planned in May 2016 with an entire Intellipool day at the 16th Congress for the International Infection Control (IFIC), Österreichische Gesellschaft für Hygiene, Mikrobiologie und Präventivmedizin. We have positive response from an American key-note speaker, professor Ernest Blatchley III, from Purdue University, Indiana. Famous for his research within the Intellipool project research area.

The exploitation strategy has been discussed and is still under consideration. Originally the idea was to produce a Intellipool system owned by all SMEs and sold in a shared company set-up. The SMEs agreed in the final phase before the DOW was finalized and confirmed in the consortium agreement that each SME want to maintain sole rights on achievements within their work field. That in no way excludes cooperation about a shared concept containing water and air handling systems, but with individual partners holding individual patent rights within their field.

Basis for practical work and test design is theoretical work about chlorine by-products formation. Great progress has been done by RTD partner University Heidelberg (UKL-HD), reported in deliverable D4.1.

Several pilot scale test sites has been constructed or is under construction so that theoretical work can be tested in reality. The test rigs and their design is described and reported in D7.2 and D7.4. In England BHR has been working with field studies at a nearby pool collecting input to their pool CFD modelling work and involved mathematical algorithms, D3.1. SME partner Electrocell has build a test electrolysis unit used by RTD partners DHI and UKL-HD, results will be reported in D5.1 month 26. Experiments with a new micro-sieve also is well under way with a near full scale set-up ready for scientific work in Gladsaxe Denmark, DHI work. Micro-sieve results will be reported in D5.2 month 26. In Denmark DHI has been testing the THM stripper for several months, results will be reported in D5.4 month 26. In Spain Leitat has based on theoretical work build a lab scale air treatment unit that has shown promising results towards chlorine disinfection product removal, will be reported in D5.5 month 26.

Potential Impact:
INTELLIPOOL will provide significant increase in the competitiveness of the participating SME manufacturers by providing them with state-of-the-art knowledge tools and equipment that significantly reduces the capital and running cost of involved systems. For end users and municipalities by enhancing the health benefits and user experience of swimmers it will promote national fitness, higher levels of participation and hence a higher return on investment for their installation. Therefore, the INTELLIPOOL group of EU SME equipment and treatment technology suppliers will be favourably positioned towards a market, which currently exceeds €100 million in Europe and billions overseas.
A core goal of INTELLIPOOL is to minimize DBP concentration in both the water and air though still maintaining a high hygienic quality of the pool water. In January 2011 the German Environmental Protection Agency circulated a recommendation (mainly due to the load of DBPs in the air of indoor pools) that children less than two years old should not participate in indoor swimming activities. Heightened risk is also linked to exposure to and uptake of trihalomethanes (THMs), a carcinogen, formed when chlorine reacts with organic material.
There is a demand for alternative methods of disinfection and a strong desire among health authorities and pool operators to improve treatment techniques. Authorities also wish to strengthen water quality standards for DBP’s without sacrificing microbiological quality, but there are no uniform regulatory requirements or norms in the EU for pool water sanitation and water quality. WHO and PWTAG are producing guidelines for Europe-wide CEN standards for pool water chemicals, but progress is cumbersome and slow. Globally, treatment still uses decades-old technology. INTELLIPOOL will improve fundamental knowledge and research-driven innovation to address the insufficient and adverse effects these methods.
Innovation in the sector is characterized by uncoordinated introduction of stepwise improved treatment technologies of individual process steps of sanitation – mainly through adoption of potable and waste water treatment technology. This leads to costly and over engineered solutions for individual steps. Technologies have generally failed to consider specific contamination scenarios, system level performance and potential optimization benefits from integrated and proactive approaches, targeting minimized formation and rapid removal of pollutants rather than reactive treatment of the entire system. There is thus a clear need, unexploited innovation potential and an attractive market opportunity to be met. INTELLIPOOL’s vision is to meet the dual challenge of improved water and air quality and reduced environmental footprint of commercial bathing facilities.

The INTELLIPOOL concept is an entirely new and disruptive approach as it uses CFD and other input data to predict the organic burden on the pool and its location. It then uses this knowledge to remove the cause of by-product formation at source in the most energy efficient way instead of reactively applying technology to deal with DBP problems in the system. In addition to effective reduction and management of DBPs, the INTELLIPOOL proactive concept and the enabling technology innovations will lead to significantly reduced environmental footprints and costs for end-users. This will be achieved by reducing the exposure time of DBP generating organics to the chlorine and preventing overdosing by tailoring the dose rate to a more holistic model of the whole system as opposed to single point sampling or monitoring. This, in turn, will enable optimization and tailoring of pumping/mixing energy to the demands of the treatment process rather than a fixed circulation rate, also reducing backwash and treatment waters.
The consortium of SMEs in INTELLIPOOL will catalyze a paradigm shift in commercial recreational water and air sanitation, which is state-of-the-art in overcoming current technical and organisational barriers. Moreover INTELLIPOOL will provide significant advantages in terms of both health performance and economy to end-users, and at the same time contributes significantly to meeting EU policy objectives, especially within public health, water conservation, energy and CO2 emissions.

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