Sunday, June 3, 2007

32. Potable liquids

(water, wine, sake, beer, cider, milk, tea, coffee, koumiss, etc.)

Note the 'high tech' Indian state solution of a canal to bring water to the desert has ignored the bioregional issues. It failed.

Note the more bioregional solution has been existing for hundreds of years--and has been durable even in times of high drought or when states collapse. You decide what is a more secure water harvesting and civil administration. I think the independent arrangement managed by people who are long term residents of a particular area is the better (and perhaps only durable) solution for long-term potable water. Imagine this bio-optimization in all watersheds of the world. It's possible. There's plenty of water in the world, it's just a drought of local optimized solutions and inventiveness--and of course social stability and lack of military conflict that destroys it to conquer people and make them subservient on material clientelism to an unrepresentative state.

Anupam Mishra: The ancient ingenuity of water harvesting
17:15 min

Or draw water from the air, anywhere:

The Water Mill
3:13 min

Off the Grid: Taking Water From the Ambient Air, Then Sterilized, Works in Any Climate, Company Name Element Four, Product "Water Mill"; Working on a Poor Country Model that Runs on Solar or Wind Power as well; "8 times all the rivers' water in the world is in the atmosphere"

The Fluoride Deception (Interview With Investigative Author Christopher Bryson)
28 min 31 sec

"In this video, Christopher Bryson, an award-winning journalist and former producer at the BBC, discusses the findings of his new book The Fluoride Deception that is the product of 10 years of research and censorship by major U.S. journalistic publications (like the Christian Science Monitor that he had attempted to publish this within earlier (that article at this link).

EARLY REVIEWS of The Fluoride Deception: "Bryson marshals an impressive amount of research to demonstrate fluoride's harmfulness, the ties between leading fluoride researchers and the corporations who funded and benefited from their research, and what he says is the duplicity with which fluoridation was sold to the people. The result is a compelling challenge to the reigning dental orthodoxy, which should provoke renewed scientific scrutiny and public debate."

Most countries of the world reject fluoridation on health and ethical grounds. Why does the USA recommend fluoridating its population particularly after WWII, and exhibit itself as the lone nut of the world's countries in this practice? This video and the book help explain why: fluoride streams have a lot to do with aluminum refining wastes and the U.S. Manhattan Project--the U.S. nuclear bomb program. Both generated massive toxic levels of fluorides. They were subsequently dumped into the U.S. water supply as well as sold to the public with lies that it was safe, lies crafted by master corporate public relations consultant Edward Bernays to keep the U.S. government and U.S. industries that utilized fluoride insulated by a snowjob that fluoride was safe. It was Bernay's public relations for the U.S. government and U.S. industry that sold fluoride through intentionally convincing (and funding) doctors and dentists to legitimate it even though the government knew it was harmful all the time! However, fluoride was not safe, and never was. Fluoride is the "protected pollutant" in the USA (and in other countries that utilize it), making fluoride a very politically powerful pollutant known to cause bone cancers, I.Q. reduction (as a neurotoxin), skeletal fluorosis, emphysema, and even deaths. Fluoride can additionally cause infertility and suppress thyroid function.

Quotes about fluoridation from other countries at this short article from The Ecologist (July/August 2003):

France: 'Fluoride chemicals are not included in the list [of chemicals for drinking water treatment]. This is due to ethical as well as medical considerations.' --Louis Sanchez, head of environmental standards for the city of Paris, August 2000

Belgium: 'This water treatment has never been of use in Belgium and will never be (we hope) in the future.' --Christian Legros, director, Belgaqua, Brussels, February 2000

Norway: 'In Norway we had a rather intense discussion on this subject some 20 years ago, and the conclusion was that drinking water should not be fluoridated.' --The National Institute of Public Health, Oslo, March 2000

Austria: 'Toxic fluorides have never been added to public water supplies in Austria.' --Manfred Eisenhut, head of water at Gass Wasser, Vienna, February 2000

Czech Republic: 'Since 1993 drinking water has not been treated with fluoride in public water supplies throughout the Czech Republic. Although fluoridation of drinking water has not actually been proscribed it is not under consideration because this form of supplementation is considered:

- uneconomical -- only 0.54 per cent of water suitable for drinking is used as such; furthermore; an increasing amount of consumers (particularly children) are using bottled water for drinking;

- unecological

- unethical [because of lack of consumer choice]; and

- toxicologically and physiologically debatable; fluoridation represents an untargeted form of supplementation that disregards actual individual intake and requirements and may lead to excessive health-threatening intake in certain population groups.' -- Dr. B. Havlik, Minister of Health, the Czech Republic, October 1999

98% of countries in Western Europe have rejected fluoridation.

7:1 is the ratio of the incidence of bone cancer in fluoridated countries to non-fluoridated countries.

No one requires linking to the chemical toxic industry to make potable liquids anyway.

This entry by Xogen Technologies (an outfit whose technology is slightly connected with the late water-car inventor Stan Meyer), provides a form of energy generation that is modular, localizable to a watershed, and thus an ingenious application of sustainable technology. It can additionally make use of an energy technology's by-product effects (clean water and energy) to conduct waste water treatment or space heating. Talk about solving many issues at once! It works so well that a lot of "hate webpages" about this technology have sprung up recently--creating a disinformation campaign about it. I take that later development as a sign it works "too well"--too well for those elite groups that stand to lose big when we switch to sustainable technologies.

Xogen Technology's Oxy Hydrogen Process (Water Fuel Cell)
8:25 min

Although originally designed with energy production as the focus, subsequent testing of the Xogen technology on wastewater samples from a conventional sewage treatment plant identified potential application as a wastewater treatment process. Under specific operating conditions in a bench scale reactor, the technology has achieved high levels of organic degradation and pathogen destruction at very low retention times and temperatures. Benefits of this are:

* "Complete elimination of most of the infrastructure components of a conventional plant including the primary clarifier, aeration basin and air blowers, disinfection processes, sludge stabilization processes such as anaerobic digestion and final disposal or utilization of the stabilized [and still toxic] sludge.

* Huge reduction in the waste footprint of the industrial plant or urban area

* Complete elimination or significant reduction in sludge (biosolids) processing costs

* More stable process allowing for rapid start-up and insensitive to toxic shocks. Biological plants typically have a long start-up time because the microbes must be acclimatized to the feed (sewage) and increase in concentration to the point where acceptable treatment is achieved. In addition, since a biological system relies on microbes, any components in the incoming sewage can result in either killing the entire biomass or shocking it to the point where it takes a significant period of time, sometimes days, to recover its efficiency.

* The production of a significant energy source in the form of hydrogen which can be used to generate electrical energy for internal use or export. Xogen has powered various combustion devices with the hydrogen-oxygen gas liberated by the technology; such as a 1-kw Honda generator, under 90% load conditions."


Mark said...

With water difficulties surely to keep mounting, remember that 7/10 of the planet is water. This seems ideal to solve all water difficulties and do many other issues simultaneously.

The Mad Genius from the Bottom of the Sea

Unlimited energy. Fast-growing fruit. Free air-conditioning. John Piña Craven says we can have it all by tapping the icy waters of the deep.

By Carl Hoffman

The Mad Genius from the Bottom of the Sea
Creating a Deep-Sea Oasis on Dry Land

Halfway through an important lunch meeting in Kona, Hawaii, with the lieutenant governor of the Northern Mariana Islands, John Piña Craven is suddenly restless. The topic under discussion is Craven's plan to use cold water pumped up from the deep ocean to provide low-cost and environmentally sustainable power, water, and food to a new residential and commercial development in the Marianas, a chain of islands some 3,000 miles to the west. But none of his colleagues expect Craven to schmooze anyway, so he ditches the group and heads to the restaurant's parking lot.

Craven, who will soon turn 80, moves at a brisk shuffle, his black sneakers taking two steps for every one of mine. Back and forth we pace, like inmates in a jail yard. Craven's mind is already way beyond the Marianas project. "I've decided to run a marathon to demonstrate my newest innovation," he says. "You see, I apply cold temperatures to different parts of my body in three bastings. The third is the most complicated - I ice the terminuses of my lymphatic system. My body heals itself. Look at these hands," he says, opening and closing his fists. "I have no joint pain of any kind!"

Craven may sound like a brilliant psychotic, but he's got plenty of credentials: a PhD in ocean engineering, a law degree, and a stint as chief scientist for the US Navy's Special Projects Office. There he was instrumental in developing the Polaris missile program, the submarine-based backbone of America's nuclear deterrence and one of the most complex defense systems ever. In fact, most deep-ocean activities - saturation diving, exploring with submersibles, searching for tiny objects on the ocean floor - owe their origins to top secret, cold war-era Navy projects in which Craven had a hand.

A polymath who is as comfortable talking about the Law of the Sea as he is the plumbing nightmares inherent when 200 men a day urinate in a submarine, Craven is hard to keep up with. His mind darts from why the Navy should make subs out of glass to the sad end of his long telephone friendship with the late Marlon Brando to the remarkable prodigiousness of his small experimental Hawaiian vineyard. "One week the plants have no leaves," he says, "the next they just go zing, zing, zing and are full of fruit!"

The grapes are a key part of his plan, through his Common Heritage Corporation, to build communities around the world sustained by deep-ocean water, starting on the Mariana island of Saipan. And he's not doing it just out of the goodness of his heart. "I fully intend for CHC to be a multibillion-dollar corporation," Craven says.

His grand plan could come across as a bar-stool fantasy, but it's already won $75 million from Alpha Pacific, a Memphis, Tennessee, venture capital firm, and $1.5 million in federal funds. Craven hopes that within a year, bulldozers will begin clearing land on Saipan and engineers will start sinking a pipe to pump icy water from the ocean depths to produce electricity and freshwater. And back in Kona, Craven expects to use cold-water agriculture to transform five acres of otherwise barren lava fields into the world's most productive vineyard. "The economics are absurd," he boasts. "Once we prove the technology on Saipan, imagine what it could do for places like Haiti!"

Craven's system exploits the dramatic temperature difference between ocean water below 3,000 feet - perpetually just above freezing - and the much warmer water and air above it. That temperature gap can be harnessed to create a nearly unlimited supply of energy. Although the scientific concepts behind cold-water energy have been around for decades, Craven made them real when he founded the state-funded Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii in 1974 on Keahole Point, near Kona. Under Craven, the lab developed the process of using cold deep-ocean water and hot surface water to produce electricity. By the 1980s the Natural Energy Lab's demonstration plant was generating net power, the world's first through so-called ocean thermal energy conversion.

"The potential of OTEC is great," says Joseph Huang, a senior scientist for the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration and an expert on the process. "The oceans are the biggest solar collector on Earth, and there's enough energy in them to supply a thousand times the world's needs. If you want to depend on nature, the oceans are the only energy source big enough to tap."

Stephen Oney, vice president of Ocean Engineering and Energy Systems in Honolulu, which will design CHC's Saipan pipes, agrees: "The technology is there, and the science is there. It just needs to be improved." Oney, who recently inked a deal with the Pentagon to build an OTEC power plant for a US naval base on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, envisions a day when floating OTEC platforms produce enough hydrogen to meet all of the world's energy needs.

Craven likes the way they think, but he believes there are simpler, cheaper, and more immediate applications of cold-water technology. He favors building systems in ideal locations, such as islands adjacent to deep water with no continental shelf. Sink a big pipe, crank a pump, and - voilà! - you've entered a world powered by ocean water. Once primed, the pipe acts like a giant siphon, requiring relatively little energy to keep an inexhaustible supply of cold at hand. Already, 39-degree-Fahrenheit water courses through the Natural Energy Lab's newest pipe - a 55-inch-diameter, 9,000-foot-long polyethylene behemoth - at the rate of 27,000 gallons a minute, 24 hours a day.

Running the frigid pipes through heat exchangers produces unlimited air-conditioning that costs almost nothing. Draining their sweat yields an endless supply of freshwater for drinking and irrigation. The cold water also creates a temperature difference between root and fruit that Craven believes speeds growth. And by turning the flow on and off, Craven has found he can further accelerate the plants' growth cycle by forcing them in and out of dormancy - he can get three crops of grapes a year and pineapples in eight months instead of the usual 18. Feeding some of the water through a contraption Craven calls a hurricane tower generates clean electricity. "What the world doesn't understand," says Craven, still zigzagging through the parking lot, "is that what we don't have enough of is cold, not heat."

The Mad Genius from the Bottom of the Sea
Creating a Deep-Sea Oasis on Dry Land
A day later, the sun feels like a giant piece of red-hot charcoal overhead as Craven unlocks the gates to his small demonstration garden at the Natural Energy Lab. In tow are a handful of CHC's technical partners and managers escorting the lieutenant governor around the garden. The black lava ground is hard and hot, but behind the chain-link fence, Craven has created a little oasis: a 10- by 20-foot rectangle of lush lawn, a closely cropped putting green, a 10-foot-square "soccer field," flower gardens, an orchid patch, and rows of grapes. A wooden structure that Craven calls the skytower holds what resembles a radiator of sweating PVC pipes dripping steadily into a tub, providing freshwater for drinking, washing, and irrigation.

As proud as he is, Craven knows his marketing and administrative abilities leave much to be desired. In 2000, he placed his company stock in a blind trust, became "chief scientist," and let others take CHC forward as a for-profit business. Ke Kai Kealoha, CHC's project manager, is charged with the selling of his vision. Craven prefers to get things started, then have others manage the operation so he can wander on to something new. "I get put to death every seven years as great kings do, until I start a new kingship," he says, leading me away from the group to the grapes.

CHC's success depends on two projects that expand on Craven's ideas: a vineyard in Kona to grow table grapes for local restaurants, and a more complex, much larger-scale version of his oasis, on Saipan. A stable US territory, the island is a booming destination for Japanese tourists. Tokyo is just two and a half hours away by air. And the Marianas offer generous tax deals to Japanese who retire there. But Saipan has a limited supply of freshwater and must import, at great expense, all of its food and oil. On the northern end of the island, CHC plans to sink a 24-inch-diameter pipe and build a hundred-acre development featuring 100 townhouses, a golf course, soccer fields, and even an athletic complex where Japanese sports teams can train. Like a cross between an industrial park landlord and a public utility, CHC will supply electrical power (generated by a mix of ocean water, sun, and biomass), freshwater, and air-conditioning, as well as its cold-water agriculture tech to tenants and farmers of specialty crops. It will also sell freshwater to hotels that now rely on expensive reverse osmosis desalination.

Caught under the glare of Craven's brainpower, it all seems doable. "John Craven is a visionary," says Sylvia Earle, former director of NOAA and a CHC board member. "He's effectively demonstrated his pilot approach on a small scale, and who knows where it will lead? Who could have guessed how Henry Ford's auto design would change the world? Craven is not always right, but he's always worth listening to."

Craven has no doubts. On the grapes and freshwater alone, he says, "we'll make a fortune. We'll make freshwater for nothing, 13,000 to 15,000 pounds of grapes per acre per year, three times what the best vineyard in California can do." If the numbers pan out, Craven says, CHC will pay off its investors in seven years.

As the official tour winds on, Craven drags a plastic chair to the middle of the lawn, plunks himself down, and resumes talking about his anti-aging experiments. Investigating the osmotic and thermodynamic properties of plants led him to wonder about the human body, and now he's hooked. "I've patented my cold-water therapy, and I want to open a cold-water health spa right there," he says, pointing to the rocky coast. "The doctors don't agree with me, but that's because innovation is the enemy of the status quo - it puts people out of business."

Craven flexes his limber ankles and smiles. It won't be long before we know whether he's unleashed a new wave of octogenarian marathon runners or stepped off the deep end at last.

The Mad Genius from the Bottom of the Sea
Creating a Deep-Sea Oasis on Dry Land
Creating a Deep-Sea Oasis on Dry Land

The key to Craven's cool world is converting the ocean's thermal energy. The first step: Sink a pipe at least 3,000 feet deep and start pumping up seawater. The end result: an environmentally sustainable, virtually inexhaustible supply of electricity, freshwater for drinking and irrigation, even air-conditioning. Here's how it works:

Cold seawater circulates through a closed loop of pipes that replace the coolant and compressor found in conventional air-conditioning units.

Pipes carrying cold water run beneath fields of crops, sweating freshwater to irrigate plants and chilling their roots, promoting faster crop cycles.

Cold seawater passes through Craven's "skytowers," which contain closely packed radiator-like networks of pipes. The frigid pipes sweat in the tropical heat, producing­ freshwater condensate.

Power Generation:
Pipes draw warm water from the ocean surface and cold water from the seabed. The warm water enters a vacuum chamber and is evaporated into steam that drives an electricity-producing turbine. The cold water condenses the steam back into water for drinking and irrigation.

Contributing editor Carl Hoffman ( wrote about wave scientist Kerry Black in issue 12.05.

Wired Magazine

Anonymous said...

[sodium benzoate: soft drink cirrhosis; soft drink Parkinsons; add in aspartame and you are drinking both neurological death and cell death if you drink soft drinks. "Coke Adds Death"; "The Dead Pepsi Generation, etc."; sodium benzoate additionally in pickles, other sauces, etc.]

Caution: Some soft drinks may seriously harm your health
Expert links additive to cell damage

By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent
Published: 27 May 2007

A new health scare erupted over soft drinks last night amid evidence they may cause serious cell damage.

Research from a British university suggests a common preservative found in drinks such as Fanta and Pepsi Max has the ability to switch off vital parts of DNA.

The problem - more usually associated with ageing and alcohol abuse - can eventually lead to cirrhosis of the liver and degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's.

The findings could have serious consequences for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide who consume fizzy drinks. They will also intensify the controversy about food additives, which have been linked to hyperactivity in children.

Concerns centre on the safety of E211, known as sodium benzoate, a preservative used for decades by the £74bn global carbonated drinks industry. Sodium benzoate derives from benzoic acid. It occurs naturally in berries, but is used in large quantities to prevent mould in soft drinks such as Sprite, Oasis and Dr Pepper. It is also added to pickles and sauces.

Sodium benzoate has already been the subject of concern about cancer because when mixed with the additive vitamin C in soft drinks, it causes benzene, a carcinogenic substance. A Food Standards Agency survey of benzene in drinks last year found high levels in four brands which were removed from sale.

Now, an expert in ageing at Sheffield University, who has been working on sodium benzoate since publishing a research paper in 1999, has decided to speak out about another danger.

Professor Peter Piper, a professor of molecular biology and biotechnology, tested the impact of sodium benzoate on living yeast cells in his laboratory. What he found alarmed him: the benzoate was damaging an important area of DNA in the "power station" of cells known as the mitochondria.

He told The Independent on Sunday: "These chemicals have the ability to cause severe damage to DNA in the mitochondria to the point that they totally inactivate it: they knock it out altogether.

"The mitochondria consumes the oxygen to give you energy and if you damage it - as happens in a number if diseased states - then the cell starts to malfunction very seriously. And there is a whole array of diseases that are now being tied to damage to this DNA - Parkinson's and quite a lot of neuro-degenerative diseases, but above all the whole process of ageing."

The [corporate dominated instead of public health dominated] Food Standards Agency (FSA) backs the use of sodium benzoate in the UK and it has been approved by the European Union but last night, MPs called for it to investigate urgently.

Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat chair of Parliament's all-party environment group said: "Many additives are relatively new and their long-term impact cannot be certain. This preservative clearly needs to be investigated further by the FSA."

A review of sodium benzoate by the World Health Organisation in 2000 concluded that it was safe, but it noted that the available science supporting its safety was "limited".

Professor Piper, whose work has been funded by a government research council, said tests conducted by the US Food and Drug Administration were out of date.

"The food industry will [lie until they vomit out their nose and] say these compounds have been tested and they are complete safe," he said. "By the criteria of modern safety testing, the safety tests were inadequate. Like all things, safety testing moves forward and you can conduct a much more rigorous safety test than you could 50 years ago."

He advised parents to think carefully about buying drinks with preservatives until the quantities in products were proved safe by new tests. "My concern is for children who are drinking large amounts," he said.

Coca-Cola and Britvic's Pepsi Max and Diet Pepsi all contain sodium benzoate. Their makers and the British Soft Drinks Association said they entrusted the safety of additives to the Government.

Mark said...

water potting soil with 12pc clinoptiloite was shown to harvest morning dew

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
The micro-porous molecular structure of a zeolite, ZSM-5
The micro-porous molecular structure of a zeolite, ZSM-5

Zeolites (Greek, zein, "to boil"; lithos, "a stone") are minerals that have a micro-porous structure. The term was originally coined in the 18th century by a Swedish mineralogist named Axel Fredrik Cronstedt who observed, upon rapidly heating a natural mineral, that the stones began to dance about as the water evaporated. Using the Greek words which mean "stone that boils," he called this material zeolite.

More than 150 zeolite types have been synthesized and 48 naturally occurring zeolites are known. They are basically hydrated alumino-silicate minerals with an "open" structure that can accommodate a wide variety of cations (positive ions), such as Na+, K+, Ca2+, Mg2+ and others. These positive ions are rather loosely held and can readily be exchanged for others in a contact solution. Some of the more common mineral zeolites are: analcime, chabazite, heulandite, natrolite, phillipsite, and stilbite. An example mineral formula is: Na2Al2Si3O10-2H2O, the formula for natrolite.

Natural zeolites form where volcanic rocks and ash layers react with alkaline groundwater. Zeolites also crystallized in post-depositional environments over periods ranging from thousands to millions of years in shallow marine basins. Naturally occurring zeolites are rarely pure and are contaminated to varying degrees by other minerals, metals, quartz or other zeolites. For this reason, naturally occurring zeolites are excluded from many important commercial applications where uniformity and purity are essential.

Zeolites are the aluminosilicate members of the family of microporous solids known as "molecular sieves". The term molecular sieve refers to a particular property of these materials, i.e. the ability to selectively sort molecules based primarily on a size exclusion process. This is due to a very regular pore structure of molecular dimensions. The maximum size of the molecular or ionic species that can enter the pores of a zeolite is controlled by the diameters of the tunnels. These are conventionally defined by the ring size of the aperture, where, for example, the term "8ring" refers to a closed loop that is built from 8 tetrahedrally coordinated silicon (or aluminium) atoms and 8 oxygen atoms. These rings are not always perfectly flat and symmetrical due to a variety of effects, including strain induced by the bonding between units that are needed to produce the overall structure, or coordination of some of the oxygen atoms of the rings to cations within the structure. Therefore, the pore openings for all rings of one size are not identical.

* 1 Sources
* 2 Uses
o 2.1 Commercial and Domestic
o 2.2 Petrochemical industry
o 2.3 Nuclear Industry
o 2.4 Agriculture
o 2.5 Animal Welfare
o 2.6 Medical
o 2.7 Heating and refrigeration
o 2.8 Detergents
o 2.9 Construction
o 2.10 Gemstones
* 3 Zeolite mineral species
* 4 References
* 5 See also
* 6 External links

[edit] Sources

Conventional open pit mining techniques are used to mine natural zeolites. The overburden is removed to allow access to the ore. The ore may be blasted or stripped for processing by using tractors equipped with ripper blades and front-end loaders. In processing, the ore is crushed, dried, and milled. The milled ore may be air-classified as to particle size and shipped in bags or bulk. The crushed product may be screened to remove fine material when a granular product is required, and some pelletized products are produced from fine material. Producers also may modify the properties of the zeolite or blend their zeolite products with other materials before sale to enhance their performance.

Currently, the world’s annual production of natural zeolite is about 4 million tons. Of this quantity, 2.6 million tons are shipped to Chinese markets to be used in the concrete industry. Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Australia, and Asia are world leaders in supplying the world’s demand for natural zeolite. By comparison, only 57,400 metric tons (source: U.S. Geological Survey, 2004) of zeolite (only 1% of the world’s current production) is produced in North America; only recently has North America realized the potential for current and future markets.

There are several types of synthetic zeolites that form by a process of slow crystallization of a silica-alumina gel in the presence of alkalis and organic templates. One of the important process to carry out zeolite synthesis is sol-gel processing. The product properties depend on reaction mixture composition, pH of the system, operating temperature, pre-reaction 'seeding' time, reaction time as well as the templates used. In sol-gel process, other elements (metals, metal oxides) can be easily incorporated. The silicalite sol formed by the hydrothermal method is very stable. Also the ease of scaling up this process makes it a favorite route for zeolite synthesis.

Synthetic zeolites hold some key advantages over their natural analogs. The synthetics can, of course, be manufactured in a uniform, phase-pure state. It is also possible to manufacture desirable zeolite structures which do not appear in nature. Zeolite A is a well-known example. Since the principal raw materials used to manufacture zeolites are silica and alumina, which are among the most abundant mineral components on earth, the potential to supply zeolites is virtually unlimited. Finally, zeolite manufacturing processes engineered by man require significantly less time than the 50 to 50,000 years prescribed by nature. Disadvantages include the inability to create crystals with dimensions of a comparable size to their natural counterparts.

[edit] Uses

[edit] Commercial and Domestic

Zeolites are widely used as ion-exchange beds in domestic and commercial water purification, softening, and other applications. In chemistry, zeolites are used to separate molecules (only molecules of certain sizes and shapes can pass through), as traps for molecules so they can be analyzed.

Zeolites have the potential of providing precise and specific separation of gases including the removal of H2O, CO2 and SO2 from low-grade natural gas streams. Other separations include: noble gases, N2, freon and formaldehyde. However at present, the true potential to improve the handling of such gases in this manner remains unknown.

[edit] Petrochemical industry

Synthetic Zeolites are widely used as catalysts in the petrochemical industry, for instance in Fluid Catalytic Cracking and Hydro-Cracking. Zeolites confine molecules in small spaces, which causes changes in their structure and reactivity. The hydrogen form of zeolites (prepared by ion-exchange) are powerful solid-state acids, and can facilitate a host of acid-catalyzed reaction, such as isomerisation, alkylation, and cracking.

[edit] Nuclear Industry

Zeolites have uses in advanced reprocessing methods, where their micro-porous ability to capture some ions while allowing others to pass freely allow many fission products to be efficiently removed from nuclear waste and permanently trapped. Equally important is the mineral properties of zeolites. Their alumino-silicate construction is extremely durable and resistant to radiation even in porous form. Additionally, once they are loaded with trapped fission products, the zeolite-waste combination can be hot pressed into an extremely durable ceramic form, closing the pores and trapping the waste in a solid stone block. This is a waste form factor that greatly reduces its hazard compared to conventional reprocessing systems. [1]

[edit] Agriculture

In agriculture, clinoptilolite (a naturally occurring zeolite) is used as a soil treatment. It provides a source of slowly released potassium. If previously loaded with ammonium, the zeolite can serve a similar function in the slow release of nitrogen. Cuban studies in the emerging field of "zeoponics" suggest that some crops may be grown in 100% zeolite or zeolite mixtures in which the zeolite is previously loaded or coated with fertilizer and micronutrients. Zeolites can also act a water moderators, whereby they will absorb up to 55% of their weight in water and slowly release it under plant demand. This can prevent root rot and moderate drought cycles.

A potting soil with 12% clinoptiloite was shown to harvest morning dew and return it to the
plant roots for reuse.

The same bed was able to grow a Jerico strain of Leaf Lettuce in a sub tropical climate without external water and daytime temps exceeding 85 Degrees F. This produce did not bolt and went full term before setting seeds. It also has been shown that certain zeolites can reduce nitrates and nitrites to more plant usable free nitrogen by ion exchange.More data

[edit] Animal Welfare

In Concentrated Animal Growing facilities, the addition of as little as 1% of a very low sodium clinoptiloite was shown to improve feed conversion, reduce airborne ammonia up to 80%, act as a mycotoxin binder and improve bone density. see US Patents 4,917,045 and 6,284,232

[edit] Medical

Zeolite-based oxygen generation systems are widely used to produce medical grade oxygen. The zeolite is used as a molecular sieve to create purified oxygen from air, in a process involving the absorption of undesired gases and other atmospheric components, leaving highly purified oxygen and up to 5% argon.

Their use is also being explored for quickly clotting severe bleeding under the brand name "QuikClot" or "Hemosorb". The manufacturer claims that the biologically and botanically inert granulated material can be poured directly on the wound to stop high-volume bleeding almost instantaneously. [2]

[edit] Heating and refrigeration

Zeolites can be used as solar thermal collectors and for adsorption refrigeration. In these applications, their high heat of adsorption and ability to hydrate and dehydrate while maintaining structural stability is exploited. This hygroscopic property coupled with an inherent exothermic reaction when transitioning from a dehydrated to a hydrated form (heat adsorption), make natural zeolites effective in the storage of solar and waste heat energy.

[edit] Detergents

The largest outlet for synthetic zeolite is the global laundry detergent market. This amounted to 1.44 million metric tons per year of anhydrous zeolite A in 1992.

[edit] Construction

Synthetic zeolite is also being used as an additive in the production process of warm mix asphalt concrete. The development of this application started in Europe (Germany) in the 1990s and enjoys great public interest throughout the world ever since (see link below). It helps decreasing the temperature level during manufacture and laying of asphalt concrete, resulting in lower consumption of fossil fuels, thus releasing less carbon dioxide, aerosols and vapours. When added to Portland Cement as a Pozzolan, it can reduce Chloride Permability and improve workability, Reduces weight and help moderate water content while allowing for slower drying which improves break strength.more data

[edit] Gemstones

Thomsonites have been collected as gemstones from a series of lava flows along Lake Superior in Minnesota and to a lesser degree in Michigan, U.S.A.. Thomsonite nodules from these areas have eroded from basalt lava flows and are collected on beaches and by scuba divers in Lake Superior.

These thomsonite nodules have concentric rings in combinations of colors, black, white, orange, pink, red and many shades of green. Some nodules have copper as inclusions and rarely will be found with copper "eyes". When polished by a lapidary the thomsonites sometimes display chatoyancy.

[edit] Zeolite mineral species

The Zeolite family includes:

* Amicite
* Analcime
* Barrerite
* Bellbergite
* Bikitaite
* Boggsite
* Brewsterite
* Chabazite
* Clinoptilolite
* Cowlesite
* Dachiardite
* Edingtonite
* Epistilbite
* Erionite
* Faujasite
* Ferrierite
* Garronite
* Gismondine

* Gmelinite
* Gobbinsite
* Gonnardite
* Goosecreekite
* Harmotome
* Herschelite
* Heulandite
* Laumontite
* Levyne
* Maricopaite
* Mazzite
* Merlinoite
* Mesolite
* Montesommaite
* Mordenite
* Natrolite
* Offretite
* Paranatrolite

* Paulingite
* Pentasil
* Perlialite
* Phillipsite
* Pollucite
* Scolecite
* Sodium Dachiardite
* Stellerite
* Stilbite
* Tetranatrolite
* Thomsonite
* Tschernichite
* Wairakite
* Wellsite
* Willhendersonite
* Yugawaralite

[edit] References

* Zeolites in Sedimentary Rocks. Ch. in United States Mineral Resources, Professional Paper 820, 1973.
* Natural and Synthetic Zeolites. U.S. Bureau of Mines Information Circular 9140, 1987.

* La roca magica: Uses of natural zeolites in agriculture and industry

Frederick A. Mumpton. National Academy of Sciences Vol. 96, Issue 7, 3463-3470, March 30, 1999Abstract

[edit] See also

List of minerals

[edit] External links

* European Zeolites Producers Association
* Database of Zeolite Structures
* The Synthesis Commission of the International Zeolite Association
* British Zeolite Association
* U.S. Geological Survey, References on Zeolites
* Thomsonite as gemstones.
* Centre for Microporous Materials
* Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis

Retrieved from ""

Mark said...

Beetle-inspired water harvester:

A fog-catching device patterned on the Namibian Beetle’s prodigious water harvesting abilities captures ten times more water than existing fog catching nets. The beetle’s ability to pull water from fog is due to bumps on its wing scales that have water-loving tips and water-shedding sides.

QinetiQ (UK) has developed plastic water-harvesting sheets that mimic the beetle’s bumps, useful for capturing water in cooling towers and industrial condensers, arid agricultural systems, and buildings in fog-rich areas.

Mark said...

Non-chlorinated and non-fluoride water.

There are actually ultraviolet treatments for water purification that avoid chlorines bad for human health, particular as they are bioaccumulative.


What is Ultraviolet Light Disinfection?

Ultraviolet disinfection is a means of killing or rendering harmless microorganisms in a dedicated environment. These microorganisms can range from bacteria and viruses to algae and protozoa.

UV disinfection is used in air and water purification, sewage treatment protection of food and beverages, and many other disinfection and sterilization applications.

A major advantage of UV treatment is that it is capable of disinfecting water faster than chlorine without cumbersome retention tanks and harmful chemicals.

UV treatment systems are also extremely cost efficient!

Ultraviolet disinfection systems are mysterious to many people - how can "light" kill bacteria? But the truth is it can. Ultraviolet (UV) technology has been around for 50 years, and its effectiveness has been well documented both scientifically and commercially. It is nature's own disinfection/purification method.

With consumers becoming more concerned about chlorine and other chemical contamination of drinking water, more dealers are prescribing the ultraviolet solution suitable for both small flow residential applications as well as large flow commercial projects.

What are the Advantages of UV Disinfection?

Following are the advantages of UV sterilization:

* Environmentally friendly, no dangerous chemicals to handle or store, no problems of overdosing.

* Universally accepted disinfection system for potable and non-potable water systems.

* Low initial capital cost as well as reduced operating expenses when compared with similar technologies such as ozone, chlorine, etc.

* Immediate treatment process, no need for holding tanks, long retention times, etc.

* Extremely economical, hundreds of gallons may be treated for each penny of operating cost.

* Low power consumption.

* No chemicals added to the water supply - no by-products (i.e. chlorine + organics = trihalomethanes).

* Safe to use.

* No removal of beneficial minerals.

* No change in taste, odor, pH or conductivity nor the general chemistry of the water.

* Automatic operation without special attention or measurement, operator friendly.

* Simplicity and ease of maintenance, TWT Deposit Control System prevents scale formation of quartz sleeve, annual lamp replacement, no moving parts to wear out.

* No handling of toxic chemicals, no need for specialized storage requirements, no OHSA requirements.

* Easy installation, only two water connections and a power connection.

* More effective against viruses than chlorine.

* Compatible with all other water processes (i.e., RO, filtration, ion exchange, etc.).

What are Common UV Applications?

One of the most common uses of ultraviolet sterilization is the disinfection of domestic water supplies due to contaminated wells. Coupled with appropriate pre-treatment equipment, UV provides an economical, efficient and user-friendly means of producing potable water. The following list shows a few more areas where ultraviolet technology is currently in use:

surface water, groundwater, cisterns, breweries, hospitals, restaurants, vending, cosmetics, bakeries, schools, boiler feed water, laboratories, wineries, dairies, farms, hydroponics, spas, canneries, food products, distilleries, fish hatcheries, water softeners, bottled water plants, pharmaceuticals, mortgage approvals, electronics, aquaria, boats and RV's, printing, buffer processing, petro-chemical, photography, and pre- and post-reverse osmosis.

How does UV Disinfection Work?

Ultraviolet is one energy region of the electromagnetic spectrum, which lies between the x-ray region and the visible region.

UV itself lies in the ranges of 200 nanometers (nm) to 390 nanometers (nm).

Optimum UV germicidal action occurs at 260 nm.

Since natural germicidal UV from the sun is screened out by the earth's atmosphere, we must look to alternative means of producing UV light.

This is accomplished through the conversion of electrical energy in a low pressure mercury vapor "hard glass" quartz lamp. Electrons flow through the ionized mercury vapor between the electrodes of the lamp, which then creates UV light.

As UV light penetrates through the cell wall and cytoplasmic membrane, it causes a molecular rearrangement of the microorganism's DNA, which prevents it from reproducing.

If the cell cannot reproduce, it is considered dead.

What Factors Affect the Effectiveness of UV Disinfection?

Because UV does not leave any measurable residual in the water it is recommended that the UV sterilizer be installed as the final step of treatment and located as close as possible to the final distribution system. Once the quality of your water source has been determined, you will need to look at things that will inhibit the UV from functioning properly (e.g., iron manganese, TDS, turbidity, and suspended solids).

Iron and manganese will cause staining on the quartz sleeve and prevent the UV energy from transmitting into the water at levels as low as 0.03 ppm of iron and 0.05 ppm of manganese.

Proper pre-treatment with a sediment filter and Triangular Wave Deposit Control System is required to eliminate this staining problem.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) should not exceed approximately 500 ppm (about 8 grains of hardness). There are many factors that make up this equation such as the particular make-up of the dissolved solids and how fast they absorb the available UV energy. Calcium and magnesium, in high amounts, have a tendency to build up on the quartz sleeve, again impeding the UV energy from penetrating the water. A Triangular Wave Deposit Control System will handle TDS before it becomes a problem for the UV system.

Turbidity is the inability of light to travel through water.

Turbidity makes water cloudy and aesthetically unpleasant.

In the case of UV, levels over 1 NTU can shield microorganisms from the UV energy, making the process ineffective. Suspended Solids need to be reduced to a maximum of 5 microns in size. Larger solids have the potential of harboring or encompassing the microorganisms and preventing the necessary UV exposure. Pre-filtration is a must on all UV applications to effectively destroy microorganisms to a 99.9% kill rate.

An additional factors affecting UV is temperature. The optimal operating temperature of a UV lamp must be near 40 0C (104 0F).

UV levels fluctuate with temperature levels. Typically a quartz sleeve is installed to buffer direct lamp-water contact thereby reducing any temperature fluctuations.

Are there Special Installation and Maintenance Considerations?

Install a Triangular Wave Deposit Control System just upstream of the UV disinfection system to protect the UV system from scale and iron deposits. Scale and iron deposits on the quartz tube of the UV system eventually will block the UV light from treating killing the microbes in the water.

Once the application has been determined, you should find a location that offers easy access for service. You will need to have access to the pre-filters, to the UV chamber for annual lamp changes and inspection of the quartz sleeve. You will want to locate near an electrical outlet.

*Note: Using a UV system and a pump on the same electrical line may cause problems with and shorten the life of the UV lamp and ballast. For best results, the use of a separate electrical line should be considered, depending upon the specifics of your site; please consult your electrician, if necessary.

UV units should be installed on the cold water line before any branch lines and should be the last point of treatment. All points of the distribution system after the sterilizer must be chemically "shocked" to ensure that the system is free from any downstream microbial contamination.

Lamps should be changed as lamp output monitor indicates, but at least every 10 to 12 months. Note: depending upon systems purchased, lamp output monitors are optional, but recommended.

Filter changes are done according to the water quality, but usually it is three to six months.

Quartz sleeves should be inspected at least every 6 months. If minor deposits have formed, the sleeves should be wiped down with a soapy solution. Do not leave fingerprints on the quartz sleeve!

For proper operation and disinfection, it is imperative to follow the manufacturer's guidelines on water quality and operational procedures on associated process equipment as well as on the UV equipment.



[I don't know WHAT they are talking about so positively about (fluoride based off-gassing) Teflon below, or bioaccumulative toxin aluminum--certainly another technical material solutions in this model can be found...]


For many years chlorination has been the standard method of water disinfection. Recent studies have shown that water chlorination causes several environmental problems. Residuals and byproducts can be toxic to aquatic life in receiving waters. Some by-products of chlorination may be carcinogenic, and may require removal in a drinking water treatment plant. Also, it has been discovered that chlorination is much less effective in virus destruction than in killing bacteria.

Until the onset of the "energy crisis" of the 1970's, chlorination was the most cost-effective disinfection technique. Because chlorination production is energy intensive and because energy costs have, increased freight rates, the price of chlorine at the plant site has risen substantially in recent years. This trend is likely to continue. Potential gaseous chlorination safety problems have caused come communities, e.g., New York City and San Francisco, to choose hypochlorite which is much more costly than gaseous chlorine.

The above problems with chlorination have caused consulting engineers, users, and regulatory agencies to-actively pursue alternatives for water disinfection. Ultraviolet light is currently the leading candidate for water disinfection. It has the following inherent advantages over all other disinfection methods:

1. No chemical consumption-eliminates large scale storage, transportation and handling, and potential safety hazards.

2. Low contact time-no contact basin is necessary and space requirements are reduced.

3. No harmful by-products are formed.

4. A minimum of, or no, moving parts - high reliability.

5. Low energy requirements

Ultraviolet disinfection, thus, solves the environmental and safety problems, and is cost-effective as well.

Ultraviolet disinfection of water employs low-pressure mercury lamps. They generate short-wave ultraviolet in the region of 2537 Angstroms which is lethal to microorganisms including bacteria, protozoa, viruses, molds, yeasts, fungi, nemotode eggs, and algae. The mechanism of microorganism destruction is currently believed to be that ultraviolet causes molecular rearrangements in DNA and RHA, which in turn blocks replication.

When micro-organisms are subjected to ultraviolet light, a constant fraction of the number present die in each time increment (4). The fraction of the initial number of micro-organisms present at a given time is called the survival ratio. The fraction killed is one minus the survival ratio. The mathematical expression of these facts is shown below:

Survival Ratio = Nt/No = e-KIt


No = The number initially present

Nt = The number surviving at time

t = The time of exposure

I = the intensity (more correctly, scalar irradiance of ultraviolet light impinging on the microorganisms)

K = A constant which depends upon the type of micro-organisms and wavelength of ultraviolet light.

The above equation indicates that for each given micro-organism and UY wavelength, the fraction killed depends upon the product of UV light intensity and exposure time. This product is known as the "dosage". It is the single most important parameter for rating UV disinfection equipment.

The validity of this mathematical expression has been proven over a thousand fold range in intensity. The expression fails at only low values of intensity, which would not probably be found in a properly designed ultraviolet unit.

UV dosage requirement varies with the type of micro-organism. Dosage requirements for bacteria range from 2,500 to 22,000 microwatt-second/cm2. Yeast dosage requirements range from 6,600 to 17,600 microwatt-second/ cm2. Mold spore, fungi, and algae dosage renuirements range from 11,000 to 330,000 micowatt-second/cm2.

Viruses, with the exception of the tobacco mosaic (not normally found in water) have dosage requirements in the same range as bacteria. Protozoa and nematode egss have extremely high dosage requirements.

There is no universally accepted minimum dosage requirement for ultraviolet disinfection systems. In 1966, the U.S. Public Health Service published a policy statement which contained a drinking water disinfection dosage requirement of 16,000 microwatt-second/cm2 (5). This statement has formed the basis for several standards published throughout the world.

A dosage requirement has not yet been developed for wastewater. However, fecal coliform bacteria are the customary indicator micro-organisms used in judging the efficiency of water disinfection. The destruction dosage for fecal coliform is 6,600 microwatt-second/cm2 .

The basic design problem in any ultraviolet system to efficiently and reliably deliver the required dosage to micro-organisms suspended in the fluid. There are essentially two basic design concepts in current use to accomplish this task. One employs flow over a submerged bank of germicidal lamps with quartz sleeves. Fluid flows through Teflon tubes surrounded by germicidal lamps in the other design concept.

Quartz Tube Systems with Shellside flow

Most substances are not penetrated by short-wave ultraviolet rays. Water is one of the few liquids which allows a significant penetration. Quartz is one of the few solid materials that is virtually transparent to short-wave ultraviolet. It is used in the manufacture of germicidal lamps and as a material of construction in many commercial ultraviolet systems.

Quartz tubes tend to be brittle, fragile and difficult to seal. Complicated in-place cleaning systems must usually be installed to keep the quartz surface free from fouling materials.

In a conventional quartz ultraviolet disinfection unit, water flows over a bank of quartz sleeves similar to flow in the shell-side of a shell-and-tube heat exchanger. Inside each quartz sleeve is a germicidal lamp. A separate o-ring seal is made at the end of each quartz sleeve. The outer shell is usually constructed of either stainless steel andized aluminum, or polyvinyl chloride. Quartz UV systems are designed for either pressurized or gravity water flow.

Unless the quartz ultraviolet system is disinfecting an ultra-pure water source, the quartz sleeves readily foul with suspended and dissolved matter in the water. Therefore, it is necessary to employ a technique to remove the fouling matter on an almost continuous basis to preserve the high UV transmittance of quartz and the disinfection capability of the system.

Two, non-chemical, cleaning methods have been used with limited success. The first is a mechanical wiper system, in which a wiper periodically scrapes fouling deposits off of the outer surface of the quartz sleeves. For this technique to work effectively, very close toler ances are required on quartz sleeve outer diameter and alignment. Close tolerances are also required on the wiper system as well. These severe tolerance requirements add to manufacturing expense and tend to be difficult to achieve with large tube bundles.

Teflon Tube Flow Systems

In the early 1970's it was discovered that FEP Teflon was also an excellent transmitter of 253.7 nm ultraviolet light . Data obtained over fifteen years of continuous testing by DuPont indicated that Teflon was also very stable to solar ultraviolet (minimum 290 nm). Shorter term tests (five years) indicated that Teflon is virtually unaffected by the shorter germicidal wave length light. Teflon, an deal material to contain a wastewater during disinfection, has the following advantages:

1. It has a high transmission of 253.7 nm ultraviolet light - approximately 80 percent transmission with wall thicknesses used in disinfection systems.

2. Teflon is chemically inert. Teflon tubes are not attacked by substances present in water or wastewater.

3. It is non-wetting and has an extremely low-friction co-efficient. Tefton tubes are usually not fouled by substances present in water or wastewater. If fouling should occur, chemical cleaning can be used to easily remove deposits.

4. Teflon is an approved material by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use with food and beverages.

5. It is virtually unaffected by ultraviolet rays.

In the Teflon tube flow system, the fluid to be disinfected flows through Teflon tubes. To achieve large flow capacities, these tubes can be connected in parallel to large diameter headers. Systems of several million gallons per day capacity can then be built as a single unit.

Banks of germicidal lamps are placed in between the tubes so that each tube is exposed to ultraviolet light from alt sides. The lamps are mounted on a frame which can be slid out for easy lamp replacement.

Aluminum, which is an excellent reflector for ultraviolet, forms the outer casing. Unabsorbed ultraviolet, which strikes the enclosure walls, is mostly re-reflected and is eventually absorbed by the water. This design is extremely efficient in the utilization of ultraviolet energy emitted by the germicidal lamps.

From the preceding, it is obvious that an essential aspect of effective application of ultraviolet irradiation involves maintaining an optimal dose of radiant energy. Manufacturers of ultraviolet irradiation equipment provide ratings related to the maximum water flow rates which may be attempted, above which the radiant dose will be inadequate.

While there will be some variations among different makes and models, most ultraviolet disinfection equipment of the type used for hemodialysis and other purified water systems are designed to provide a radiant dose of 30 000 microwatt-sec/cm2, which is well in excess of that needed for the destruction of most, but not all, types of water-born bacteria.

In this regard, it should be recognized that an inadequate dose of radiant energy may result if the mercury vapor lamps are not periodically replaced, if the water contains materials which absorb or prevent the light from reaching the bacteria, or if the quartz sleeve becomes coated.

It should also be pointed out that, for many commercial units, a continuous flow of water is required to prevent overheating of the ultraviolet lamps. If such overheating is allowed to occur, the wavelength of ultraviolet light emitted may change to a point at which it is no longer bactericidal and, when flow is resumed, initial volumes of effluent water may be bacterially contaminated.

It has been reported that certain bacterial species are resistant to ultraviolet irradiation and, unless controlled by other means, may proliferate to excessive levels. A further disadvantage of ultraviolet irradiators is their ineffectiveness for the removal of endotoxin. The inability of ultraviolet irradiation to remove endotoxin may preclude its use in some medical situations, or other appicatiors in whch more stringent control of these contaminants is necessary.

Ultraviolet irradiation equipment is convenient to operate, routine use requiring only that they be electrically switched "on", and may be helpful in suppressing bacterial growth in purified water distribution systems in which upstream equipment, such as reverse osmosis, provides the primary means for their removal.

Submicron filtration is also frequently used, as a secondary means of bacterial control. The capabilities of ultraviolet irradiation and submicron filtration are both limited in that neither remove endotoxin and only destroy or eliminate bacteria within the equipment itself. Ultraviolet irradiation may actually cause endotoxin levels to increase as a result of bacterial destruction.

Also, since ultraviolet irradiation has no downstream bactericidal effects, it should be used in combination with regular chemical disinfection procedures. In this manner organisms are chemically eliminated from the entire system, after which ultraviolet irradiation prevents rapid multiplication of bacteria which may penetrate the reverse osmosis equipment.

Users of ultraviolet irradiation equipment should recognize the need for regular maintenance, including lamp replacement and cleaning. Ultraviolet lamps are typically designed to operate for one year, during which time radiant output will progressively decrease.

Thus, at a minimum, the lamps must be replaced annually. Most manufacturers also provide, at additional cost, monitors to detect loss of lamp radiant energy output and these provide a more accurate indication of the need for lamp replacement than reliance on calendar-based replacement schedules.

We trust that this short overview of Ultraviolet Technology is useful to you as an end user or as a water dealer. Your comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

Mark said...

Ultraviolet (UV) light can be used instead of chlorine, iodine, or other chemicals. Because no chemicals are used, the treated water's taste is more natural and pure as compared to other methods. UV radiation causes damage to the genetic structure of bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, making them incapable of reproduction. The key disadvantages of UV disinfection are the need for frequent lamp maintenance and replacement and the need for a highly treated effluent to ensure that the target microorganisms are not shielded from the UV radiation (i.e., any solids present in the treated effluent may protect microorganisms from the UV light). In the United Kingdom, light is becoming the most common means of disinfection because of the concerns about the impacts of chlorine in chlorinating residual organics in the wastewater and in chlorinating organics in the receiving water.

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada also uses UV light for its water treatment.


Mark said...

One way to conserve water would be to demote thermoelectric power generation for other forms, like solar or wind power. Why? At least for the United States, over half of water usage goes to this outdated unsustainable grid-based power generation.

Then you might think of other ways to conserve water in agriculture--the U.S.'s secondmost use of water.

IT'S NOT INDIVIDUALS that waste most water.

Look at the chart of uses, disaggreaged, for U.S. water use.

It's wasteful THERMOELECTRIC power generation, then AGRICULTURE, then tiny individual mass consumers, and then INDUSTRY.

SO, disinvesting in nuclear and natural gas power plants would be a start. Going to solar or wind power would be the major help in reducing the water draw. ;-)

Funny that people think individual consumption is the larger user of water in the USA:


Here's the summary image for you. Thermoelectric power is mostly to blame for a lot of water use. Then monocrop agriculture.


Since 1950, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled data on amounts of water used in homes, businesses, industries, and on farms throughout the United States, and has described how that use has changed with time. Water-use data are collected at five-year intervals. These data, combined with other USGS information, have facilitated a unique understanding of the effects of human activity on the Nation's water resources. Water availability has emerged as an important issue for the 21st century and, as a result, the need is increasing for consistent, long-term water-use data to support wise use of this essential natural resource.

Between 1950 and 1980 there was a steady increase in water use in the United States. During this time, the expectation was that as population increased, so would water use. Contrary to expectation, reported water withdrawals declined in 1985 and have remained relatively stable since then in spite of a steady increase in United States population.

Changes in technology, in State and Federal laws, and in economic factors, along with increased awareness of the need for water conservation, have resulted in more efficient use of the water from the Nation's rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and aquifers.

Estimates of water use for 2000 indicate that about 408 billion gallons per day (abbreviated Bgal/d) were withdrawn for all uses during the year.

This total has varied less than 3 percent since 1985 as withdrawals have stabilized for the two largest uses—thermoelectric power and irrigation. Freshwater withdrawals were about 80 percent of the total, and the remaining 20 percent was saline water.

Saline water is defined as water with 1000 mg/L or more of dissolved solids; it is usually undesirable for drinking and for many industrial uses.

Thermoelectric Water Use

Cooling towers, Burke County, Georgia.
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Thermoelectric power accounts for about half of total water withdrawals. Most of the water is derived from surface water and used for once-through cooling at power plants. About 52 percent of fresh surface-water withdrawals and about 96 percent of saline-water withdrawals are for thermoelectric-power use.

Irrigation Water Use

Grated-pipe flood irrigation, Fremont County, Wyoming.
Credit: USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service

Irrigation accounts for about a third of water use and is currently the largest use of fresh water in the United States.

Irrigation water use includes water used for growing crops, frost protection, chemical applications, weed control, and other agricultural purposes, as well as water used to maintain areas such as parks and golf courses.

Historically, more surface water than ground water has been used for irrigation. However, the percentage of total irrigation withdrawals from ground water has continued to increase, from 23 percent in 1950 to 42 percent in 2000.

Irrigated acreage more than doubled between 1950 and 1980, then remained constant before increasing nearly 7 percent between 1995 and 2000. The number of acres irrigated with sprinkler and microirrigation systems has continued to increase and now comprises more than one-half the total irrigated acreage.

Public Supply Water Use

Public supply water intake, Bay County, Florida.
Credit: U.S. Geological Survey

Public-supply water is water withdrawn by public and private water suppliers, in contrast to self-supplied water, which is water withdrawn by a user. Public-supply water may be used for domestic, commercial, industrial, thermoelectric power, or public-use purposes. In 1950, only 62 percent of the United States population obtained drinking water from public suppliers, but by 2000 about 85 percent did.

Public-supply water use has increased steadily since 1950 and accounted for [only] about 11 percent of water use in 2000.

Industrial Water Use

Self-supplied industry.

In 2000, self-supplied industrial water withdrawals accounted for about 5 percent of water use.

Industrial water use includes water used for fabrication, processing, washing, and cooling, and also includes water used by smelting facilities, petroleum refineries, and industries producing chemical products, food, and paper products. Industrial water use has declined 24 percent since 1985 and in 2000 was at the lowest level since reporting began in 1950.

Other Water Use

Combined withdrawals for self-supplied domestic, livestock, aquaculture, and mining activities represented about 3 percent of total water withdrawals for 2000.

Self-supplied domestic withdrawals include water used for household purposes which is not obtained from public supply.

About 43 million people in the United States self-supply their domestic water needs, usually from wells. Livestock water use includes watering, feedlots, and other on-farm needs for animals such as cattle, sheep, pigs, horses, and poultry.

Aquaculture use is water used for fish hatcheries, fish farms, and shellfish farms. Mining water use encompasses water used for the extraction of minerals, including solids such as coal and ores, liquids such as crude petroleum, and gases such as natural gas.

Also included is water used for processes done as part of the mining activity. Nearly all of saline ground-water withdrawals in 2000 were for mining.

Domestic well, Early County, Georgia; Livestock watering, Rio Arriba County, New Mexico; Trout farm, Buhl, Idaho.
Credits: U.S. Geological Survey; USDA, Natural Resources Conservation Service; Clear Springs Foods, Inc.

Trends in Water Use

Estimates of water use show total withdrawals increased steadily from 1950 to 1980, declined more than 9 percent from 1980 to 1985, and have varied less than 3 percent since 1985.

Total withdrawals peaked during 1980, although total U.S. population has increased steadily since 1950. Estimates of water use peaked during 1980 because of large industrial, irrigation, and thermoelectric-power withdrawals.

Total withdrawals for 2000 were similar to the 1990 total withdrawals, although the U.S. population had increased 13 percent since 1990.

Trends in population and freshwater withdrawals by source, 1950-2000.
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

Total withdrawals have remained about 80 percent surface water and 20 percent ground water since 1950. The portion of surface-water withdrawals that was saline increased from 7 percent for 1950 to 20 percent for 1975 and has remained about 20 percent since.

The percentage of ground water that was saline never exceeded about 2 percent. The percentage of total withdrawals that was saline water increased from a minor amount in 1950 to as much as 17 percent during 1975 and 1990.

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950-2000. (Total withdrawals for rural domestic and livestock and for "other industrial use" are not available for 2000.)
Source: U.S. Geological Survey

More detailed information on water-use and water-use trends is available in the U.S. Geological Survey publication Estimated Use of Water in the United States in 2000. Water basics and additional water-use information can be found in USGS: Water Science for Schools, especially the Water Questions & Answers.

So get off the electric grid, turn off your lights, heat, or airconditioning to save water, instead of thinking flushing your toilet less will help.

As for solving agricultural water use, take a page from the "accidental agricultural revolution" in Cuba after they lost access to subsidized Soviet Block inputs from 1989:

Cuba The Accidental Revolution PT-1
46 min - 17-Oct-07 - (13 ratings)
latest revolutions, an agricultural revolution and a revolution in science and medicine are having repercussions around the world.
Cuba: The Accidental Revolution (Part 1),

Cuba The Accidental Revolution PT-2
46 min - 17-Oct-07 - (2 ratings)
-2...In Cuba: The Accidental Revolution (Part 2), airing Sunday, August 6 at 7 PM on CBC Television, we learn that

Mark said...

Safer Water Worldwide
Industrial Toxicologists Develop Cost-Effective, Life-Saving Disinfection

December 1, 2006 — Industrial toxicologists at a non-profit venture founded by Procter & Gamble developed PUR, a water purifier that combines a flocculant -- which separates particles and organisms from water -- and a disinfectant that kills microbes after 30 minutes.

The water is then filtered through a cloth to remove the debris.

PUR is intended as a cost-effective way of treating contaminated water in developing countries -- where this kills an estimated 5,000 children a day -- as well as during a disaster such as hurricane Katrina.

CINCINNATI -- In the United States, with just the turn of a knob, clean, drinkable water is right at our fingertips. That's not the case in many parts of the world. But new technology is making it possible for people worldwide to have drinkable water ... With a stir of a powerful powder.

You wouldn't drink dirty water straight out of a river. But in [peripherially dominated] developing nations [that are sometimes intentionally kept destroyed and without a form of local politics by choice from core countries invasions to keep the area destabilized, poor, and disease ridden intentionally to make it easier to dominate the area], tap water is not a choice.

"People have to share their drinking water sources with their animals. People many times drink from open ponds or streams," Greg Allgood of P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Program based in Cincinnati, tells DBIS.

...And that leads to deadly water-borne illnesses. Allgood, an industrial toxicologist, is director of P&G's Children's Safe Drinking Water Program, a non-profit venture for the consumer-products giant.

"We need to rapidly address the crisis of so many children dying from unsafe drinking water," he says. One packet of P&G's PUR Purifier of Water can clean about two-and-a-half gallons of water as clean as your tap water. Allgood says the packets contain iron sulphate and calcium hypochlorite, which kill bacteria and viruses while removing parasites and heavy metals.

The packets are being used in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Africa, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Pakistan and are helping save lives from some of the most deadly diseases.

PUR doesn't have U.S. approval yet. [who cares about that 'approval']

Meanwhile, P&G is working with other non-profit agencies to expand the distribution of PUR into other African nations.

On the open market, packets sell for around 10 cents apiece. [expensive! Would be far better to simply take the chemicals and find better sources for them that are cheaper than 10c apiece! Sunlight is a great cleanser; this seems more for emergency water purification instead of a long term solution that can be far more infrastructural in how to handle water.]


Mark said...

Babies exposed to chlorinated water at risk of heart problems

By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
Last updated: 1:46 PM BST 03/06/2008

Babies born in areas where drinking water is heavily disinfected with chlorine are at double the risk of heart problems, cleft palate or major brain defects, according to a new study.

Expectant mothers can expose themselves to the higher risk by drinking the water, swimming in chlorinated water, taking a bath or shower, or even by standing close to a boiling kettle, say researchers.

The finding, based on an analysis of nearly 400,000 infants, is the first that links by-products of water chlorination - chemicals known as trihalomethanes, or THMs - to three specific birth defects.

Exposure to high levels of THMs substantially increased the risk of holes in the heart, cleft palate and anencephalus, which results in the absence of a major portion of the brain, skull, and scalp.

Where exposure to THMs was above 20 millionths of a gram per litre, there was an increased risk of 50 to 100 per cent of these conditions compared with levels below 5 millionths of a gram per litre.

The dangerous levels are reached in one in six households in the UK - around four million homes - according to the author, Professor Jouni Jaakkola, at the University of Birmingham's Institute of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

"The biological mechanism for how these disinfection by-products may cause defects are still unknown," says Prof Jaakkola, who reports the findings with Taiwanese colleagues in the journal Environmental Health.

"However, our findings don't just add to the evidence that water chlorination may cause birth defects, but suggest that exposure to chlorination by-products may be responsible for some specific and common defects."

Chlorination has been a major public health success [sure...], cutting waterborne diseases [even though there are far better ways to keep water clean, this solution is just a crony raw material regime connection and conflict of interest to the chemical lobby], but he says that earlier work may have missed this effect by not using specific categories of birth defect.




The majority of people on the public water supply receive chlorinated water, though not all those who drink the water will be exposed to the byproducts.

Those who generally will not be exposed are the approximately half a million people on private supplies - and some of them may, depending on the nature of their supplies have chlorination.

Story from Telegraph News:

Mark said...

Scrap Tires Can Be Used To Filter Wastewater

ScienceDaily (Nov. 19, 2006) — Every year, the United State produces millions of scrap tires that clog landfills and become breeding areas for pests. Finding adequate uses for castoff tires is a continuing challenge and illegal dumping has become a serious problem throughout the nation.

Dr. Yuefeng Xie, associate professor of environmental engineering at Penn State Harrisburg, has developed a method that uses crumb rubber to filter wastewater, which can help ease the tire problem and clean up the environment at the same time.

"My research has found that crumb rubber, derived from waste tires, can be used as a filter media," Xie explains. "The crumb rubber could be used for treating wastewater, ship ballast water, and storm water."

Crumb rubber is produced by chopping up and grinding up waste tires to a desired size, cleaning the rubber and removing any metal particles. It is currently being used in highway pavement, athletic track surfaces, playgrounds, landfill liners, compost bulking agents, various manufactured products, energy recovery and even as artificial reefs for aquatic life.

For traditional wastewater filtration, gravity downflow granular filters using sand or anthracite as a medium are commonly used. One major problem with these filters is that upon backwashing the particles, the larger ones settle at a greater rate than the smaller.

The Penn State researcher explains that this causes the top of the filter bed to hold the smallest medium particles and the bottom to hold the largest with the small medium particles or top layer of the filter tending to become clogged quickly.

In his research, he has proved that crumb rubber is not a rigid material; instead it can be easily bent or compressed. Through the crumb rubber method, the larger solids are removed at the top layer of the filter and the smaller solids at a lower level, greatly minimizing the clogging problem.

Several studies conducted by Xie show that the crumb rubber filter is much more cost effective than conventional sand or anthracite filters. Because of substantially higher water filtration rates and lighter weight in comparison to sand or anthracite, crumb rubber filters may also be used in a mobile treatment unit for disaster relief operations, he adds.

Because the crumb rubber is compressible, the porosity of the particles is decreased which resembling an ideal filter medium configuration.

It can then be used at higher filter rates while performing similarly to other media now in use. The crumb rubber media provide better effluent qualities and larger media allow longer filter runs at higher flow rates.

Also a Professional Engineer, Xie holds a U.S. patent on the technology.

With more than 20 years of research experience in water and wastewater treatment, he focuses his work on water disinfection, disinfection byproduct control, water reuse and acid mine abatement.


Mark said...

Solar-powered plants promise water for world’s poorest

March 4th, 2008 - 12:08 pm ICT by admin - Email This Post Email This Post

By Ernest Gill

Hamburg (Germany), March 4 (DPA) A team of German scientists has come up with a revolutionary design for a small solar-powered mobile water treatment plant which could bring hope to drought-affected areas of the world.

The researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Freiburg said they have been carrying out tests on their small, decentralised water treatment plants with an autonomous power supply in recent weeks and that they hope they will move into production in the coming months.

According to the team, the plant can produce 120 to 150 litres of pure drinking water per day from salty seawater or brackish water.

“Our plants work on the principle of membrane distillation,” explained one of the team, Joachim Koschikowski.

“In our plant, the salty water is heated up and guided along a micro-porous, water-repellent membrane. Cold drinking water flows along the other side of the membrane.

“The salt is left behind and the water vapour condenses as it cools on the other side. It leaves us with clean, germ-free water.”

The team said that the units could be particularly useful for communities in rural parts of Africa and India, where there are no funds for permanent desalination plants [or additional bad financial dependencies and addictions to chemical-based solutions for creating potable liquids.]

Tests in Gran Canaria and Jordan of the new system have already proved very successful.

The plant on Gran Canaria has been up and running for three years, Koschikowski said. So far, only little things have needed repair, such as the odd cable or the pump that had to be replaced.

“But those are teething problems,” he said. “In principle, the plant has been designed to be maintenance free.”

The desalination system is based on the principle of membrane distillation.

“The salty water is heated up and guided along a microporous, water repellent membrane,” Koschikowski explained.

“Cold drinking water flows through the other side of the membrane. The steam pressure gradient resulting from the temperature difference causes part of the salt water to evaporate and pass through the membrane. The salt is left behind, and the water vapour condenses as it cools down on the other side. It leaves us with clean, germ-free water.”

In comparison, other methods such as reverse osmosis or solar water distillation are either too sensitive to impurities in the water or too inefficient.

Membrane distillation plants, on the other hand, are rather robust and uncomplicated. In addition, the system recovers the heat after the distillation process, making it more energy-efficient.

The Fraunhofer researchers have also developed a dual-circuit system in which several desalination modules are connected, so that the system is more powerful and reaches a greater output of several cubic metres of water treated per day.

Even though, compared to this, up to 150 litres of drinking water from the compact plants might seem like a drop in the ocean, Koschikowski said that there is definitely a demand for the small capacity, too.

In developing countries, water consumption is much lower than in developed countries. Hence, a small plant can supply drinking water for up to 15 people.

The price per 1,000 litres will amount to about 10 euros ($15) as soon as the plants can be mass-produced.

“When you think how much the inhabitants currently have to pay for the same amount of bottled water or soft drinks, the plant will pay off very quickly,” Koschikowski concluded.


Mark said...

[The general ecology we depend upon still requires clean terrestrial water sources though, so while it is a human solution it is hardly a substitute for cleaning up water pollution on the ground.]

Published January 10, 2008 12:14 PM

New Device Turns Air into Drinking Water

All around the world, we're dealing with a severe water shortage. An entire continent, Australia, is so dry that cities have set up "water police" to rat out residents who use their garden hoses a single moment longer than they're meant to.

For years, Israel, too, has been dealing with a tremendous drought; the water sources that still exist in the arid country are often so polluted that the water is undrinkable.

Luckily, there's one resource we've still got plenty of: Air.

And thanks to a new company, Houston, Texas-based Aquamaker, that air can now be converted into drinkable water. Much like a dehumidifier, the company's new technology works to capture humidity in the air and convert it into water. The system has filters in place to get rid of any pollutants in the air, ensuring that the resulting liquid is completely safe to drink.

"It's your own well, and it's clean," the CEO of Aquamaker's Israel branch, Eita Markovits, told The Jerusalem Post. "We believe that five to ten years from now, we will be part of how Israel supplies its citizens with water."

Aquamaker's machines are capable of producing up to 5,000 liters of water at a time, which would be enough to supply an entire village with fresh water, without draining an area's precious natural resources. When used in combination with a solar power generator, they provide an environmentally friendly alternative to bottled water for areas with a limited tap water supply.

Currently, the devices are sold in the US, Australia, Israel, and several other countries, and are available in both commercial and industrial sizes.

We may not all need to pick up one of these machines just yet, but it's comforting to know that no matter what disasters global warming throws our way, we'll always have something to drink.


Mark said...

Israel Shows Off Desalination, Sewage Plants on International Water Day
Published March 23, 2007 12:00 AM

ASHKELON, Israel -- Israel displayed its best desalination plant to visiting diplomats Thursday, marking International Water Day by demonstrating how the desert nation keeps from shriveling in the sun.

The plant, at the southern port of Ashkelon, turns 330,000 cubic meters of Mediterranean seawater into fresh water every day for about 53 cents each -- compared to 80 cents at other plants, according to an official from the company that built the Israeli facility.

Ezra Barkai, desk manager for IDE technologies, said the plant uses the common reverse osmosis technology that pushes water through a series of filters to remove salt, but also streamlines and reuses energy sources to make the finished product relatively inexpensive.

"It's very impressive," said Zhou Hui, economic and commercial counselor from the Chinese embassy. "China's economy is growing very quickly, and we need water just as much as fuel or steel. We hope Israel can show us how to expand our industry without destroying our environment and natural resources."

Hui said that China was considering spending around $100 million for a pilot desalination facility that would produce about a third as much as the one in Ashkelon.


Published September 13, 2005 12:00 AM
Singapore To Open First Desalination Plant in Bid for Water Self-Sufficiency

* Singapore Says Water Recycled from Sewage Will Meet a Third of Its Needs by 2011
* Singapore Opens Fourth Recycling Plant to Turn Sewage into Water
* Singapore, Malaysia Sign Deal Ending Dispute over Land Reclamation
* Malaysia discovers "Singapore-size" water reservoir

SINGAPORE — For decades, Singapore has relied on Malaysia to supply a huge portion of a vital resource: water.

But the two neighbors sometimes disagree, and resource-scarce Singapore wants to be less reliant.

Aiming for self-sufficiency in water, Singapore says its first desalination plant -- billed as one of the biggest in the world -- will meet at least 10 percent of the nation's water needs.

Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong planned to open the facility with fanfare late Tuesday.

Singapore is also hosting an international forum this week on desalination and water reuse, attended by more than 700 delegates from 42 countries, including some from the Middle East.

The plant, worth 200 million Singapore dollars (US$119 million; euro96.65 million), will churn out 136,380 cubic meters (4,815,678 cubic feet) of potable water from seawater daily. The fresh water will be pumped into the city-state's mains, which are currently supplied from catchment areas, recycled sewage and Malaysian imports.

Singapore imports half its water from Malaysia, and has made self-sufficiency in water into a national priority amid a dispute with its neighbor over how much it should pay for the imports.

The city-state's water agreements with Malaysia expire by 2061.

At the desalination plant, dissolved salts in seawater are extracted by forcing the water through plastic membranes with microscopic pores. Silt is removed by dousing the seawater with [bad] chemicals that coagulate the particles.

In 2003, Singapore started recycling and purifying sewage water to boost supply.

The country's environment minister, Yaacob Ibrahim, has said Singapore wants to turn 90 percent of its main island into fresh water catchment areas.

The plant was built by Hyflux, a Singapore-based water treatment company, and Ondeo, its French partner. Hyflux is contracted to operate the plant for the next twenty years.

Source: Associated Press


Published July 2, 2007 12:00 AM
Texas Begins Desalinating Sea Water

BROWNSVILLE, Texas -- On a one-acre site alongside a string of shrimp boats docked on the Brownsville ship channel stands a $2.2 million assembly of pipes, sheds, and humming machinery -- Texas' entree into global efforts to make sea water suitable to drink.

Opening a small spigot at the end of a fat pipe, plant operator Joel del Rio fills a plastic glass with what he says will taste "like regular bottled water."

"Sea water," he said. "It's never gonna run out."

The plant is a pilot project for the state's $150 million, full-scale sea water desalination plant slated for construction in 2010.

Desalting sea water is expensive, mostly because of the energy required. [Of course in the first post of this thread, that has already been solved. In other posts, ideally it is connectd to solar power run facilities. Zero emissions or cost in the energy side in the long run that way.]

Current cost estimates run at about $650 per acre foot (326,000 gallons), as opposed to $200 for purifying the same amount of fresh water. [Not for solar power!]

However, it is a growing field around the world as governments and private investors ante up where water drinkable needs are crucial.

About two-thirds of the world's desalinated water is produced [presently in 2007] in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and North Africa. Perth, Australia, is looking to meet a third of its fresh water demand by removing salt from sea water.

In March, Israel showed off its plant at the Mediterranean port of Ashkelon that can process 87 million gallons of water a day.

Singapore opened a sea water desalination plant in 2005 hoping it will meet at least 10 percent of its water needs.

Two months ago, General Electric Co. announced a $220 million contract to build a plant in South Africa.

Global output is still relatively minute -- less than 0.1 percent of all drinking water. But according to a recent report by Global Water Intelligence, the worldwide desalination industry is expected to grow 140 percent over the next decade, with $25 billion in capital investment by 2010, or $56 billion by 2015.

While the U.S. has hundreds of plants to purify brackish ground water, desalination of saltier sea water is just getting started.

In Florida, a $158 million sea water desalination plant in the Tampa Bay area opened in March after years of delays.

California hopes to get about half a million acre feet of water a year from desalination, said Fawzi Karajeh, chief of water recycling and desalination for the state Department of Water Resources.

That may seems a tiny portion of the state's yearly requirement of 70 million acre feet, "but every drop counts," Karajeh said.

An acre-foot is about 326,000 gallons, or about enough to supply two homes for one year.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry began pushing for Gulf of Mexico desalination in 2002, after a state water plan determined that hundreds of communities could face water shortages in the next 50 years.

The Brownsville venture got fast-tracked during a period of alarming drought and rapid population growth. From 1990 to 2000, the Brownsville area grew 43 percent to 372,000 people, and the population is expected to approach 500,000 by 2020.

Every drop of the Rio Grande, the river shared by Texas and Mexico, is already accounted for. A plant that purifies brackish groundwater provides enough water to meet about one-fourth of Brownsville's current peak demand, but groundwater may not last through a long-term drought.

Desalination is "part of the tools in the toolbox" of 4,500 water management strategies in the state's water plan, Texas Water Development Board spokeswoman Carla Daws said.

"We should never become complacent because of the history of our state having repeated droughts," she said.

The pilot plant was built along the busy ship channel because passing ships stir up the water, providing a challenge for the purification systems, said Genoveva Gomez, the Brownsville project's lead engineer.

Water pumped into the plant goes to three separate pretreatment units, designed by three separate companies hoping to win a contract for the full-scale plant. Chemicals and filtration remove bacteria, sediment and other impurities.

The cleaned but still salty water then goes to the reverse-osmosis equipment, where it is pumped at high pressure through a process that separates dissolved salt molecules from the water, producing one stream of purified water and a second of concentrated brine that is returned to the sea.

Tyson Broad of the Sierra Club in Austin said he was concerned the plant would be constructed on the shores of the Laguna Madre and send a salty discharge into the bay.

"If that increases the salinity in the bay system that's going to probably make the area less tolerable to fish and for any of the organisms that need to rely on the bay," he said.

Gomez said the waste discharge from the pilot plant is cleaner than the sea water that came in, and said even a full-scale plant would have minimal environmental impact.

She said the high cost of desalinated sea water will as more companies enter the market.

"If that's the only solution we have, you get water from the sea or you don't have any, then the cost wouldn't matter," she said, pointing out that people already pay a dollar or more for a quart of bottle water. "Water is the oil of the 1980s."


On the Net:

Brownsville Desalination Project:


Published November 7, 2005 12:00 AM
China's Biggest Desalination Plant Opens Amid Efforts To Ease Water Shortage

BEIJING — China's biggest seawater desalination plant has begun operation at a power station on its southeastern coast amid efforts to ease nationwide water shortages, a news report said Saturday.

The facility in Yuhuan County in Zhejiang province, south of Shanghai, can produce 1,440 tons (374,400 gallons) of fresh water per hour for use in generating electricity, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

China's government announced a target last month of using desalination to produce up to 1 billion liters (250 million gallons) of water per day by 2010 for industrial use in coastal areas.

That would cover 16-24 percent of the water needed by factories, power plants and other industrial facilities in those areas.

The government says China is among the world's driest countries when measured in terms of water supply per person for its population of 1.3 billion. Hundreds of cities and towns regularly suffer drinking-water shortages.

The 200 million yuan (US$25 million; euro20 million) facility in Yuhuan County draws water from the Yellow Sea, Xinhua said.


Mark said...

Mentioned here just because of the overlap since algae for lipids biofuel can be made at the same moment as wastewater treatment:

From: Reuters
Published December 11, 2007 05:34 AM

Shell seeks to make diesel fuel from algae


* Galp launches plan to make diesel from algae
* Shell, Virent work on green gasoline alternative
* Better Than Corn? Algae Set to Beat Out Other Biofuel Feedstocks
* Vertigro Algae Research and Development Center Begins Operation


By Tom Bergin

LONDON (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell is to fund a project that aims to produce transport fuel from algae, as biofuel production from palm oil and crops are increasingly criticized for causing deforestation and higher food prices.

Oil major Shell said on Tuesday it would build a pilot facility in Hawaii to grow marine algae from which it would extract vegetable oil that would be converted into a form of diesel for use in trucks and cars.

The Anglo-Dutch company said the research plant, which is being built with Hawaii-headquartered HR Biopetroleum Inc, would only use non-genetically modified algae. [good, we should institutionalize current ecology and insert ourselves within it instead of inventing novel extraneous things with potentially disasterous second order effects as well as displacement effects of us from ecological dependencies at large]

Climate change and oil prices that almost reached $100 per barrel are driving strong interest in biofuels.

Scientists are excited about algae as a feedstock because they overcome the key shortcomings associated with the current generation of biofuels such as ethanol.

Palm oil or sugar cane plantations, cornfields and other feedstocks require land that would otherwise be used for food crops or left as forest.

However, algae grow rapidly, at any time of year, are rich in vegetable oil and can be cultivated in waste or sea water.

Shell has said it wants to develop one significant business in renewable energy, and in addition to advanced biofuels, it is also researching solar and wind power.

Although the company continues to make almost all its multi-billion dollar profits from producing and refining oil and gas, high oil prices in recent years have improved the economics of alternative fuels, which generally remain more expensive than hydrocarbons.

Shell is also motivated by government mandates in the United States and Europe that will require a small percentage of road fuels to be derived from renewable sources in coming years.

Environmentalists are cynical about such investments by oil companies, describing them as a fig leaf aimed more at greening a company's image than solving the world's energy needs in a ecologically responsible manner.

Despite the attractions of algae as a feedstock, no one has yet proven it as an economic proposition, [NOT TRUE, look up the energy category here, and read about Valcent Products and see their video of huge efficiencies in algae production only months after this] although a number of other companies including private-equity-backed Massachusetts-based GreenFuel Technologies Corp. are also conducting research.

In the late 1980s the U.S. government-funded National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) researched the use of algae to produce biodiesel.

However in the mid 1990s, the Department of Energy cut funding to the research, choosing to focus resources on researching production of ethanol, which is [inefficiently and immorally] produced from sugars in crops such as corn or cane.

In October, NREL said it was to collaborate with U.S. major oil company Chevron on research into producing road fuel from algae.

(Editing by Quentin Bryar)


[other articles on algae biodiesel at the energy link]

Mark said...

[hardly potable, though water saving if all homes were constructed with recycled graywater technology]

Their suburban push to sustainability includes a Brac Greywater Recycling System that takes in household bath, shower and laundry water and then filters and treats it, and re-uses it for toilet flushing. That system potentially saves the Mann family 30% or more on their potable water consumption.


Mark said...

Beetles Are Inspiration For New Antibacterial Coatings
Materials Scientists Copy Beetle Anatomy To Develop New Coatings

March 1, 2007 — Scientists at M.I.T. looking to add new chemical functionalities to spray coatings have turned to the beetle for inspiration. Some beetles that live in very arid climates get their drinking water by trapping water droplets from fog.

The droplets collect on a bumpy surface on their backs and once they become big enough, the water drops slide down a smooth surface into their mouths. These dueling surfaces are being mimicked by scientists in order to create antibacterial coatings.

When you think of a beetle, you think creepy, crawly critters. Now add one more adjective to the list: Clever -- clever because despite living in the desert, the beetle is able to gather drinking water.

"The beetle is able to gather, out of this very light fog, enough water to survive -- to take a drink every morning and survive to live another day," Robert Cohen, a chemical engineer at MIT in Cambridge, tells DBIS.

The Namib Desert beetle has dueling surfaces on its back. The smooth parts repel water, while the top bumpy parts collect water.

MIT materials scientist Michael Rubner says that pattern motif creates this incredible ability to gather and harvest small drops of water from the fog. As fog rolls in, the bumps on its back trap water. As the droplets get bigger, the water then rolls down into the beetle's mouth.

Scientists are trying to mimic this idea by dipping glass into solutions of charged polymers, imitating the porous and smooth coating of the beetle. The material is then coated with a Teflon-like substance, making it water-repellent.

Their next step is to add an antibacterial agent [perhaps silver] into the coating that may be used on common hospital, kitchen and bathroom surfaces to stop germs from spreading. If all goes well, the beetle could possibly stop germs in their tracks.

"What we're very interested now is the possibility of adding more chemical functionality to what the beetle has taught us," Rubner says.

There is also promise of creating larger-scale pieces of water-repellent material that could be used to collect water in arid climates. The scientists say the key is creating dueling surfaces in areas where water is present, but hard to collect.

BACKGROUND: Inspired by the Namib Desert beetle that lives in one of the driest regions of the world, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Cambridge, have developed a new material that can capture and control tiny amounts of water, just like the beetle does. Applications include its use for self-contaminating surfaces that could channel and collect harmful substances, such as germs, that could then be easily killed or deactivated. It could also be used for lab-on-a-chip diagnostics of DNA screening.

ABOUT DESERT BEETLES: The desert beetle has a built-in water collection system that allows it to survive where there is no water to be found, even when the humidity in the air is close to zero. This is important since normal condensation can't take place in the Namib Desert because the fog is too light. When fog blows across the surface of the beetle's back, water droplets begin to gather on top of the bumps on the insect's back These bumps attract water. They are also surrounded by waxy, water-repellent channels that pins the water drops on the beetle's back. Over time, the droplets get bigger, until they are large enough to roll down into the insect's mouth.

ABOUT THE MATERIAL: The new material developed by the MIT scientists can capture and control tiny amounts of water because its structure mimics that of the desert beetle. There are two surfaces, one water-repellant and another water attracting, that act together to separate and channel water drops. The researchers found they could control the surface texture of their material by repeatedly dipping glass or plastic substrates into charged polymer solutions. With every dip, another layer coats the surface, gradually making the material more porous so it easily attracts water. Adding silica nanoparticles -- particles only a few millions of a millimeter wide -- creates even more bumps to trap the collected water droplets. The final touch is a Teflon-like coating that makes the material super-water-repellent. And the scientists can create any pattern they want by adding more layers of charged polymers or nanoparticles in specific areas.

The Materials Research Society contributed to the information contained in the video portion of this report.


Mark said...

[It's hardly crazy when most of the world lacks potable water or the electric grid to supply it. Connect this to solar, and you have something entirely independent and portable as well.]

The eco machine that can magic water out of thin air

Ed Pilkington in New York,
Sunday November 23 2008 00.01 GMT

Water, Water, everywhere; nor any drop to drink. The plight of the Ancient Mariner is about to be alleviated thanks to a firm of eco-inventors from Canada who claim to have found the solution to the world's worsening water shortages by drawing the liquid of life from an unlimited and untapped source - the air.

The company, Element Four, has developed a machine that it hopes will become the first mainstream household appliance to have been invented since the microwave.

Their creation, the WaterMill, uses the electricity of about three light bulbs to condense moisture from the air and purify it into clean drinking water.

The machine went on display this weekend in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, hosted by Wired magazine at its annual showcase of the latest gizmos its editors believe could change the world.

From the outside, the mill looks like a giant golf ball that has been chopped in half: it is about 3ft in diameter, made of white plastic, and is attached to the wall.

It works by drawing air through filters to remove dust and particles, then cooling it to just below the temperature at which dew forms. The condensed water is passed through a self-sterilising chamber that uses microbe-busting UV light to eradicate any possibility of Legionnaires' disease or other infections.

Finally, it is filtered and passed through a pipe to the owner's fridge or kitchen tap.

The obvious question to the proposition that household water demands can be met by drawing it from the air is: are you crazy? To which the machine's inventor and Element Four's founder, Jonathan Ritchey, replies: 'Just wait and see. The demand for water is off the chart. People are looking for freedom from water distribution systems that are shaky and increasingly unreliable.'

For the environmentally conscious consumer, the WaterMill has an obvious appeal. Bottled water is an ecological catastrophe. In the US alone, about 30bn litres of bottled water is consumed every year at a cost of about $11bn (£7.4bn).

According to the Earth Policy Institute, about 1.5m barrels of oil - enough to power 100,000 cars for a year - is used just to make the plastic. The process also uses twice as much water as fits inside the container, not to mention the 30m bottles that go into landfills every day in the US.

But the mill also has downsides, not least its $1,200 cost when it goes on sale in America, the UK, Italy, Australia and Japan in the spring.

In these credit crunch times that might dissuade many potential buyers, though Ritchey points out that at $0.3 per litre, it is much cheaper than bottled water and would pay for itself in a couple of years.

There is also the awkward fact that although there is eight times more atmospheric water than in all the rivers of the world combined, it is unevenly distributed.

Those areas of the US that are most desperate for more water - such as the arid south-west where ground water levels are already dramatically depleted - have the lowest levels of moisture in the air.

The mill ceases to be effective below about 30 per cent relative humidity levels, which are common later in the day in states such as Arizona. To combat that problem, the machine has an intelligent computer built into it that increases its output at dawn when humidity is highest, and reduces it from mid-afternoon when a blazing sun dries the air.


Anonymous said...; You saved my day again.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.

Mark said...

03-22-2010 14:14
Portable Desalination Devices Developed

By Kim Tong-hyung
Staff Reporter

Scientists have found a way to make smaller portable desalination machines, which could be ``immensely'' useful in countries with scarce water resources, or for decontaminating wells in disaster-struck regions.

The new technique, suggested by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Pohang University of Science and Technology (POSTECH), is based on the use of tiny, four-by-five-millimeter devices designed to exploit the electrochemical transport phenomenon, ``ion concentration polarization.''

It would take from 1,000 to 10,000 of these devices to make a single desalination machine, which would be comparable in size to a conventional desktop computer.

Such machines would obviously be useful in the earthquake-rattled Chile and Haiti, where the shortage in drinking water has been a problem, the researchers said.

The study was published by Nature Nanotechnology, a peer-review journal. [Though nanotechnology can be carcinogenic, and this idea is published in this journal, their idea avoids institutionalizing nanotechnology. Which is good.]

``A device produced through the technology of our findings would produce a smaller amount of fresh water compared to existing equipment, but would be small enough to carry around, making them effective for relief efforts in disaster areas or for military use,'' said POSTECH's Kwang Kwan-hyoung, who participated in the research led by MIT's Kim Sung-jae and Han Jong-yoon.

``The hydrogen ion concentration level of the water produced by these devices range between 7 and 7.5 pH, with salt concentration of around 3 mm, thus qualifying as potable water by World Health Organization (WHO) standards.

The method also allows for the removal of micro particles and pathogens.''

The shortage of fresh water is a critical global challenge, a situation made more severe by population growth and increased industrial and agricultural activities, and this has scientists around the world devoting themselves to developing more effective technologies to convert seawater into fresh water.

The current standard approaches to seawater desalination are reverse osmosis, which employs high-pressure pumps to force brine from water brine through a membrane impermeable to salt, and electro-dialysis, a process that uses electricity to draw salt ions out of water through a membrane.

Although these methods are relatively energy efficient in terms of freshwater conversion, they both require large plant-scale operations and significant amounts of power consumption, while the removal of bacteria and other pathogens presents another challenge.

Therefore, researchers have been focusing on developing portable, low-power desalination systems, which would be useful for government and military use in disaster-stricken areas or resource-limited settings.

And the Korean researchers claim they have the best solution for now.

Ion concentration polarization, also called as ion depletion or enrichment, occurs when a current is passed through ion-selective membranes, and the Nature Nanotechnology paper suggests a mechanism to use this phenomenon to isolate desalinated water from seawater streams.

The desalinated and ``concentrated'' streams are divided and flow into different channels ― the process is also designed to push salt and other large particles away from the membrane, which eliminates the possibility of membrane fouling, a frequent problem in reverse osmosis and electro-dialysis plants.


Anonymous said...

Sorry for my bad english. I would like to get updated with you new posts as I love to read your blog. Add me to your mailing list if you have any.

Anonymous said...

Nice job, it's a great post. The info is good to know!

Anonymous said...

I just added this website to my google reader, great stuff. Can not get enough!

Anonymous said...

brinkka2011 says: I would like to thankyou for such an enlightening post. I dont by and large reply on blogs as I wish to lurk and read. However your style of literature is uncomplicated to understand, I love the fact that it is clear and to the point. I will make sure that I mail your blog to my acquaintances as I am certain they will not only like reading your post but also find it extremely instructive.